Guide Dog Foundation: Meet Shea
How old is Shea and what is a brief background/story about him?
Shea is a five-month-old Yellow Labrador Retriever in-training to become a service dog for a veteran or first responder with disabilities. Shea is the Puppy With a Purpose with the New York Mets and is being sponsored by the team’s philanthropic arm, The Amazin’ Mets Foundation.
Shea and his volunteer puppy raisers, Tom and Deb Rubing, attend games, events and experience other unique environments with the team as a part of his training that will mold him into a confident service dog.
What type of work does Shea do and what makes him special?
Shea is in-training to become a service dog for a veteran or first responder with disabilities. America’s VetDogs dogs learn a variety of skills that are tailored to the need of the individual. These skills include nightmare interruption, retrieve dropped items, provide balance, open and close doors, turn on and off lights and much more. From eight-weeks-old to two-years-old, these dogs are training to provide continuous support for their veteran or first responder.
Can you explain (and possibly link) the pup’s opportunity of being the Puppy with a Purpose with the sports team or organization?
The New York Mets and the Amazin’ Mets Foundation are heavily involved with Veteran organizations nationally and in their local communities. The Mets organization is sponsoring Shea’s journey in some of the most creative ways through the pup’s dedicated social media accounts. You can follow Shea ( @MetsVetDog) on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to keep up-to-date with his training and for some ADORABLE content.
What are some of Shea's favorite things to do/eat/etc.?
Shea loves to hang out with the Mets players and fans at Citi Field. The fans will follow Shea’s social media accounts to see when he will be at the ballpark so that they can grab a selfie with the handsome pup. The players love when Shea visits with them before a game during batting practice – some might say Shea is a good luck charm.
How will the Big Barker be used in Shea’s training and life?
The Big Barker dog bed serves as a unique training tool for Shea. Shea will be taught the cue “place” where he will learn to target a specific bed as his ‘place’ to go to when the command is given.
This skill is so important because it is serves as a way his future handler can give him a cue go to his bed, if for example, someone comes to the door, the handler is opening an oven, etc. It is a safe space where the client knows the dog is out of the day of any potential danger. Not to mention the bed will also provide Shea a snuggly place to go and support is bone and joint health.
If Shea could tell the world one thing, what do you believe it would be?
Shea would tell the world to enjoy life! In Shea’s five short months, he has experienced train rides, trips to NYC, visited a professional baseball field, met countless new friends, and learned so many new skills along the way.
Shea’s puppy raisers make sure that Shea experiences a variety of different things in his time with them to ensure he will be ready to take on anything when he is placed with his Veteran or First Responder.