By Pafoua Yang

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Wild is saying goodbye to a Golden Retriever named Hobey the team adopted last year. Hobey is training to be a service dog and now heads off to his new owner.

The sendoff happened at the Xcel Energy Center. The Minnesota Wild adopted the dog about a year ago from a rescue organization.

“When a service dog comes to the arena, it’s electric for both kids and adults,” Jamie Spencer, Executive VP of Business Development at Minnesota Wild, said. “Win or lose, if a dog’s in the crowd, especially a dog like we’ve had, training someone with PTSD is really important. They love that we do this.”

Hobey was on a one-year contract to be raised as a future service dog. Hobey stayed with the CFO of the Wild and learned the basics like sitting and listening, but most importantly he learned to acclimate to crowds and people.

Now after completing his term, Hobey is leaving the team to go be with his new owner, National Guard veteran Kyles Myers. Myers has served overseas and began showing symptoms of PTSD after returning home.

With not much progress in therapy, Myers reached out to friends and family to ask for recommendations for a service dog. Friends recommended reaching out to Soldier’s 6, an organization that provides dogs to those who have served, particularly those suffering from PTSD.

“A lot of what our recipients are suffering from the anxiety, being in crowds,” Ed Abrahamson, founder of Soldier’s 6, said. “I retired from law enforcement in 2015 and my retirement was due to suffering from PTSD. When I received my first service dog, we saw such a great benefit for myself and for my family, we wanted to pay it forward.”

Myers, along with K9 trainers, will coach Hobey together to get service dog status.

Abrahamson explained that typically trainers will train the dog and then hand them off to their new owners. Soldier’s 6, however, trains the dog with the new owner.

“We’re getting the dog with the recipient right away. It’s a better environment for the dog, for the person that’s receiving the dog. It’s a better way of doing it,” Abrahamson said.

Hobey is the second dog the Wild has adopted. There will be a third dog joining the team this year. Fans will meet that new dog this autumn.

Pafoua Yang