An adorable blind puppy has become the newest member of a New Mexico baseball team, KOB Eyewitness News 4 reports.
A few members of the Albuquerque Isotopes, a minor league baseball team, had been volunteering at an animal rescue in May when baseball player John Ely and his teammates met a playful puppy named Stevie Wonder.
Animal rescue workers said that they had found Stevie, a German shepherd mix, wandering the streets. He was blind in both eyes due to infection and abuse.
Ely said it was love at first sight.
"He's got no eyes, but he's about as happy as they get," he said, adding that Stevie's keen sense of smell and hearing has helped the pup adapt quickly.
According to ABQ Journal, Ely and his teammates initially felt it might be challenging for professional baseball players -- who spend much time on the road -- to adopt a special-needs pet.
However, once rescue workers brought the pup to meet the rest of the team at the Isotopes' stadium, all doubts flew out the window.
"He won everyone over, so we all agreed to pitch in. Everyone loves him. The players, the coaches, clubhouse guys, everyone. Stevie's way more popular around here than I am," Ely told KOB Eyewitness News 4.
Though Ely is the one who officially adopted Stevie, the entire team is working to financially support the pup, Jezebel reports.
Gamboling around the locker room and playing catch on the field, Stevie has become a fixture at the Isotopes' clubhouse in recent weeks.
“Old Stevie really has been fun to have around. He’s pretty special,” team manager Lorenzo Bundy told the ABQ Journal.
“[Stevie] just kind of makes you smile whenever you see him,” outfielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez agreed.
Sadly, Stevie's time with the Isotopes is coming to an end as he moves to Chicago where Ely has a home. But it's unlikely that the brave little pup will be forgotten any time soon.
“He’s fun to play with. I kind of wish he didn’t have to go,” Cavazos-Galvez told the ABQ Journal.