Abbott's visit to local animal shelter leaves tails wagging

May 24th, 2024

Barking and laughter filled the halls of the SPCA Cincinnati during ’s visit on Wednesday.

The Reds pitcher has been known to play with the local animal shelter’s pups during Bark in the Park events, one of which took place that night, so it was no surprise that he gravitated to the trio of dogs that greeted him after he said hello to the staff.

“Dogs [are] obviously man's best friend, and they bring happiness to us. Dogs, in this case being best friends for us, should be able to enjoy life as we do and be a part of it,” Abbott said.

Abbott wasn’t just there for the dogs: He stopped by to see all the four-legged friends the SPCA had to offer. The SPCA’s 55,000-square-foot facility is home to cats, dogs and even a few bunnies that serve as educators in the humane education program. The Sharonville location provides pets with everything they need from healthcare to hugs.

All the animals were excited to see Abbott, including a snow-colored cat named Skittles, whom he met during his stop by an exam room. There, he also met a tuxedo kitten named Jamal, who was smaller than a baseball. Abbott held Jamal as he learned about the care the veterinarians at the SPCA provide and the various technologies they use.

“Taking the tour, seeing the animals, the type of care that goes into giving them opportunities ... to find a loving family and the correct family to be adopted and every step in between, I want to rescue [an animal] myself,” said Abbott, who owns a rescue dog.

One of the stops along the tour was the Chow Now Pantry, which provides a bag of supplies to anyone who needs pet food, no questions asked. Last year, the pantry donated nearly 30,000 pounds of food to pets in need through its brick-and-mortar location, as well as pop-ups around the Cincinnati area.

The SPCA put Abbott to work at the pantry, with the Reds' southpaw helping assemble a few bags that morning.

Animals are important to Abbott, who grew up on a farm and has been around animals throughout his life. It pains him to see them struggle, which is why he believes in the SPCA’s vision of a community that embodies the humane treatment of all animals.

“I feel like it's important for us to understand that they're here to help us, and we can help them at the same time. It's kind of a two-way symbiotic relationship,” Abbott said. “I’m just trying to bring awareness to that and help out in any way I can. It's really important to talk about what we're going for, and to bring light to it so people understand what these guys do and why they do it.”

For those interested in learning more about the SPCA or its volunteer opportunities, visit