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PHOTOS: David Ortiz Visits the Animal Rescue League

Big Papi visited with some big and little puppies at Boston's Animal Rescue League. The Red Sox designated hitter played with shelter pups while munching on Popchips during an appearance Tuesday afternoon.

Apparently, puppies love popchips… and designated hitters with a penchant for bedazzled jeans.

The winning combination was put to the test on Tuesday afternoon when Red Sox slugger David Ortiz paid a visit to the as part of a contest promoting the all-natural potato chip brand. Ortiz posed for photos with adoring ARL staff before heading to the dog run for playtime with some of the shelter’s canine residents.

A dog-lover himself, Ortiz is the proud father of a 3-year old terrier named Foxy. 

“That’s my girl, she won’t go to sleep unless I’m asleep,” he said. “Having a dog around…it’s like having another child.”

Ortiz fielded questions from reporters about his free agency ("who doesn't [want to play with the Sox]?") while feeding barbeque flavored Popchips to a group of adoring two-month old puppies. Dozens of fans gathered along the outskirts of the fenced-in playspace, some carrying jerseys emblazoned with the number 34. 

Ortiz, one of the most popular Boston sports figures following the Red Sox World Series win in 2004, has a .289 career average with the Sox. He's currently a free agent, and told reporters on Tuesday that he'd like to remain in Boston.

"Of course, who doesn't?" he said in response to a question of whether he'd like to remain with his current team.

On Tuesday, a few lucky young fans got a chance to get up close and person with Big Papi courtesy of the Animal Rescue League. Ten-year-old Kate Chang was invited to have her picture taken with Ortiz after donating handmade duct tape dog collars to the shelter. Chang’s family, who live in Back Bay, adopted their dog Violet from the Animal Rescue League.

“We wanted to give [the extra collars] to the animals up for adoption here so they could have a little flair,” said Chang’s father John.

The Animal Rescue League received the visit from Ortiz after winning a Popchips competition asking what fans "would do with their Big Papi." ARL President’s Council Director Melanie Sheffield submitted an entry just an hour before the competition closed, asking Ortiz to come play with shelter dogs.

“We all love the Sox and we thought this could be a great opportunity for the League,” Sheffield told Patch. “We’re over the moon.”

In addition to his appearance on Tuesday, Ortiz signed merchandise in advance to be used in League fundraisers. Popchips will also be giving a special “doggie bag” to the first 50 people who adopted a dog on Tuesday. 

“We’re happy to give the Animal Rescue League’s furry friends some quality time with Big Papi,” said Popchips co-founder Keith Belling. “It’s important to us to find exciting ways to give back to our communities.”

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