A service dog in any situation is an adorable force for good, be it through helping blind people navigate the world, helping those in nursing homes or the hospitals feel happier, or anything in between. But what about a service dog taking to being on the ice? The Washington Capitals announced this past Monday that it has partnered with America’s VetDogs, a New York-based organization dedicated to the training and providing of service dogs, to train future service dog “Biscuit”. Biscuit is a pint-sized pup, being a Chocolate Labrador at the young age of 9 weeks old. In the coming weeks, the dog will undergo basic training and socialization with Capitals staff, players, and the public for the next 14 to 16 months. Following his training, Biscuit will be matched with a veteran or disabled first responder - at absolutely no cost whatsoever. This is the goal of America’s VetDogs: they provide veterans, disabled first responders, and other parties with service dogs at no additional cost, dedicated to providing them with assistance in situations where it may not otherwise be possible.
This isn’t the first time the Capitals and America’s VetDogs have partnered to raise a service dog, either. In 2019, the Capitals raised future service dog Captain, who was at the time 10 weeks old, and placed him alongside a retired Marine Corps veteran after he successfully finished his puppy training. The Capitals and America’s VetDogs both remarked that they had seen great success with placing Captain with a veteran and are hoping that Biscuit will follow in Captain’s footsteps, being the second puppy the hockey team and organization have partnered to raise. Fans can keep up with Biscuit’s progress and overall cuteness by checking out his dedicated Twitter and Instagram handles @CapsPup to see how the puppy is going along with his training, and anyone who missed Captain’s journey can still see his pictures and training on both handles.
In a world where many people suffer from medical conditions such as PTSD and seizures, and still, many others remain handicapped and suffering to the point where some daily tasks can be impossible, the dedication of the Capitals and their partnership with America’s VetDogs proves to be more than a publicity stunt to bring awareness to this cause. America’s VetDogs CEO spoke highly of Captain's success through this partnership: “The ownership, team, staff, and fans have all embraced America’s VetDogs’ mission and partnerships like these are vital to the growth and socialization of a future service dog. We saw a wonderful outcome with Captain being placed with his veteran and look forward to seeing Biscuit do the same.” Many people still remain in the dark about service dog organizations, with one of the most well-known being solely Leader Dogs for the Blind, and even beyond that other service dogs are constantly overlooked. It is easy to forget how much animals play a role in today’s ever-changing society, especially dogs, whose intelligence and retention of performing unique actions makes them so important to people like Captain’s veteran, who in the event of a seizure or PTSD episode cannot get through the day without being in suffering and pain. Emotional support animals (ESAs), service dogs, police dogs, and everything in between remain important, and the Capitals’ endeavors to raise Captain and Biscuit are proof of that. As we keep up with Biscuit’s eventual journey to being paired with someone who will know him as a source of comfort and help, it’s important to remember that we can’t take service animals for granted. We wish Biscuit luck at his training.
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