Image via nyrangerspup/Instagram
Meet the newest addition to the New York Rangers hockey team—a 6-month-old Labrador Retriever puppy named Ranger. It was announced on August 7 that the yellow lab would join the NHL team for a year to learn the unique skills needed to become a professional service dog for autistic children.
The arrangement came about through a partnership between the New York Rangers and BluePath, a nonprofit organization that provides autism service dogs for “safety, companionship and opportunities for independence.”
Michelle Brier, vice president of marketing and development at BluePath, spoke with US Weekly, saying, “We are so excited to partner with the New York Rangers to raise understanding and awareness for autism and of the importance of service dogs in the world.”
Ranger has definitely made himself at home with the team. Already he is learning how to be a puck handler, and his favorite pre-game treat is peanut butter.
Ranger has even cultivated a social media presence with almost 14K followers on Instagram and more than 6K followers on Twitter. Just a few days ago, the pup shared a video of himself first getting on the ice, saying: “I need to get some new skates, this was a ruff start!” The hockey pup even had a shout-out from the Twitter account Twitter Sports, who declared him as an MVP, Most Valuable Pup.
So, what do some of the players from the Rangers think of the newest addition?
Rangers’, favorite player, Adam Graves—or “Grrrrrraves”—former left wing for the Rangers, welcomed the adorable service dog onto the team with a “shake.” And Kevin Shattenkirk, defenseman for the team, mentioned in a tweet that the yellow lab just might be his favorite teammate.
Throughout the year, you’ll be able to track Ranger’s progress with the New York Rangers on Facebook and Twitter via #NYRPupOnAPath.
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