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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA football shares love for their four-legged friends this Homecoming weekend


    Courtesy of Samajie Grant

    Samajie Grant’s dog, Prince, poses for the camera. Wildcat football players take solace from the rigors of collegiate athletic life in their cuddly canine companions.

    There is more to Homecoming than just celebrating a home game; it’s also about celebrating those that you come home to see.

    Student-athletes constantly fight an uphill battle, dealing with the pressures of school and of performing well in their sport.

    However, the reality of coming home after practice or a game may be more “ruff” than tough for these UA football players, as they all have their own furry, four-legged friends awaiting their arrival.

    “He plays Frisbee—that’s his way of being a receiver,” Arizona wide receiver Samajie Grant said of his pup.

    Grant’s dog, Prince, is a 9-month-old pit bull, who enjoys Frisbee and has great communication skills, according to Grant.

    “He’s like a human,” Grant said. “If I say something to him, he will look at me, bark twice and walk away.”

    As genuine companions, dogs have a tendency to understand what people say, as well as to feel their emotions and pain.

    Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III has become known as one of the top college defensive players. According to its website, the NFL regards him as one of the top 10 college football players of 2015.

    After the Sept. 3 game against UTSA, Wright hurt his knee, keeping him from playing for three weeks. When he returned to play during during the UA-UCLA game, Wright injured his foot.

    Despite these difficulties, Wright has kept his chin up this season. He said some of his positivity spurs from his dog, Riggins.

    “He keeps me level headed, especially right now between my knee and my foot,” Wright said. “He has definitely helped me get through it.”

    Riggins, named after “Friday Night Lights” running back Tim Riggins, is also a registered therapy dog, according to Wright.

    Riggins accompanied Wright’s father and his girlfriend, Paige McMahon, to cheer on the Wildcats during the Oregon State game Oct. 10.

    When asked if Riggins would be at the Homecoming game, Wright said he wouldn’t be surprised if he was.

    “It definitely has been great to have him by my side,” Wright said. “He keeps me calm, and I have a little more joy in my life.”

    UA safety Will Parks also has two of his own furry friends.

    Parks’ dogs, Penny and Honey, are both rescues. Parks adopted Penny a year and two months ago and adopted Honey in June. Both are from Pima Animal Care Center.

    “When I got Honey, her original name was Brownie, [but] she looked nothing like a brownie,” Parks said.

    Parks said he re-named Honey because she is the color of honey and resembles the Gunter’s Clover Honey Bear jar. Parks said he named Penny, an Australian cattle dog, after his sister who died when he was young.

    “They are my little cheerleaders,” he said.

    According to Parks, Penny and Honey are extremely loyal. “Everywhere I go with them, they stand right by my side,” he said.

    When Parks returns home for the day, the first thing Penny and Honey do is grab onto his legs, extremely excited to see him.

    “I’ll be walking with Honey attached to my leg,” he said.

    Whether it is Homecoming or coming home to be greeted by your best friend, there is much to look forward to this weekend.

    Please tailgate responsibly and get some ruff tackles in, Wildcats. We all know Prince, Riggins, Honey and Penny will be watching, so no kitten around.

    Follow Victoria Teplitz on Twitter.

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