Bolt came to the Tampa Bay Lightning as a 5-month-old puppy and is leaving a Stanley Cup Champion.
The Lightning announced Wednesday that their yellow lab service dog in training is moving onto the next phase of his development with Southeastern Guide Dogs after spending the past 15 months with the team.
Tampa Bay is one of many NHL teams that have had a service dog in training. The programs involve introducing the puppy to many different people, sights, sounds and smells around the rink to prepare them for real life situations.
They also live with a team employee who teaches them things like obedience and house manners. Bolt lived with Missy Davis, senior manager of foundation and finance.
“Bolt’s been an absolute joy to have in our offices on a daily basis, having a little puppy in your office and people being able to interact with Bolt has been nothing short of spectacular,” Lightning CEO Steve Griggs said. “Whether we win or lose, Bolt was happy to see you the next morning.”
Bolt also had an Instagram account where his adventures with the team were chronicled from his arrival in August 2019 to the Lightning’s Stanley Cup championship celebration.
His next step is “Freshman Orientation,” back with Southeastern Guide Dogs where he will undergo medical and temperament evaluations and eventually he will be placed with a family.
Southeastern Guide Dogs’ experts train guide dogs, service dogs and skilled companion dogs for people with visual impairments, veterans with disabilities and children with significant challenges such as vision loss or loss of a parent in the military.
“I want to see him make a difference,” Davis said, “like he has for us and for me, for someone’s life individually.”