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{centerstage} by TMonica Schmidt – Houston Humane Society Texas: the new state of hockey M innesota may be the self proclaimed “State of Hockey”, but down here in Texas we are getting a little taste of what our neighbors to the north have been enjoying for years. The Houston Aeros are the AHL affiliate for the Minnesota Wild, and each season they continue to make new hockey fans out of local Houstonians. In a town notorious for sub-par professional sports teams, the Aeros have been a refreshing change. Winning championships in 1999, 2003, and reaching the Calder Cup finals last season after winning the Western Conference Championship, the Aeros have given fans plenty of reasons to cheer. And they have big plans to continue to bring championships home to Houston. Sonya Sellers Photography & d gs cats Texas 12 dogs may not know the guys are big time hockey players, but they definitely love the extra attention. To mix things up this season, Houston Humane Society was invited to Sugarland Ice to watch an official Aeros practice. Seven HHS dogs took in the fast paced practice, and were lucky enough to be invited out on the ice afterwards. Not quite sure what to expect, the staff and players alike were surprised at how much the pups enjoyed their field trip. Five players and seven dogs spent the afternoon horsing around the ice together. Casey Wellman, Jeff Taffe, Kris Fredheim, Jarod Palmer, and Jon DiSalvatore played host to Shogun (German Shepherd), Jingles (Spaniel mix), Chad (Cockapoo), Rico (Poodle/Schnauzer mix), Maya (Husky mix), and Chaquita and Papita (long haired toy Chihuahuas). More than a few hearts were broken when it was time for the dogs to head back to the shelter. Although the pups won’t be making a hockey squad anytime soon, they certainly enjoyed their afternoon on the ice with a few big hearted athletes. The photoshoot and doggy field trip were planned in preparation for the upcoming Chilly’s Pet Pals event scheduled for Sunday, November 20th at the Toyota Center. Plan to enjoy a hockey game with your favorite four legged friend (of the canine variety), and a portion of the ticket sales will benefit Houston Humane Society. Call 713-361-7924 or visit www.aeros/ for human and canine ticketing information. Check out for more information or to see photos of local animals that need a forever home. left: Kris fredheim in red, Jarod palmer in white The Houston Aeros don’t just dominate on the ice; they also spend time, effort, and even money giving back to local community charities off the ice. In honor of their mascot Chilly, a German Shepherd, the Aeros have teamed up with Houston Humane Society to raise money and help some of Chilly’s canine counterparts find forever homes. Chilly’s Pet Pals, an annual event beginning in the 2008-2009 season, has helped raise thousands of dollars and find homes for many deserving dogs. Now in its fourth season, this event continues to appeal to dog lovers and hockey fans alike. Each season, a group of players visit Houston Humane Society to spend the day playing with homeless pets waiting for adoption. The {November 2011} 13

Texas Dogs & Cats Houston November 2011

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