Indycar Driver Adopts Kitten from Anti-Abuse Photo Shoot

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Indycar driver Josef Newgarden poses with MJ (now Simba) for Baltimore’s Show Your Soft Side campaign.

Josef Newgarden was smitten for the kitten when he posed with a little cutie for Baltimore’s Show Your Soft Side anti animal abuse campaign. Josef adopted the kitten, who was personally delivered to him by the foster mom today.

Josef Newgarden has shown his passion for anti-animal abuse and animal rescue with his involvement in organizations such as Best Friends Animal Society and Show Your Soft Side.

The story from the Grand Prix of Baltimore that touched a lot of hearts came full circle a few weeks ago when Josef sent his application into BARCS Animal Shelter to adopt MJ, his good luck charm that backed his 2nd place finish at Baltimore.

Courtesy of Southwest Airlines, the formerly homeless Baltimore kitten and his foster mother were able to fly from Baltimore to Nashville, Josef’s hometown this morning.

The kitten and his new petdad fell for one another during the Baltimore photo shoot back on Labor Day, when the driver was in town for the Grand Prix of Baltimore. Josef has officially adopted the little guy who he now calls Simba.

Show Your Soft Side is a brilliant anti animal abuse campaign that stresses love and tenderness, even from the toughest of tough guys, and features prominent athletes and others on billboards, cuddling cats and dogs. Show Your Soft Side billboards encourage Baltimore’s youth to get the message that cool guys, tough guys, athletes and other men love and respect animals, and only punks in the worst understanding of the word hurt them.

The campaign was created through the Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force, but is entirely volunteer run, with participants putting their own time, money and talents into the effort. Show Your Soft Side maintains an active Show Your Soft Side Facebook page.

For more on the Show Your Soft Side campaign at our site, click HERE.

For updates and photos and the campaign, along with pet related issues and fun, visit Show Your Soft Side on Facebook.



The photos below show Simba’s journey to his new home.  Simba was accompanied by his foster mom, Michelle Green, on a flight from Baltimore to Nashville this morning. Southwest provided the first class flight for Michelle and the kitten. Michelle hand delivered her foster baby to his new guardian.

Michelle Green and Simba today, as they set out on their adventure.
All photos via Show Your Soft Side at Facebook


Michelle Green, the kitten, and a Southwest representative


Michelle Green meets up with Josef and personally delivers the kitten at the airport.









All the passengers in the terminal were wondering “what the heck is going on” so Josef took the mic and explained.



“Show Your Soft Side” is a campaign developed to combat the alarming incidence of animal abuse in Baltimore. Many of the more horrific cases have been perpetrated by teens, thus leading the Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission to look for ways to change the mindset of young people who often view the maiming and torturing of defenseless dogs and cats as a sign of “toughness” or “manhood”. The campaign puts forth a very different message – a message that subtly shows that “being a man” has many facets to it, including a “soft side” when it comes to animals. The goal is to reach kids early because research shows that kids who abuse animals soon graduate to even more violent crimes. Featuring acknowledged hard men of Baltimore with their pets, the campaign’s posters, billboards and print ads make the point that only a punk would hurt a cat or dog.


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