Hockey-loving dog pitches in to shovel the rink

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Most people train their dog to sit, shake a paw, or roll over. And professional dogs are capable of much more: dragging sleds, sniffing out concealed drugs, or even rescuing trapped people.

Greg Cox found a novel role for his yellow lab Elsa by putting her to work clearing his backyard hockey rink. Cox enjoys playing some shinny every winter, and Elsa is on hand to help, pushing a shovel across the ice to clear the skating surface.

Labradors were originally valued as hunting and fishing dogs, so they are naturally intelligent, and keen to serve a purpose. No doubt Elsa would be pleased if she could read about the warm response she received on Twitter when Cox posted a YouTube video of her efforts with the caption, “So my Lab is ready for some hockey, are you @Buccigross @NHL ??” The comment was aimed at ESPN anchor John Buccigross, who sent a reply calling the video “beautiful.”

Backyard hockey is a staple of North American winter culture, and it’s inspiring to see people eager to put the frigid sub-zero temperatures to good use. A little sunshine and exercise is one of the best cures for the common affliction of Seasonal Affective Disorder that touches all of us, and can put a damper on winter.

Now, if only Cox could figure out how to train Elsa to shovel driveways, he’d be living the northern dream.