Let’s Paw-ty! Happy First Birthday Captain!!

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Break out the birthday cake plush dog toy. Grab some balloons and party hats. The day has finally come. Captain turns one-year-old today!! In this piece, I wanted to take a look back on some of my favorite (very hard to choose) moments of the Washington Capitals team dog and service dog in training.

Rock the Red Carpet Debut

Fans were introduced to Captain during the Rock the Red Carpet event on October 5 prior to the Capitals’ Home Opener against the Carolina Hurricanes, making his first appearance with team captain Alex Ovechkin and attending his first game that evening.

Caps Canine Calendar Photoshoot

Captain is Mr. Photogenic. The puppy got to take part in the annual “Caps Canine Calendar” photoshoot, which features Capitals players with their own pets and dogs from Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. Captain had another paparazzi experience with goaltender Braden Holtby and had the camera all to himself later on.

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Hockey Halloween Winner

Each day leading up to the week of Halloween, Captain was dressed up in different costumes such as a “pawlice man”, Olaf from Disney’s Frozen, and the Avengers‘ Captain America. His costume appearances were so impressive, that he was deemed the “winner” of Halloween by the NHL and ESPN.

All I Want For Christmas Is You

It’s the song, or cover rather, that you didn’t know you needed. Christmas was two days away and the Capitals released their 2019 holiday video. Captain was a part of the annual tradition.

A 14/10

In late-December, Captain officially made his way onto the popular dog Twitter account, WeRateDogsMatt Nelson, the creator of WeRateDogs, arrived at Capital One Arena to meet Captain.

Two Minutes for Ruffing

In January, the Capitals and Caps Pup traveled up to Long Island for a Saturday matinee against the New York Islanders, which was a crazy 6-4 comeback win for the visiting team. Captain and his trainer, Deana Stone, arrived at Nassau Coliseum and he was very excited to meet Tori, the Islanders’ service dog in training, who is also a part of America’s VetDogs’ “Puppies with a Purpose” group.

Captain and Scout

Scout, the second service dog in training that Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) are raising in partnership with America’s VetDogs, was officially introduced in late-January. He and Captain are the best of buds.

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Best Team Dog

Captain won the NHL Fan Choice Awards in June with 22.0% of the vote. He beat out Flambo of Montreal (16.4%), Tori (12.7%), and seven other competitors.

Captain has definitely had a fun time in his nine months with the Capitals. He loves hitting the ice during practice and giving pregame licks to the guys on game day. He has been creating smiles and melting hearts since his arrival on October 5.

However, being a part of America’s VetDogs program, an important quality of Captain is his 16-month training to become a service dog for a veteran or first responder with disabilities. Once Captain’s basic training is finished with the team, he will go back to America’s VetDogs, a non-profit organization based in Smithtown, New York, for a few months of final preparations before becoming an official service dog.

Not only do fans have the opportunity to enjoy Captain’s company and cuteness at practices and other events, but they also get to watch his progression as a future service dog and his growth as a future helper to a first responder or veteran.

Covering Captain’s time with the Capitals has been so enjoyable. I’ve learned many aspects of a pup’s training to become a service dog. All of the adorable photos and videos from Caps Pup leave me saying awww or he’s so silly!

On behalf of everyone at NoVa Caps, have a paw-some first birthday, Captain!!

More Caps Pup Reading

Captain & NHL Team Pups Thank Frontline Healthcare Workers

The Dog Office: Captain Re-creates “The Office” Opening

Hath’s Heroes: Capitals’ Garnet Hathaway Visits Arlington County Fire Department Alongside Captain & Scout

Capitals Pup-date: Captain’s Growth Four Months Later

Meet Scout: Corporate Puppy With A Purpose; Monumental Sports & Entertainment, America’s VetDogs Introduce Second Service Dog In Training (Photos)

Let’s Paw-ty! – Captain Celebrates Six-Month Birthday

Tail Of Two Cities: Washington Capitals’ Pup And New York Islanders’ Pup Meet For The First Time

A Paw-fect Day: Caps Pup Visits America’s VetDogs In New York

Dog Days At Practice: Team Pup Captain Joins Capitals at MedStar Capitals Iceplex

WeRateDogs Gives Capitals Team Dog, Captain A 14/10

“All I Want For Christmas Is You”: A Rendition By The 2019-20 Washington Capitals Feat. Captain

“He’s Silly And So Sweet!”: An Interview With Deana Stone, Captain’s Handler & Updates On The Capitals’ Team Dog

Hockey Player’s Best Friend: Capitals Welcome “Team Dog” Captain, in Training to Be Placed With a Veteran In Need; Makes Debut On Red Carpet with Alex Ovechkin

By Della Young

About Della Young

Della Young is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter who earned a BFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University in 2021. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Screenwriting from Regent University. Della comes from a family of big Capitals fans and became inspired to start writing for hockey in 2019. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and working on both sides of the camera. Follow Della on Twitter: @dellayoung
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