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Animal Shelter Names Dogs After Nationals As Team Prepares For World Series Game 3

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Washington, D.C., may be the nation's capital, but it is also hometown for fans of the Nationals.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

So local institutions are showing team spirit - what fans call Natitude. French horn players from the National Symphony Orchestra donned shark suits at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to play the tune that's becoming sort of a theme song for the Nats this season.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CORNISH: Yeah, the kids song - "Baby Shark."

CHANG: Gerardo Parra, who joined this season in May, uses it as his walk-up song. And it seems that it quickly became instrumental in turning the team from one of the worst in 2019 to one of the best. There's even a teeny toy shark that hangs in the netting of the dugout. "Baby Shark" is, of course, infectious. So the Washington National Cathedral played its part.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CORNISH: But it was dogs, not sharks, that got in on the festivities at a shelter called Humane Rescue Alliance.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOGS BARKING)

CORNISH: A starting roster of dogs ready for adoption were named for Nationals players. First up, an American bulldog mix with a polka-dot nose named for most valuable player of the National League Championship Series.

DANI RIZZO: This is Howie Kendrick. Come here, buddy. You're so cute.

CHANG: That's Dani Rizzo from Humane Rescue Alliance.

RIZZO: He's very excited, loves to play, loves to be outside.

CHANG: Like the real Howie Kendrick. Another shelter employee, Mary Beth McAndrews, is a huge Nats fan. It was her idea to put together the starting pup lineup.

MARY BETH MCANDREWS: There's a lot of Nationals fans that are also dog fans, so I think everyone just loves this idea. We're hoping that we'll have a Nationals win and that all of our dogs will have found new homes.

CORNISH: Don't worry - the shelter is keeping cats involved, too, by asking people to post pictures of their cats in Nats gear. No surprise - people are obliging at the hashtag #catsfornats.

(SOUNDBITE OF PINKFONG'S "BABY SHARK") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.