ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) The Rail Yard Dawgs mascot may be Diesel, but Ox? He’s the real deal.
“Ox is, he’s my 4.5 almost 5 year old pit bull. He comes to the rink with me almost every day. He’s our little mascot,” said equipment manager of the Rail Yard Dawgs, Gavin Bechtol. “He runs around, hangs out with the boys, loves to try to sneak out onto the ice if he can, but for the most part he’s just our buddy that we have in the rink for team morale boosting.”
These Dawgs actually love dogs! The team is very animal friendly, and this past season, they’ve made some space in their locker room for their own pups.
“I think they honestly in the organization, I think they’d rather see Ox most of the time than see me,” Bechtol said.
And one of the players actually just adopted an eight-month-old Shepard mix after seeing the other guys with pets.
“Once I saw him, it was a done deal. I couldn’t leave without him,” John Gustafsson said.
Gustafsson says he got Milo from Angels of Assis a little more than a month ago, and he’s already buddies with the other dogs.
The general manager, Mickey Gray, says he may have started this new trend.
“I was probably the first one who probably started bringing my dog in….The GM of the building is a very animal friendly person. So she said any and all times all dogs are welcome. So we've taken her up on that,” Gray said.
And they’ll continue to. These dogs aren’t going anywhere.
“We love the animals here,” Gray said.
Coming up on March 30th, they’ll have a special game night for animal lovers, called Paws and Pucks night. $5 from each package will be donated to the Roanoke Valley SPCA, and dog lovers will be seated in a designated section of the arena so they can bring their pups to the game.