This pup is ready to play! The New York Rangers are training an autism service dog this season.
The National Hockey League team announced on Tuesday, August 7, that a 6-month-old yellow Labrador named Ranger will be joining the team for a year to learn the unique skills he needs to become a professional service dog for a child with autism.
The Rangers have partnered with BluePath, a nonprofit that provides autism service dogs. The animals offer companionship, safety and independence opportunities to those with autism. “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,” vice president of marketing and development at BluePath Michelle Brier said.
Ranger already has a social media presence. The puppy shared some “barkground” information about himself on his Instagram account on Tuesday. “My first collar was [blue] and now I get to be a Blueshirt!” he captioned a gallery of adorable photos of himself. “My pre-game treat is [peanut] butter! I’m learning to handle [pucks]! I love to take the [subway] to MSG!” In the pics, the canine wears his jersey and his official team collar, carries a puck in his mouth and takes a nap.
The furry cutie also practiced his high-five skills with Adam Graves — the team’s former left wing, who had the honor of introducing Ranger to the world — on his Instagram Story Wednesday, August 8.
Kevin Shattenkirk, a defenseman for the Rangers, approves of the addition. “Might be my new favorite teammate!” he tweeted on Wednesday. “Welcome to the team Ranger!”
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