WASHINGTON — There were several new faces spotted at the rink during the Washington Capitals training camp, but none were greeted with as much enthusiasm as 9-week-old Biscuit. The chocolate lab made his debut as the Caps' newest service dog in training on Sept. 22, in partnership with America's VetDogs program.
For the next 14-16 months, Biscuit will undergo basic training and socialization with the Capitals staff, players and public. He'll attend practices and some home games, make appearances at community events and be present in the front office, all with the goal of getting Biscuit comfortable and calm in a variety of settings.
Biscuit will complete his "puppy training" in D.C., before heading to America's VetDogs campus in New York to begin formal service dog training.
"America’s VetDogs has an incredible impact in the military and first-responder community, and we look forward to being a part of Biscuit’s formal training over the next season as he begins to learn how to best serve his future partner," said Capitals vice president of marketing Amanda Tischler.
The team's last service dog, Captain, found his forever home in Saint Leonard, Maryland in June, as a service dog for retired U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Mark Gwathmey.
Captain was trained to assist Gwathmey with several tasks to help mitigate the veteran’s disability, including retrieving dropped items, counterbalance, summoning assistance, seizure response, positional cues to extend personal space and PTSD cues such as rest, nightmare interruption and shake.
Captain made his own debut with the team in 2019, and completed similar training to what Biscuit will undergo, while being raised by America's VetDogs area coordinator Deana Stone.
“I’m blessed that the Capitals sponsored him," Mark Gwathmey said. "I’m fortunate to have him as my sidekick and my service dog."