Cantinho da Lili kennel plans to auction off the jersey, which they believe will earn enough money to provide veterinary treatments, improved shelters and, of course, food for the pups, as they await their forever homes.
Curiously, Ronaldo sent the jersey in November, but it only arrived this week due to delivery issues.
“The important thing is that it’s already here,” shelter volunteer Gloria Carvalho, who initiated contact with the soccer superstar’s family said. “We still do not believe it.”
That Ronaldo has a soft spot for shelter dogs is not a surprise. When the striker transferred from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009, he appeared as happy to be able to have dogs again as he was about his pay bump.
“I’ve always liked having dogs, but it was impossible in Manchester,” Ronaldo said in a video profile that was uploaded to YouTube in 2011. “It was just too cold, and my house wasn’t suitable either.”
Ronaldo, who has housed at least two dogs and a cat in Madrid, added, “They lighten up the house and bring me a lot of joy.”
Ronaldo, a frequent contributor to charity, is global ambassador for Save the Children. In December, he made a “generous donation” to the organization to go toward providing food, clothing and medical care for families in Syria.
The star has also teamed up with children’s charities UNICEF and World Vision in the past.
In 2015, he was named the world’s most charitable athlete by the nonprofit DoSomething.org, which highlighted several of his donations, including a gift of more than $80,000 to a fund set up to support a 10-month-old baby’s cancer treatment.
“My father always taught me that when you help other people, then God will give you double,” Ronaldo said in 2013 (via the Telegraph). “And that’s what has really happened to me. When I have helped other people who are in need, God has helped me more.”