A two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion now defends rescue dogs.
When Kyle Busch gets behind the wheel of his # 18 Toyota Camry at this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race in Nashville, Tennessee, the car will sport a paint scheme featuring shelter dogs.
Her booth goes to dogs too, with life-size cutouts of her honorary crew, including – yes – a pit bull and other adoptable Nashville’s puppies Williamson County Wildlife Center, the Nashville Humanitarian Association and the Charlotte Humanitarian Society in North Carolina. (Busch lives just north of town, which is home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and a seat.)
âI’m a dog lover,â Busch, 36, said TODAY. âI have had pets my whole life.
It’s a love that he hopes will inspire fans to embrace the dogs featured on his car and cutouts. Thanks to a collaboration with Mars Petcare’s Better Cities for Pets program and the Pedigree Foundation, pet adoption fees at the three participating shelters will be waived this weekend.
âAnyone who loves dogs, we would love to be able to help them support our cause to end pet roaming. Thus, anyone who has the opportunity to go to one of the shelters from June 18 to 20 can adopt any pet without adoption fees, âhe said. “I hope they accept us.”
Busch visited the Humane Society of Charlotte on Wednesday to meet some of the dogs awaiting forever homes, including a couple who modeled for the cutouts. He particularly bonded with a Caroline dog mix named Bilbo Waggins, a gentle soul who loved to have his ears rubbed by the race car driver.
âI got to go for a really cool visit and hang out with some of the animals at the shelter,â he said. “We would give them treats and just make them relax with us.”
Busch said his own dog Piper is a fun part of his family, which includes his wife, Samantha, and their 6-year-old son, Brexton. The 2 year old double doodle (offspring of a goldendoodle and a labradoodle) travels with the family to run on weekends.
âShe’s very, very sweet. At first she was very rambunctious and ripped some of my wife’s shoes, but lately she’s been a lot of fun, âhe said. âIt’s nice to have him on the track when I come back from a bad day.
In the end, it’s pretty clear that whatever the results of Sunday’s race, the biggest winners will be the shelter dogs.
Emily Cook, head of marketing and communications for the Humane Society of Charlotte, said the staff and dogs enjoyed meeting Busch and his sponsors on Wednesday. She is in awe of her passion for pets and grateful for her support.
“Is it cool to meet a professional athlete anytime, isn’t it?” But it’s also a lot of fun for us to see who in the community, in the world, really loves animals the same way we do, and that was very evident when we met Kyle yesterday, âCook said TODAY ‘ HUI. “He was telling us stories about his childhood pets and we were just talking and it was really a great experience for all of us there.”
She’s hoping that many dogs will find loving homes this weekend through Busch’s efforts – including Bilbo Waggins, who kept stopping to snuggle up more as she drove him back to her kennel after the visit by Busch.
“We would love nothing more than to have empty kennels in our shelter, of course, but we know there will always be animals that need our help – that need our love and our resources. “she said. “And so that’s what we’re here to do for them.”