McAvoy’s commitment to animal welfare more than a pet project

Renowned dog lovers, Charlie and Kiley McAvoy continue to show their compassion for animals through their volunteer work with MSPCA-Angell.

McAvoy’s commitment to animal welfare more than a pet project

Feature Photo: IG/@PolkaDog

Giving back to the community is by no means a new experience for Charlie McAvoy.

Whether it’s picking up spirits at hospital visits or meet-and-greets with fans, the 26-year-old defenceman is a familiar face in the NHL city he has called home for the entirety of his seven NHL seasons all spent with the Boston Bruins.

One of his most cherished charitable endeavors is advocating for animals, and most recently, a visit to a local animal shelter was a win-win for everyone thanks to McAvoy and his wife, Kiley.

When an opportunity came about for the McAvoys to help raise money and awareness about waived adoption fees for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Angell Animal Medical Center (MSPCAAngell), they quickly accepted the offer.

“It was such a great experience for both of us,” said McAvoy. “It was a great day, one of the most rewarding appearances I have been part of.”

McAvoy, whose beloved French Bulldog, Otto, is no stranger to the MSPCA on a personal level.

When we had Otto neutered it was a couple of years ago and when he came out of the surgery, he might have picked something up. He wasn’t eating he just seemed down and out.

“We were worried, and we ended up taking him to the MSPCA. They looked him over, hooked him up to an IV, and not too long after we brought him in, he was good to go.”

McAvoy was invited to the MSPCA by Polkadog a Boston-based dog treat company which he partnered with in 2022 to create Rocket Fuel, a line of treats inspired by Otto. Following his trip, Polkadog announced they will be donating $2 from each Rocket Fuel treat sold to the MSPCA.

Polkadog staff also helped assist by loading up a delivery van with wet and dry food, as well as treats for both dogs and cats, and hit the road to the MSPCA where they were met by the couple.

McAvoy and Kiley spent the day at the MSPCA, whose mission is to, “protect animals, relieve their suffering, advance their health and welfare, prevent cruelty, and work for a just and compassionate society.”

Established in 1868, walking through the second oldest humane society in the United States was an eye-opening experience.

“That was the first time I had been to a shelter and to have the chance to play and interact with the dogs they have there,” said McAvoy.

“The first dog they brought to me was a three-legged Rottweiler he had so much energy, so much kindness and such a big heart.

(Photo via @MSPCA.ANGELL)

“They brought out two more dogs who we played with, and they were so happy. Dogs are just the best. Whatever circumstance led them to the shelter, they still had that kindness in them it was very heartwarming to see how happy they were to spend time with us.”

Kiley shared similar thoughts.

“It’s incredible to see just how much joy these animals can bring to people’s lives. Every animal at MSPCA has a journey of their own that brought them here, often their stories are harrowing, but despite the circumstances, the amount of love and happiness they bring, even in the short amount of time we spent with them, is truly incredible.

“The biggest highlight for me was experiencing the unconditional love of these dogs and all the other animals, first-hand. It was such a pleasure.”

At one point, husband and wife lost track of one another.

“Kiley found her way over to where they have the bunnies. I’m outside playing with the dogs, and it hit me, ‘Where did Kiley go?’ Someone came over and told me that she found the bunnies.”

The toughest part of the visit for both was not heading home with a new friend for Otto.

It was a topic of conversation that came up during their time at MSPCA.  

“We didn’t want to leave,” said McAvoy. “Kiley and I were wondering how we were going to leave there without a dog. As tough as it was not to do that, we saw how wonderful these dogs are and how they would make a great companion for someone.”

It appears it won’t be the last time the MSPCA will see the couple.

“They are wonderful people, who do so much for animals, from helping them get adopted to providing veterinary services. They are the real deal. You can tell right away how big their hearts are and how much they care for the animals.”

Just like the McAvoys. 

Otto, who will turn four this month, continues to be a huge part of their lives.

“We can’t believe he’s turning four,” admitted McAvoy. “Time flies. It feels as though we just got him. We are so blessed to have him with us.”

Something they never take for granted.

“The moment you open your heart to them is when a great connection begins,” said McAvoy. “It truly is special.

“The biggest takeaway I have is that you can give an animal a forever home and you end up being a better person for it.”