Thanks to LPGA Tour pro Cindy LaCrosse, 10 dogs — six puppies and four adults to be exact — found “forever” homes in Arkansas over the weekend.
On a mission to pair humans with dogs who need homes, and using the hashtag #adoptionfeeisonme, LaCrosse opened her wallet to cover the cost of any adoption that took place at the Humane Society in Rogers, Arkansas during the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship, held June 22-24.
LaCrosse doesn’t call the area home, but she does hit the pause button on her golf game each week she’s on the road to find a local humane society or recuse shelter that needs an assist.
Every week, the 31-year-old dips out of her hotel room before the tournament is officially underway and, with her caddie, goes shopping near the golf course, filling a cart with food, treats, toys, beds, blankets and cleaning supplies. Next, she plays Santa Claus, minus the chimney, and drops everything off to the animal shelter in need. Thus far, she’s made an impact on 11 shelters across the country.
The catalyst for her efforts? A terrier mix named Fitz, who LaCrosse adopted nearly four years ago from a rescue organization in West Palm Beach, Florida.
“I found Fitz and he’s kind of helped me through a lot of tough times, and he’s such a goofy dog too; he makes me laugh out loud every day,” LaCrosse said. “I just know how much he’s meant to me and my hope is that anybody else who likes animals can feel that as well.”
Feisty Fitz even collects air miles, traveling with LaCrosse to all of her LPGA Tour stops in the U.S.
“After a day that’s long or tough, going back to the hotel, he doesn’t care about my day at all. He’s just so excited that I’m home, and it really warms my heart,” LaCrosse said.
In a sense, he also accompanies her on the golf course, not on a leash, but in her pocket.
“I think he kind of makes me a little bit more relaxed, so I use a ball marker that has his picture on it. That way I see him on every hole,” she said. “It does kind of calm me down a little bit.”
And with a benefit like that, it’s easy to see why LaCrosse is so passionate about dropping in on unfamiliar shelters to make some tails wag.
Team Mutt All The Way
When LaCrosse was young, she was fascinated by all animals, but had a special place in her heart for canines. That, combined with a heavy travel schedule while on Tour, made her take action on the novel idea that formed with some help from her nephew.
“This idea just kind of came to me over the off season,” she said. “My nephew and I took a bunch of old towels and blankets to the human society, and we went and got some toys and snacks, too. I just thought if I could do it each week that I’m on the road and impact so many different places, it would be great.”
Ahead of arriving at each tournament, LaCrosse searches online for local shelters.
“Time and how far it is from the course is a factor,” she said. “I’ll look on their website or at their reviews and see which one I’d like to help the most.”
She covers the cost of all the items she gathers, but because so many fellow LPGA Tour pros have taken an interest in what she’s doing, she plans on asking if she can put a bin in the locker room for donations.
“I’d like to see if some girls, while they’re at the store, can grab a toy to throw in there.”
LaCrosse typically carves out time on Wednesdays to make the drop-off, but stepping into the shelter is not always an easy thing to do.
“It’s pretty sad sometimes. I’ll kind of find a ‘favorite’ each week and it breaks my heart that they’re in there and they’re not in a home and with a family,” she said. “I hope that by me bringing some things, it will help the shelter out a little bit and maybe make the dogs a little more comfortable.”
Giving the ‘Overlooked’ Dogs Time to Shine
LaCrosse calls the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship her “proudest” moment since commencing the regular gesture. A big reason for the 10 dogs going to loving homes was because the tournament allowed her to bring some of the mutts to the course.
“It was helpful because it let people see how good they are outside of the kennel environment,” she said. “I think sometimes recuse dogs are overlooked because it’s hard when you go into a shelter, and they all start barking. They’re just barking because one of them started barking and got the rest going.”
LaCrosse even found a home for one of the puppies when she inadvertently texted a stranger:
— Cindy LaCrosse (@CindyLaCrosse) June 25, 2018
LaCrosse doesn’t know if she’ll start a foundation or how long this will go on, but she hopes that society will shift its perspective on shelter dogs.
“I want people to give the dogs in shelters a chance. They can make really great family members, whether they’re puppies or senior dogs,” she said.
And that’s an off-the-green “read” worth trusting.