Biscuit, a chocolate Labrador and service dog in training, took a break from the Capitals’ development camp and stopped by WTOP’s newsroom to say hello Monday morning.
honed some of my own hockey skills at development camp !! pic.twitter.com/1Y01mZQiXo
— Biscuit (@CapsPup) July 16, 2022
Biscuit is the Capitals’ “official pup,” with his own Instagram, and has been with the team since September. To acquire Biscuit, the Capitals teamed up with America’s VetDogs, a nonprofit that partners service dogs with military veterans and first responders who have disabilities to lead their lives with renewed independence.
During his time with the Capitals, Biscuit has worked on perfecting his service-dog skills, such as the “rest” command, a favorite for many veterans. Whenever Biscuit hears the word “rest” from his trainer or owner, he will lie his head on top of the owner’s lap and look up, giving his owner a moment to relax.
Biscuit’s trainer, Deana Stone, told WTOP he is very “treat focused” — Biscuit loves dehydrated beef liver — and is quiet, calm and easy going.
Stone said Capitals right-winger Tom Wilson and Biscuit got along extremely well, and one time, Wilson led Biscuit by his leash into the Cap’s locker room.
“And a few minutes later, Biscuit comes out with a big ol’ roll of the white tape that they put on their sticks. And he was happy as could be. And Tom was very happy,” Stone said.
“And of course, they won the game that night,” Stone added.
Stone said the service dogs America’s VetDogs train are “life-changing” and “life-saving” for veterans with disabilities. Sponsors like the Capitals are essential to keeping the program going. But so are volunteers, Stone said.
“We operate mainly with volunteers. We need volunteers to take these puppies into their homes. Not a really hard ask right?” Stone said.
Stone said anyone interested in volunteering, or learning about the different ways they can help, should go to the America’s VetDogs sister organization, the Guide Dog Foundation, and on their website, go to the “How to Help” page.
Once Biscuit moves on from the Capitals, he will return to America’s VetDogs’ 10-acre campus in Smithtown, New York, where he’ll go to his formal trainer and then veteran or first responder.
“They’re going to take a look at Biscuit’s strengths, his weaknesses, his personality, kind of overall, what kind of lifestyle maybe he would be suited for,” Stone said “Then they’re going to match him with a veteran or first responder who needs him.”
Before Biscuit, Captain was the big dog in town. Captain, like Biscuit, went through basic service-dog training and socialization with the Caps prior to beginning his career as a service dog.