Biscuit is just a wiggly little chocolate Lab puppy now, but he'll be trained as a service dog for a veteran once he's a little older.

The NHL's Washington Capitals welcomed their newest member last week: a chocolate Labrador retriever puppy named Biscuit.

The nine-week old pupper is part of America's VetDogs, a non-profit organization that supplies service dogs to U.S. military veterans at no cost to the individual. Training a service dog is a process that takes more than a year—which can cost over $50,000 to complete—but it all starts in the same place: with a puppy. That's where people like Deana Stone come in.

Washington Capitals new team puppy named Biscuit standing on his jersey on a red bench wearing a service vest
Credit: Jess Rapfogel

Stone is a Puppy Advisor. Aside from meaning that she gets to have the word "puppy" in her job title, that means that it's Stone's job to take the VetDogs puppers and give them their initial round of training and socialization. That can be done in a litany of ways, but for Biscuit that means spending time with the Caps.

"There will be times that we'll go into (The Capitals) offices," Stone tells Daily Paws. "On and off the ice, he'll get to interact with the players."

Stone has worked with the Capitals for a couple of years now, as she was also the trainer for the teams previous VetDogs pup, Captain, who was placed with retired U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Mark Gwathmey earlier in 2021.

"We went to most of the home games and had a chance to be around a lot of different noises," she says.

Partnerships with orgnizations like the Capitals actually serve a dual purpose for VetDogs puppies. From a training standpoint, the team and crowd interactions are great for getting the dogs used to loud noises and crowds. But from a practical standpoint, partnerships like these help amplify the non-profit's mission and raise awareness of their efforts.

washington capitals service dog in the arms of a player
Credit: Jess Rapfogel

Biscuit (which also happens to be slang for a hockey puck) is an adorable pup all on his own, but when paired with teammates like the 6'4" RW Tom Wilson, the cuteness level is cranked up to 11.

Stone says that Biscuit will spend the next 14 months or so at her side and with the Caps, learning positional cues, how to fetch things for his handler, and how to use his nose to open and close doors and drawers. From there, he'll go back to VetDogs, who will match him to a veteran in need. From there, the rest of this hero dog's training will be catered specifically to the needs of his human.

But for now, the sweet pup seems to be getting plenty of attention from the players. And his new fans on the team's social media accounts! Check out this hilarious TikTok featuring Biscuit and RW T.J. Oshie.

Service dogs have a long and proud history of assisting veterans and civilians alike. Their contribution to the lives of those they help can not be understated; statues have even been built in their honor, and with good reason. Stone says that seeing the puppies she trains leave her care is always bittersweet, but the higher purpose of these dogs makes it all worthwhile.

"It's absolutely hard to give them back," Stone says. "[Biscuit] is puppy number eight for me and it never gets easy. But I feel like when you give to others, you give a little piece of yourself. That's what this is for me."