Having already announced a dog as an option for the new team mascot earlier this offseason, now Washington has a team dog.
The Washington Commanders announced Tuesday that they have a new MVP…that’s Most Valuable Pup. Mando, an eight-month-old English black Labrador retriever, is in training to become a service dog for a military veteran.
Mando, MVP Dog Of The Commanders
Mando was placed with the team for this season in partnership with K9s for Warriors, a charity organization that helps disabled veterans obtain service dogs. He’ll officially be introduced as the team dog Sunday before the start of Washington’s opening game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“Puppies are motivated by all sorts of things — food, cuddles, play. For Mando, it’s treats,” said Lindsay Snyder, K9s For Warriors’ director of development. “We show him a treat, call him his new name, and suddenly he’s a fast learner.”
“He looked like a linebacker. He was just this stout little chubby puppy,” Snyder said. “Mando comes from a winning bloodline. So, when we talked about that, [Commanders Charitable Foundation members] were like, ‘Oh my gosh, you know, it goes along with our history and what we’re trying to get back to here at the Commanders. He’ll fit right in!'”
The Commanders players chose the name Mando, his original name was “Buzz.” He’ll now spend the next eight to twenty-four weeks living with a volunteer until he’s about 10-14 months old before he’s ready to return to the charity organization so he can complete his training.
Until then, he’ll be enjoying things with the players, coaches, and executives at ‘The Park’ until he’s ready to continue his life as a service dog.
One thing is for sure…he certainly looks like he’s a good boy.
A majority of K9s For Warriors dogs come from high-kill rescue shelters, though a portion, such as Mando, are donated as puppies via breeders.
“Dogs like Mando will put an end to veteran suicide,” Lindsay said. “Service dogs change lives forever.”