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Man's Best Friend

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

By Kyle Shohara
Cogliano and Charlie do everything together, including beach outings, like this one in Tofino, British Columbia. (all photos courtesy of Cogliano)

Andrew Cogliano hasn't missed a day of work in his NHL career (his streak of 586 games – and counting – is currently the longest active Ironman streak in the league). He's as tough as they come, but off the ice, he’s like anyone else around these parts. The native of Toronto, Ontario is laid back and easygoing, a perfect blend that fits in with Orange County, the place he’s called home since being acquired from the Edmonton Oilers in July 2011.

And if you ever see him away from an NHL arena, it’s likely he’ll be accompanied by his best friend – a three-year-old chocolate lab named Charlie.

What’s it like being a dog owner?
I never had a dog growing up, never grew up with dogs. But my girlfriend, when I first met her, had a couple of them. I kind of just fell in love with animals, especially dogs. They’re pretty special, especially when you have one. You have a bond with it.

Tell us about your dog.
He’s three years old now and he’s a good dog. I’m addicted to- and obsessed with him. At the end of the day, he ends up being a part of your family, and ends up basically being your kid. He’s grown into that.

What is it about a human-canine relationship? Is it that unconditional love that they’re known for?
It has to be that. At the end of the day, they’re helpless. They depend on you for everything. It makes you feel good to have a dog and to give it a great life, which they deserve. They have personalities, so they’re kind of like people. As a guy who loves dogs, you just have that bond.

And no matter what kind of day you’ve had, to come home and see his face must lift your spirits.
If there is one guy who is happy to see you no matter if you have a good game or bad game, it’s him. Or if something isn’t right, they know. They have that sixth sense. That’s what they’re known for.

Being a professional athlete who spends just as much time on the road as at home, what kind of challenges do you encounter being a dog owner?
It’s tough, but I have a good system. When I don’t have people here taking care of him, like my girlfriend or my family, I have a doggy daycare that Charlie goes to. The guy’s name is Kevin and he has a company on Newport Peninsula called Newport Tails. He does a good job. Kevin likes him and he likes Kevin. Charlie ends up staying at his place for games. It makes it easy on me. I send him there in the morning and on game days I come back, leave his food out, he drops him off at five o’clock, and I see him after the game.

Where do you like to take your dog in your spare time?
I take him to the dog beach, either in Huntington or Newport, or I just take him to the park. Being a retriever, he loves fetch and it’s something he’s really good at.

Do you and your teammates organize doggy playdates?
I take him to play with Nate Thompson’s dogs, Diesel and Guinness, and Karl [Matt Beleskey’s famed Bulldog] is just around the corner. Jacks [Tim Jackman] has Bud. Sometimes the girlfriends and wives get together and go for hikes with the dogs. It’s good to have guys on the team with dogs.

You recently posted a photo of the two of you looking out onto the Honda Center ice. How did he enjoy that experience?
That was the first time he ever saw ice or anything that resembled snow. My girlfriend wanted to go for a skate with him. It was pretty fun.

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