The Capitals face the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday in Washington.
Captain is part of the Capitals’ partnership with America’s VetDogs, a New York-based nonprofit that trains dogs to become service animals for disabled military veterans or first responders, according to Erica Sandidge, who works in marketing for the team.
Captain, who was born July 22, will spend close to a year and a half with the Capitals, hanging around the team’s offices and attending some practices and home games. The pup was initially called Oliver but was renamed in Ovechkin’s honor. He lives with a volunteer puppy-raiser, Sandidge said, who will take care of him, help him get used to living in a regular household and teach him the fundamental skills of being a service animal.
When Captain leaves Washington, he will head back to America’s VetDogs headquarters for additional training and then will be paired with a D.C.-area veteran or first responder. (In other words, don’t worry; he will be a lifelong Caps fan.)
So what’s he like? Well, he’s really cute. Take a look at some more photos.
“He’s this floppy, soft, cuddly dog,” Sandidge said. “He hasn’t been afraid of anything so far. On the red carpet today with all the cameras, he didn’t flinch. He was around loud noises. Nothing fazes him. He was at the rink this past week, and even with the pucks hitting the glass, the sticks tapping, he just wags his tail and looks around.”
Capitals players are still getting to know Captain because the team was on the road at the beginning of the week to start the season. But the few players who have met the new pooch are already smitten, Sandidge said. The dog spent some time hanging around the dressing room before puck drop against the Hurricanes on Saturday, and the team plans to make sure the players get some time with him during the week after practices.
“We’ve only had him for the week, but you can already see him responding to his name,” she said. “If you tell him to sit, he’ll sit immediately. If you hold your hand down to touch, he’ll touch his nose to your hand. Even when you take him off the leash, he’ll just sit there. He won’t try to run away. He’ll just sniff around.”
Captain, who is already on Twitter and Instagram, also will be making public appearances in case any fans need their fix of cute puppy photos.