ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Blues guaranteed that a core piece of the franchise will be sticking around for a long time, announcing on Wednesday that the team had signed Barclay, a very good boy, to a contract extension.
Following his graduation on Wednesday afternoon, Barclay will join the team full-time where he will serve as a Duo Dogs Ambassador, marking the first time a dog has joined a professional sports team in such a role. In his new paw-sition, Barclay will showcase the positive impact assistance dogs can make in the community while helping raise awareness for Duo Dogs, the St. Louis-based nonprofit organization that trains and connects facility, assistance and ambassador dogs.
"Barclay has always been treated like a member of the team - today we made it official," said Randy Girsch, vice president of community development and event management, and head treat dispenser. "We look forward to integrating him into our programs and utilizing his new skills to provide confidence and comfort to members of the St. Louis community. He represents the best of Duo Dogs and we are excited to continue amplifying their story."
Barclay joined the Blues in the fall of 2018 as part of Duo Dogs' puppy raising program. Members of the Blues' front office helped puppy-raise Barclay for the first 18 months of his life, working with Duo Dogs' trainers to teach basic obedience and socialization skills, along with providing unlimited tummy rubs. During this same time, the Blues went on their historic run from last place in the National Hockey League to winning the organization's first Stanley Cup. In recognition of his contribution, the Blues crowned Barclay the first-ever Stanley Pup Champion and he was gifted a custom Stanley Cup championship collar from Purina.
Video: Barclay returns to Blues
Barclay will serve in a variety of roles as an ambassador, including:
- Enterprise Center Calming Dog: Due to crowd size, noise or lights in a loud arena, children and adults with autism, military veterans and other fans can become anxious and often experience anxiety. As the Blues look to make Enterprise Center more inclusive for fans with sensory processing issues, Barclay will be in a safe and calm area where fans can visit to ease anxiety.
- Blues Bookworms Reading Program: Barclay will make visits to local grade schools as part of the team's initiative to encourage students to read more books.
- Hospital Visits: Like other dogs raised and trained by Duo Dogs, Barclay will join Blues players and Louie, the team mascot, on visits to local children's hospitals
- Community Education and Awareness: Through Barclay's community presence, he will bring focus to Duo's mission and teach the community more about the work of Duo's Assistance, Facility and Touch dogs.
"At Duo Dogs, we train and connect dogs to individuals with physical, emotional and social needs," said Stacy Maly-Rodgers, Duo's director of engagement. "As our first Ambassador, we know Barclay will help get the word out that the work we do matters and that it changes lives for the better. He feels at home with the Blues, and we know he'll do an incredible job in his new role."
The celebration of Barclay's new role with the Blues will continue this weekend during Barkin' for the Blues at Enterprise Center when the Blues take on the Ducks on Friday, March 26 and Sunday, Mach 28. Fans can purchase limited edition Barclay-themed autographed mystery pucks to benefit Duo by visiting stlauthentics.com.
About Duo Dogs, Inc.
Duo Dogs, Inc., is a national nonprofit organization that trains and connects dogs with people to cultivate positive change in individuals, families and communities. It takes nearly $39,000 to raise and train each dog raised by Duo. There is no charge to clients for the services offered by the organization. To learn more, visit duodogs.org.