RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Rapid City Rush’s four-legged teammate was introduced to his new family over the weekend.
Rush, a red Labrador, was adopted by the hockey team last season, with the goal of training him as a service dog for a South Dakota veteran.
The team shared the responsibilities of raising the pup and teaching basic commands until he was a bit older. Then, through a partnership with the South Dakota Canine Center, Rush got additional training.
All that was left was to find Rush a new home.
The veterans’ support group, Mission-22, helped identify a veteran in need, and over the weekend, Rush was introduced to his new best friend — retired Air Force Staff Sargent Tony Russell.
“The hope is that Rush helps out Tony as best as he can with all the hardships he has to face on his medical side and with his anxiety with PTSD. And our hope is the Russell family, Denise his wife and his kids Jacoby and Evan, have fun with their newest addition to the family too,” said Mark Binetti, Senior Director of Communications for the Rapid City Rush. “You know, just as much as Rush is a service dog for Tony, he is a dog for the entire family. And again, when his vest is off and he’s not working, he gets to be one of those big anchors in that household.”
The Rush received help from Canyon Lake Veterinary Hospital for Rush’s vet care, while food and toys for the growing pup were provided by Healthy Paws.