Purdue Basketball's Matt Haarms works to find shelter dogs a new home

7-foot-3-inch Purdue basketball player Matt Haarms' best friend is 6-inch tall Penelope Grace.

Posted: Nov 21, 2019 7:49 AM
Updated: Nov 21, 2019 8:38 AM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — In Tippecanoe County, there are two number 32's; Purdue Basketball's Matt Haarms, and Penelope Grace, the shelter ambassador for Natalie's Second Chance Shelter

Purdue Men's Basketball Center Matt Haarms started volunteering at the shelter earlier this semester. He said he showed up one day and since then tries to come back every day he has off. 

Purdue Basketball Center Matt Haarms, Natalie's Owner Saundra Rice and dog up for adoption

Haarms volunteers at the shelter weekly, doing everything from walking dogs to posting pictures of the pups up for adoption on his social media accounts.

He's also gotten his friends and teammates motivated to lend a hand. Haarms explained his coaches and teammates have been supportive and encouraging. 

One of Haarms' biggest goals; help all the dogs find a home.

It's a little bit of a scenery change for the 7-foot 3-inch athlete. He said volunteering at the shelter is a nice change of pace from the hardwood.

"It isn't as crazy as playing in a Big Ten game," Haarms explained. "It's really relaxing for me even though sometimes I am a little tired."

The shelter told News 18 one of its biggest needs is having people walk the dogs. Saundra Rice, the director of Natalie's Second Chance, said having the Purdue center take time out of his busy schedule means the world to her.

"To have them come and find out they really enjoy doing it makes us feel good," said Rice.

Rice wants people to know how important and impactful their help can be. She has a simple message to anyone reading this story. 

"We love the community," she said. "These dogs, they need a second chance, and they're here for that second chance."

Natalie's Second Chance is also accepting donations if you are unable to volunteer your time. 

Items include:

  • Dog food, treats and toys. 
  • Cleaning supplies. 
  • Harnesses, collars and lasso leashes. 
  • Office supplies. 
  • Blankets and towels. 
  • Large wire dog crates. 
  • Dog beds. 

The shelter is open to volunteers Monday, Wednesday and Sunday from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. It's located at 10 South 16th Street in Lafayette. It's also open to volunteers on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Groups of three or more should email nats2ndchancevolunteer@gmail.com

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