The first thing that comes to mind when you think race car driver isn’t typically animal activist, but in the case of local NASCAR champion Danny Bopp, the two are synonymous.
This young racer, who is known for his aggressive moves on the track, has a soft spot when it comes to animals, especially dogs. “Anything I can get involved with, walking dogs, helping out with animal shelters, I try to help whenever I can.”
Bopp, 27, who hails from Lonedell, Missouri, came to California to continue his racing career and found himself helping out United Hope for Animals at the Baldwin Park Shelter after being introduced to one of our volunteers through a friend.
“I’ve been about eight times on Saturday mornings. I came in and wanted to help out and hopefully get some dogs adopted.” Bopp has recently participated in UHA’s twice monthly photoshoots where volunteers prepare dogs for their “close up” photos that help them look their best in their online profiles.
“Danny always brings a warm and positive attitude that the dogs really respond to,” says Laura Knighten, head of UHA’s Baldwin Park Shelter Support Program. “The dogs love the one-one-one attention volunteers like Danny give them, and information about a volunteer’s personal experience with a dog is invaluable to adopters who are trying to decide which dog will be the best fit for their family.”
“Volunteering is a fun way to spend time with like-minded people like Danny, and it’s rewarding to know that just little time hanging out with dogs on a Saturday pays huge dividends for homeless dogs and the families who adopt them,” Knighten says. Bopp’s love of dogs started early.
“I’ve always grown up around dogs. My family always had between two and three collies growing up. I don’t have a dog now—I wish I could but I my place is too small.” Although Bopp is currently focused on more wins on the track, when it’s time he’s going to get more dogs of his own. In the meantime, he loves helping out.
Bopp has a United Hope decal on his racecar, and recently wore one of our T-shirts to help promote UHA. “I explain to people that this is an organization that goes to shelters with low adoption rates, photographs them and helps the dogs that need it the most, and a lot of people seem to respond to that in a positive way.”
Bopp said that he’s not the only racecar driver with a soft spot for our furry friends. “There are a couple of other NASCAR drivers—Greg Biffle is one—he and his wife have their own foundation where they assist in getting dogs adopted, hold fairs, etc. He comes out and does autograph sessions for events.”
He says that he has noticed in California, especially, that there is more awareness about the importance of getting a dog from a shelter. He laments that the shelter system is even necessary, but the persistence of unchecked breeding and puppy mills, keep the dogs filling the shelters. “It’s a terrible scene, and puppy mills are inhumane…they are a way to make money without caring about a living animal.”
In addition to more NASCAR wins, Bopp does see hope on the horizon. “I think it’s a great thing that people are finally starting to realize that there are amazing, great dogs [at the shelter]. Dogs are for the most part very loving creatures and very selfless.”
For more information about Danny Bopp and his racing, please visit his website, at www.dannybopp.com.