Take your dog to a hockey game and help the heroes find the cure

NORFOLK, Va. – Imagine this: you are at a hockey game and the puck goes into the net. Do you hear a lot of cheering… and barking?

The Norfolk Admirals are allowing fans to bring their dogs for Saturday night’s game against the Wheeling Nailers.

Pucks & Paws Night, as it’s known, supports the Virginia Beach nonprofit Mutts With a Mission; an organization that trains service dogs and provides them free of charge to former active duty military personnel and first responders.

The dogs are specifically for those who have a debilitating injury or who have suffered severe trauma at work and have struggled to adjust to a normal life.

Johnny Ayo, public relations manager for Mutts With a Mission, says he got involved after getting his own dog from the organization. A 20-year career in the Marine Corps has left Ayo battling injuries that sometimes bind him to a wheelchair.

He tells News 3 that a service dog can help with healing in ways that 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 I’m getting my own service dog, before, I couldn’t have done this (job) until I got my own,” Ayo said.

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

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

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

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

Catherine J. Martinez