Videos by OutKick
Old Dominion football will travel to Virginia this weekend without its unofficial mascot. The Cavaliers are denying the Monarchs from having an adorable puppy on their sideline for seemingly no reason at all.
Earlier this year, ODU head coach Ricky Rahne and his family signed up for ‘Mutts with a Mission.’ The two-year program places puppies at a caregiver’s home for 18 months before returning them back to the organization for six months. It trains them as service dogs before permanently placing the dogs with disabled veterans, first responders and law enforcement for no cost to the recipient.
Rahne and his family are caregivers for Hudson, a young yellow lab puppy, for the next 18 months. In turn, to some extent, as is the football program.
The team has embraced their new furry friend and call him “Little Huddy.” He has been in the weight room, in team meetings, and even on the sideline during games throughout the first months of the season.
ODU traveled to East Carolina last weekend and Hudson was a big hit.
But Virginia will not allow the joy to continue.
Hudson, even though he is certified by the highest standard for service dogs, is still in training. The Cavaliers have a strict policy in place that does not allow service animals in training on their sideline.
It is unclear as to why the rule exists, but it does.
Old Dominion, as of right now, cannot bring Hudson to its football game this weekend.
“Virginia football has told my team at Muttswa Mission that we will NOT be allowed on the field even though we are accredited with Assistance Dogs International (the highest standard),” Hudson’s twitter account tweeted earlier this week. “They are intimidated by my presence on the field.”
This decision comes without a legitimate reason. Especially considering how well-behaved that Hudson has been on the sideline during the first two games. Hudson has even been on-board the USS George H.W. Bush and USS Gerald R. Ford without issue.
The Monarchs understand the rule that is in place. However, they believe that it could very easily be changed ahead of the upcoming road game and that seems pretty logical.
They, in turn, have challenged the Hoos to do so.
To make things even more confusing, Virginia has a pretty clear double-standard when it comes to animals. It does not allow service animals in training on the sideline, but it allows horses to run across the field. Hudson and Old Dominion pointed out the hypocrisy, which you simply love to see.
It is very possible that Virginia could try to be the hero and chose to amend its rule for Hudson at the last minute. However, it has held firm to its illogical rule thus far this week, so it may force Old Dominion to leave Hudson at home. That sure would be a shame. #FreeHudson