by Jessica Giles | April 14, 2020

Jacksonville Jaguars Kicker Josh Lambo is Footing the Bill for Dogs’ Forever Homes

Lambo’s partnership with Fur Sisters has already helped 19 dogs find a new life

Chris, Kristen and Zella; Photography courtesy of Kristen Costante

As soon as Kristen Costante saw a photo of Zella, she knew she would be taking her home. The 13-week-old caramel-colored puppy was all wrinkles and lanky paws, and Costante was in love. 

She sent a photo of the dog to her fiance and filled out an adoption application through Fur Sisters, an animal shelter in Jacksonville Beach. A few days and one practice sleepover later, Zella was the newest member of the Costante crew. 

“She just wants to be snuggling or around you,” Costante, a nurse from St. Johns, said. “She’s the cutest little thing.”

 But when Costante and her fiance, Chris, went to sign the papers, something didn’t look right. The adoption fee was half the price it should’ve been, and next to the price was the name “Josh Lambo.” 

It wasn’t just their invoice, either. The Jacksonville Jaguars kicker partnered with Fur Sisters to cover half the cost of all adoption fees and 6 months of food for every dog adopted from March 27 through April 3. By April 6, 15 dogs had found their forever homes, and Lambo was so thrilled with the initiative’s success that he announced he would extend the offer for 20 more dogs. 

Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo (second from right) offers up a signed jersey at a Fur Sisters fundraiser. Photography courtesy of Fur Sisters

The kicker has been a supporter of the Jacksonville Beach animal shelter ever since he adopted a puppy there several years ago from a litter named after Jaguars players, Kelly Krehbiel, founder and president of Fur Sisters, said. Of course, he took home the one named Lambo. More recently, he adopted another rescue dog, Indie, from the shelter. When COVID-19 shut everything down, Lambo immediately called up Krehbiel to see how he could help. 

“It was his idea to do it, and it’s just taken off like wildfire,” she said. 

The rescue organization was flooded with about 400 applications after the special offer was announced, and the two people manning the volunteer organization, Krehbiel and coordinator Channing Oglesby, have been clocking in extra hours to sift through them all. 

“I had somebody from Arizona message and say, ‘Can you send a dog to me?’” Krehbiel laughs. 

Kelly with a rescue dog; Photography by Woof Creative

While Fur Sisters isn’t shipping any dogs to Arizona, 19 dogs have been added to families right here in North Florida. That number is far above the one or two adoptions that typically take place in a week, Krehbiel said. Seventeen more dogs are eligible for the discounted adoption fee and free dog food.

“I know right now is a hard time for everybody, but seeing everybody step up because of his offer is pretty amazing,” she said. 

Emily Ortiz and her husband had been toying with the idea of adopting another pup when they saw Lambo’s offer on social media. Although both she and her husband are healthcare professionals and work long hours, the special initiative solidified the couple’s decision to grow their family with a four-legged boxer mix named Daisy. 

“With everything going on, it’s just a crazy time. So taking on more financial responsibility is kind of tough, but not when someone is offering something so great,” she said. “It made it an easy decision.” 

Daisy (left) and Layla (right) play in the backyard. Photography courtesy of Emily Ortiz

Ortiz isn’t the only one who’s grateful for the Lambo–Fur Sisters partnership. The couple’s oldest doggie daughter, Layla, now has a forever playmate.

“I think just the combination of it has been really great because Kelly’s heart to get these dogs out of rough situations is really such a great thing,” Ortiz said.