The Minnesota Wild is saying farewell to one of its own.
The team adopted a golden retriever a year ago to be trained as a service dog. Now, the pup is off to his next phase of training.
WCCO captured the moment Hobey left for his new home.
“When service dog comes to the arena, its electric, both kids and adults.”
For Minnesota Wild fans, golden retriever Hobey added a whole new element of joy to the game.
“Win or lose, if a dog’s in the crowd, especially a dog like we’ve had, training someone with PTSD, is really important. They love that we do this.”
Hobey is one of two so far that the team has adopted and trained.
The Minnesota Wild will train the dogs on basic behaviors like sitting and listening, but the most important part of the training is letting them get acclimated to the crowds and people.
After a year of hard work, the pup is handed off to a nonprofit called Soldier’s 6, where they say the real training begins.
“A lot of what our recipients are suffering from, the anxiety, being in crowds.”
The organization provides dogs to those who have served, particularly those suffering from PTSD. K-9 trainers along with the new handler will coach the dog together to gain service dog status.
“When I received my first service dog we saw such a great benefit for myself and my family, that we wanted to pay it forward.”
This time, the nonprofit is paying it forward to Kyle Myers, a National Guard veteran. Myers has served overseas and now suffers from PTSD. Myers will take over Hobey as his new battle buddy.
“We’re hopefully establishing such a bond and such a relationship there that it creates a comfort level for the recipient.”
With the hope to gain strength and courage again.
The team will continue its tradition of bringing in dogs every year to train.
Fans can meet the newly adopted dog this fall.