World, meet Dianne. She’s a senior rescue dog who’s become a fixture on the MacEwan Griffins women’s soccer team over the last two seasons.
“Dianne is our secret weapon,” veteran fullback Hannah Supina said.
“She’s our best friend. She gives us a boost every day when she comes to practice. We love her.”
Far from being underdogs, the Griffins are leading the pack this season. They’re 6-0 heading into the weekend.
Dianne was adopted by alumnus-turned-assistant coach Jenny Lam two years ago and she immediately started attending practices.
“She’s just been like a natural therapy dog. Best dog in the world, honestly. And I’ve done nothing to make her this way. She came to me this way,” Lam said.
Dianne joins the team huddles, the stretching circles, the warmups and even comforts injured players.
“You could be having an off day and you see Dianne around and it just puts a smile on everybody’s face,” said head coach Dean Cordeiro.
For the student athletes, the 10-year-old dog also provides a well-deserved break.
“It’s such a busy thing to balance school and soccer, so to come to train — and even to have just a five-second break with Dianne — to just pet her and hangout is a mental stress relief,” Supina said.
In 2021, the Griffins won the national championship and the team has ambitions of claiming that title again this season.
“To be six-and-0 and top of the table is definitely what we were hoping for and we’re glad we got off to a quick start,” Cordeiro said.
“We’ve got a veteran, savvy group and these last few years, we’ve had a ton of success. Very motivated squad this year.”
The team has two big games this weekend versus Mount Royal University and the University of Victoria — both at Clarke Stadium.
Win or lose, they know their number-one supporter will be waiting on the sidelines, cheering them on with a big smile on her face.
“After practice, she’ll zoom around the whole field and get all her energy out,” Supina said.
“It’s the best way to end training.”
Lam hopes Dianne inspires others to rescue.
“They’re the most lovely, sweet, grateful dogs you can get because they’ve come from some sort of hardship and they just want to loved. I highly recommend adopting a dog and rescuing a dog.”
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