NewsPositively Hampton Roads


Bring your dog to a hockey game and help heroes find healing

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Posted at 5:47 AM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 11:21:15-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Picture this: You're at a hockey game and the puck goes in the net. You hear lots of cheering...and barking?

The Norfolk Admirals are allowing fans to bring their dogs for Saturday night's match against Wheeling Nailers.

Pucks & Paws Night, as it's known, is in support of Virginia Beach non-profit Mutts With a Mission; an organization that trains service dogs and provides them, for free, to former active service military members and first responders.

The dogs are specifically for those who have a debilitating injury or experienced severe trauma on the job and have had a hard time adjusting to normal life.

Johnny Ayo, head of public relations for Mutts With a Mission, says he became involved after getting his own dog from the organization. A 20-year career in the Marine Corps left Ayo fighting injuries that at times bind him to a wheelchair.

He tells News 3 a service dog can help heal in ways medicine cannot.

"We're saving their lives, we're saving their marriages, we're saving their relationships with their kids. We're giving them the independence they once lost so it's a really cool organization and me receiving a service dog of my own, before, I wouldn't have been able to do this (job) until I had mine," said Ayo.

For Pucks & Paws Night, tickets for fans and their dogs are $22 and can only be purchased online. $5 from every sold ticket will then go to Mutts With a Mission.

Certain sections inside Scope Arena will be considered "pet-friendly" for the night. $5 cash-only dog tickets will also be sold at the door.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with a puck drop scheduled for 7:30. The first 3,000 fans will also receive a gift from Mutts With a Mission.

For more information about Pucks & Paws Night, click HERE.