Denis Shapovalov spent his preseason training with one extra-special team member, fostering a dog named Merlin from the Humane Society of Manatee County.
The Canadian is a strong supporter of the HSMC shelter through his initiative Shapo Shelter, which helps bring awareness to shelter animals in need of good homes. Shapovalov often visits HSMC when he’s in Bradenton to visit with the animals they’ve rescued and show his support to all the staff for the amazing work they do, with many cats and dogs available for adoption.
Merlin, who has been at the shelter for over a year, was able to take a break from stressful shelter life and enjoy some time with Shapovalov, his girlfriend Mirjam Bjorklund and the rest of Team Shapo while the World No. 18 got ready for the 2023 season.
“Merlin is one of the most well-behaved dogs I’ve seen, way better than my dogs in Toronto,” said Shapovalov. “He’s learns really quickly too — like we told him to go up and down the stairs slowly, and so he’s been doing that. We have cameras inside the house and he just stays by the door and waits for us. He’s also just been a shadow for us. He follows us around and seems like he just wants to please us. We really love him and are hoping he finds his forever home soon!”
Shapovalov Launches ShapoShelter To Help Animals Find Forever Homes
Shapovalov also did a fundraiser on Cameo, doing video shoutouts for fans and raising over $2,500 that will go directly to the HSMC to support the great work they do all year.