ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Tyler Matakevich summed up perfectly what most people probably think will happen when they attend an animal rescue event:

“Every time we end up going to some sort of event we end up leaving with a dog.”

That’s exactly what happened to the Bills linebacker and special teams ace six years ago when asked to participate in a photoshoot for the organization “Show Your Soft Side“.

“Sure enough right when we walk into this photoshoot they had six, eight week old puppies all right there and they sort of gave me one and I really haven’t given her back since,” Matakevich laughed.

Tyler had a friend in Philadelphia whose mom asked if they’d do the photoshoot and that’s when he met his Black Lab/Irish Setter mix, Bailey.

“And sure enough, this was on a Friday and I actually had her by Sunday,” Matakevich smiled.

His love and involvement with Show Your Soft Side only grew from there, participating and spreading awareness of the group in whatever city he was living in. This is the mission of Show Your Soft Side:

Show Your Soft Side is a public service campaign that was created to change the mindset of young people who all-too-often view the maiming and torturing of defenseless cats and dogs as a sign of “toughness” or “manhood.” The campaign’s message that compassion towards animals is a sign of strength, not weakness, is one that, overnight, struck a nerve with old and young alike. Today, Show Your Soft Side, Inc. uses its reach and resources to build a better world for animals and, in doing so, build better adults.

The organization partners with athletes and celebrities to help spread the mission and they help put on events in cities all across the country. The proceeds from these events go to local shelters or rescue groups.

“It’s just a nonprofit organization that really just wants to bring more awareness about abused animals, dogs and cats, and I think it’s just great. And it shows people too you know, you don’t need to maybe necessarily go get a breed dog when there’s so many dogs that need a home,” Matakevich explained.

Tyler hosted one of these events earlier in the month with a “Yappy Hour” at First Line Brewing in Orchard Park to raise money for Nickel City Canine Rescue in Buffalo.

“Just seeing Bills Mafia, all the dogs come dressed up in their jerseys and stuff, you couldn’t help but put a smile on your face just knowing you were really contributing to a good cause,” Matakevich said.

The Bills special teams unit was well represented as Tyler Bass, Reid Ferguson, Sam Martin and Jaquan Johnson also came to the event.

“It’s awesome these guys just taking their time out just to support the same things that I really care about and I’m passionate about and just knowing they have the same passion for it, it’s just awesome.”

Along with Bailey, Tyler and his wife Shannon also rescued their second dog, Cash and they hope to host more events, like Yappy Hour, in the future.