The Mariners welcomed puppies from Washington shelters for the first time ahead of Monday night’s game. The new installment of the “Bark in the Park” party at T-Mobile Park was led by Jill Servais, wife of Mariners manager Scott Servais, who has worked in animal welfare for about 30 years.

Previous Bark in the Park promotions allowed fans to bring their dogs to T-Mobile Park, but Monday’s game with the Orioles was the first time local shelters were asked to promote adoption. The pups were out on the field and in the left field lobby before Monday’s game, interacting with players and fans.

“It’s really important to understand how many truly beautiful and adoptable animals are available in Washington State, in particular,” Jill Servais said. “You don’t have to leave the state to find great adoptable pets.”

Jill Servais became interested in animal welfare while working at a municipal shelter in Tucson, Arizona, while Scott Servais was playing in the minor leagues.

She noticed that other MLB teams were hosting adoption agencies and wanted to help the Mariners grow their Bark in the Park events. She and Scott Servais grew up with dogs in their families. The Servais family has a 4-year-old rescue named Wilson – Jill Servais laughingly said they wanted to give him a “good Seattle name,” alluding to former Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

After the Mariners’ pre-game batting practice ended, Taylor Trammell, Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker were among the players who stopped to pet the puppies of “Rescue of forgotten dogs” and “Okan dogstwo of the relief organizations that were present. Sunny Skys Animal Rescue was the third group in Monday’s game.

Jan Short of Okan Dogs described the four Collie and German Shepherd mixes as “very sweet puppies who like to be outdoors.” Duncan, Kenzie, Skye and Gregor – who also goes by the nickname ‘Hollywood’ because he frequently appears on Okan’s pamphlets – tugged on their leashes and rolled around in the dirt next to the Mariners’ dugout during that players and fans were stroking them and giving them belly. rub.

Short’s organization is based in Cashmere. Jill and Scott Servais volunteer there, and Jill Servais said Okan’s dogs have rescued more than 6,000 animals since 2014 and 800 in 2021 alone.

“They’ve done a wonderful job in this part of the state and it’s very much needed,” said Jill Servais, referring to the area’s limited state resources for animal shelters.

Euthanasia rates are still high, said Jill Servais. She said only 25% of dogs in shelters are adopted. She added that 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred, which means people looking for a specific breed can still get one from a shelter.

“The numbers are not where we want them,” she said. “We now have really massive amounts of animals arriving at shelters in a way we haven’t seen in many years.”

Many people who wanted a companion during the COVID-19 pandemic have adopted pets, Jill Servais said. But many have undergone lifestyle changes when they return to in-person work, which can mean animals suffer from separation anxiety and owners bring animals back to shelters.

Joanna Poleszczuk of Forgotten Dogs Rescue said recent adoption rates have dropped since people started working in person again.

Forgotten Dogs Rescue brought in four 12-week-old puppies that were pitbull-poodle mixes. They were named after designer brands including Karl Lagerfeld, Prada and Louis Vuitton.

“Our work is endless. There are always dogs out there that need homes, so we welcome dogs that are very difficult to place or at risk of abuse or neglect or have medical issues,” Poleszczuk said. “Adoption is really important to continue to create space in foster homes and shelters.”

The Mariners are covering adoption costs for four of the puppies that were on the field before the game. On Monday, Bark in the Park featured nearly 1,000 fan dogs, one of the biggest yet, according to the team.

There will also be adoptable animals at the Mariners’ final two Bark in the Park events on Aug. 23 and Sept. 28, Jill Servais said.

“I hope it grows from here and becomes something people look forward to and people can come here and talk to some of the rescuers (organizers) and get an idea of ​​what is available for adoption” , said Jill Servais.