Stars forward Andrew Cogliano is a long-time supporter of pets, with his foundation "Cogs for Dogs" one of the most popular team charities when he was a member of the Anaheim Ducks.
Cogliano was recently honored for playing in his 1,000th regular season game, and of course he had to have his brown lab, Charlie, on the ice for the celebration. So how did Cogliano get so involved with dogs? Let's ask in the latest edition of On The Fly:
How did your love of dogs start? Did you have dogs as a child?
No, actually, my wife's family had two dogs and that's really where I was first introduced to it. I always liked dogs, but I had not been with them on a regular basis. So when I started spending time with Allie and her parents, they had two Labs, and I just loved being around them. Then, we got Charlie eight years ago, and now he's a member of our family.
What has it been like having Charlie?
I can't really even say it all. He's someone who helps with stress during the hockey season, he just makes life better. I honestly, I would have never imagined how much joy he can bring, but he definitely has. I think animals do that.
You said "someone" -- do you feel like he's a human? Is he someone you can talk to or relate to?
Yeah, he is. I think everyone is different and everyone has their own perspective or their own relationship, but for me he's part of our family. He's on equal level to a human being in my eyes. I think that's important. I think that's the way they should be treated. With the love they show you, and how selfless they are, we're really lucky to have them.
How has he been with your daughter, Lottie?
Amazing. He's been so good and so gentle. She can do anything to him, and he just stays calm. They love each other.
What was the decision to bring him onto the ice for the pre-game ceremony when you were honored for your 1,000th game?
Both Allie and I wanted him there. He's been a part of our family for eight years and been through a lot of the travels and he earned his spot. He deserved to be there.
Video: CHI@DAL: Stars honor Cogliano for 1,000 NHL games
You started a program in Anaheim with OC Animal Care called, "Cogs for Dogs," and that became very successful. How did that begin?
I think every team wants you to be involved in a charity, and I think you should be passionate about your charity, and I have always been very passionate about animals, especially dogs. I think it's important to try to make a difference in an area where you do have passion, so I'm proud of being involved with this. Anyone who has an animal, you can see and feel the love and compassion they give to people, to families. They make things better, and they need to be taken care of, so anything we can do to help is important.
Have you been to shelters? Has that affected you?
We did one with the OC Animal Shelter, and when you are there, it does put things in perspective. Not all dogs, or any animal, are fortunate enough to have a family to take care of them or to have the life that I think they deserve. You hit reality pretty hard when you're at those places, and it makes you want to help even more.
Don't miss your chance to see the Stars battle the Edmonton Oilers when they return home to American Airlines Center on Tuesday, March 3. The first 5,000 fans receive a limited-edition poster presented by Dr Pepper. Get your tickets now!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika, and listen to his podcast.