Ice skating dog takes center ice in Central Park – KIRO 7 News Seattle
NEW YORK — New York ice skaters had to share the rink with a four-legged professional.
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Benny the ice skating dog made his first appearance on ice in the Big Apple this week.
He is an 8-year-old Labrador Retriever who was rescued from a kill shelter in Utah.
Benny was rescued the last day before his euthanasia.
“When I contacted the shelter, I found out it was their last day,” Cheryl DelSangro told WPIX. “He was going to be put down the next day so I made arrangements and they took him out and I had him sent to Las Vegas and adopted him.
DelSangro is a retired professional figure skater, so she taught Benny how to skate with custom skates.
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“He’ll just run on the ice whenever he wants and skate around me and chase me and so he really likes that,” owner DelSangro told WABC.
Now Benny is a dog on a mission, raising money for charities and helping children with autism.
His coach, Rick Vierkandt, told WABC that Benny is rewarded with the smiles he receives from those who watch him glide around an ice rink.
Vierkandt, according to the American Kennel Club, was a professional wildlife photographer who was working on a cheering video for the Las Vegas Golden Knights in 2018. He asked DelSangro to add Benny to the clip, the AKC said. He had also used Benny for modeling before the video.
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Over the years Benny got better at navigating the ice.
“He no longer goes back and forth with his skates but pushes sideways,” DelSangro told the AKC. “Also, he taught himself to stop, with a reverse plow motion. He also learned to skate backwards for a short distance. To a large extent he is self-taught.
This week he was skating to help shine a light on good dog eye health.
It was sponsored by Animal Necessity, makers of a vision supplement for dogs, and all donations made from purchasing the supplement when Benny appeared were matched with a donation to the Vision for Animals Foundation .
Benny was honored by the AKC for the work he does, being one of five dogs selected by the AKC for its 2021 Canine Excellence Awards, winning the Exemplary Companion category. The award is given to dogs that have no formal training or certification but “have made a significant contribution to their owners or their communities”.
You can follow Benny on Instagram.
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