Wednesday morning, news surfaced via the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation that one of the stars of the Capitals canine calendar, Piccolo, was adopted by two Caps fans through Homeward Trails Animal Rescue.
In late October, Piccolo, a stunning white Pitt Bull mix with brown spots, posed for a photo with Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov. But months earlier, Piccolo, hungry and sick, was abandoned by his owners in Texas as Hurricane Harvey struck. Picked up by a Florida rescue searching for deserted animals, Piccolo would have to survive another hurricane before arriving in the Washington DC area and finding his forever home.
“Piccolo was a Florida rescue after Hurricane Harvey,” Lewis Shattan, the dog’s new father, said in an interview. “They’re not sure how long he was abandoned, but he was picked up by a shelter in pretty rough shape. He was very underfed, and had heart worms, hook worms, and intestinal worms.”
Weeks later, Piccolo, a little over one-year-old, would have to be saved again.
“Piccolo was rescued from Hurricane Irma in partnership with Best Friends Animal Society,” Homeward Trail’s Jenn Lafrican said in an email. “Best Friends Animal Society went down to Florida and pulled dogs out of the shelters right as the hurricane hit. They saved those dogs from euthanasia as the shelters had to open up and take in a large number of stray animals who had been displaced in Florida.”
Homeward Trails, a non-profit organization that provides pet adoption in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, finds homes for the dogs and cats who need help the most: from high-kill animal shelters or whose owners could no longer care for them. Piccolo, who they took in, was in desperate need of care.
“When he arrived, Piccolo was treated for his intestinal and heart worms,” Lewis said. “The treatment for heart worms is rough and involves 30 days of crate rest. For a young 50-pound puppy, that was not easy. If his heart got too active during that 30-day window, he could have died.”
Piccolo was first taken in by a foster mother who works with Homeward Trails and began his slow rehabilitation back to full health. During that time, the foster mother brought Piccolo to Kettler Capitals Iceplex to be a part of the team’s calendar shoot.
Photo: Cara Bahniuk
Around that time, Lewis Shattan of Purcellville, Virginia, was celebrating his wife’s birthday and had a perfect gift.
“We just moved into our first home together in August, and while we were renting it just didn’t make sense to have a dog,” Lewis said. “Now that we have a home and a yard, it finally made sense.
“We came to the shelter that day to get another dog I saw online, but as we were walking up the steps to the adoption center my wife saw Piccolo. It was love at first sight.”
As the pair filled out adoption paperwork and getting a crash-course on becoming first-time dog owners, one of the workers at Homeward Trails mentioned that Piccolo participated in the Capitals photo shoot.
“Up until this point, we had already signed the paperwork, paid for a collar. No one mentioned Piccolo had taken pictures with the Caps, our favorite team,” Lewis said. “They showed me a photo on a phone, and when I saw it was him and Kuzy – Caroline and I just lost it. Kuzy is her favorite player. We knew it was fate once we saw that.”
Piccolo has continued to perk up since being taken in by Lewis and Caroline and he appears to be in love.
“We are now in the training phase of this 50-pound love hound, who at times is absolutely puppy crazy,” Lewis said. “But what we’ve found he likes the most is to lay on top of us, lick our faces, and sleep next to us at all times.
“He’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to us,” Lewis concluded.
Headline photo: Virgil Ocampo Photography
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