Famous professional athletes often seem to lead a life that is out of reach of us "normal" people. The fact is, most of them have more in common with us than you think. Many count down the days till they can leave the hustle and bustle behind for a quiet weekend at home with their family. For professional athletes, most of them consider their dogs as a big part of their family.
Sports and dogs often go hand in hand. Man's best friend does not care if you are rich and famous or ranked number one in the world in your chosen sport. They love unconditionally and wait at the front door wagging their tail no matter who you are. The following is a list of 15 famous athletes and their furry best friends. For the purposes of this list, we will be focusing on athletes who compete in outdoor sports. Enjoy!
Fresh off of winning his sixth Super Bowl, the New England Patriot's quarterback leads off our list. Besides two children, the Brady family includes Lua (pit bull mix), Fluffy (terrier mix), and Scooby (beagle). Always active on social media, Tom has shared videos of his dogs having their very own Super Bowl victory parade. He’s even shared a video reenactment of the famous Lion King scene as a way to introduce Fluffy to the world.
Lindsey Vonn is the most decorated female, downhill skier of all time.....and a huge dog lover. Vonn has three dogs, Lucy, Leo, and Bear. Her dogs have their own Instagram account and almost 38,000 followers (#vonndogs). Lucy, a spaniel mix, is small enough that she is able to go on the road with Lindsey and keep her company. Throughout the course of her career, Lindsey has suffered a variety of serious injuries and she credits her dogs with helping her push through the long, dark times when she was unable to compete.
Shaun White is an Olympic hero and one of the most decorated winter sports athletes of all time. Famous for his snowboarding achievements in the Olympics and X-Games, Shaun has a good buddy named Leroy. Leroy is a Yorkie mix that also has his own Instagram account and 45,000 followers (#leroythegoodboy). As can be seen as his account, Leroy travels almost everywhere with Shaun.
Kyle, a former NASCAR champion, and still one of the best drivers in the Monster Energy series, also has a Yorkie, that travels with him and his family during the season. The NASCAR season lasts from February until November, which means a lot of time spent in a motorhome. Lucy is the perfect size dog for a motorhome and travels with the family wherever the schedule takes them.
Although not a household name, Gus is a hero among dog lovers. Kenworthy was a skier on the USA Olympic team during the Winter Olympic Games in Russia and South Korea. While at the Sochi games in Russia he rescued two puppies he found near the Olympic village and brought them home. During the South Korea games, he helped to rescue 90 more dogs form a dog meat farm that was being closed. The dogs were flown to the USA and Canada for adoption.
Known for being one of the best women's soccer players on the planet, Alex is also a dog lover and works to shed light on the issue of rescue dogs. Morgan and her best buddy, Blue, recently starred in an ad campaign for PETA highlighting the importance of adopting dogs from shelters and how they can become an important part of your family.
Sometimes professional outdoor athletes do not get the same recognition as the mainstream athletes. Alex was unknown in the greater population, but a star in the climbing community. He has now become more of a household name due to the Oscar-nominated documentary about him and his free solo climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park called Free Solo. In 2015, during a grueling bike and climbing expedition in the US southwest, Alex and his partner found an abandoned puppy in the middle of the desert. The pair adopted Sufferpup as part of their expedition and became their mascot. At the completion of their journey, Sufferpup was adopted by friends of Alex and now lives happily in Boulder, Colorado.
Dean, like Alex, was well-known in the climbing and outdoor sports community. He was an accomplished rock climber and BASE jumper and unfortunately died in a BASE jumping accident in 2015. Before his death, Dean and his Australian cattle dog, Whisper, traveled everywhere together. Dean created special harnesses for Whisper and she accompanied him on many climbs and BASE jumps. Potter created a short film on Vimeo that went viral, titled When Dogs Fly, that highlighted some of the duos' trips together.
Ronaldo, arguably the most famous athlete in the world. The soccer player from Portugal often posts pictures of himself and his Labrador, Marosca on Instagram. In 2017, Ronaldo donated a signed jersey of his to a struggling kennel in Portugal. The kennel was able to sell the jersey to raise funds to save the 80 dogs that were housed there.
Not to be outdone by Ronaldo, Messi, the soccer superstar from Argentina, has his French Mastiff, Senor Hulk. Messi posts frequent pictures of him and Hulk on his Instagram page, to the delight of his 8.5 million followers.
Kelly has won an unprecedented 11 world surfing championships and is one of the most famous surfers in the world. Slater adopted a rescue dog that he named Action. Described as only a "mix breed", Action travels the world with Kelly wherever the waves or his businesses may take him. Slater is also well-known for his philanthropy and has made large donations to Best Friends, an organization focused on ending the problem of homeless pets.
Tiger has had his ups and downs over the years but remains one of the highest paid and most recognizable athletes in the world. The Woods' household now includes Bugs a border collie, Taz, also a border collie, and Yogi, a labradoodle.
One of the most accomplished tennis players of all time, Serena is tied for third on the list for all-time Grand Slam titles with 39. Besides tennis, Serena is also famous for her Yorkshire Terrier, Chip. The pair can be seen in photos and videos across the internet, from Wimbledon to the Australian Open.
Russell burst on the scene as a third-round draft pick of the Seahawks and has led them to two super bowls. Wilson and his wife Ciara, own three Great Danes. Prince and Naomi have recently helped the Wilson family welcome a new gray Great Dane puppy.
About to become one of the highest paid players in baseball, this superstar has a soft spot for dogs. His current dog is named, Wrigley, after the famous ballpark in Chicago? Should Cubs' fans prepare for Harper to be part of their club next year?
Whether you are a famous athlete or a small town 7-year-old getting your first puppy, dogs are an integral part of our lives. The joy, humor, and love they bring is unmatched by almost any other relationship we as humans have. As our list clearly shows, they are also a great motivator for staying active! You may not be a professional athlete but even a quick run around the block can make a big difference for both of you. Be sure to invest in a dog leash for running to keep you and your pup safe and comfortable. If you're not sure how to start running with your dog, read our article, “How to Start Running Like a Pro.”
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