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The votes are in, here's the name of FOX61's NEADS service puppy

From here, it's off to 18 months with a volunteer puppy raiser, all with an eye on a future helping others.

HARTFORD, Conn. — NEADS service puppy Mystic graduated from puppy preschool this week and she was dressed to impress with a little pink bow. FOX61 and parent company TEGNA will be sponsoring her as she continues her training.

“A touch of pink is definitely adorable, that bow is definitely the size of her head,” said trainer Megan Krop.

At about seven weeks old, this pint-pup finished NEADS World Class Service Dogs program at the top of her class!

“She is definitely a spunky puppy, very energetic, she likes to play hard and sleep hard,” said Kropf.

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Mystic spent weeks learning alongside her 11 brothers and sisters. Kropf and fellow trainer Kate Albertini said there’s a lot that made the black lab stand out.

“She had really great recovery from new and unexpected things,” said Albertini.

In her final skills assessment at the non-profit, she also proved to be very responsive and eager to please.

"She was really engaging with the handler, wanted to work with a handler, I was excited to see the handler," said Albertini. 

Confidence is also crucial quality for a service dog in training and Albertini said Mystic’s swagger says it all. 

“When she is walking around with you, she is hopping around, very excited to be working And out playing, and she also engages with her siblings and really fun ways too,” she said.

RELATED: Community gets involved in naming NEADS service dog

She’s the perfect package, worthy of the top dog distinction according to NEADS.

“She has worked really hard in the nursery and I am confident that she will be able to use those experiences When she goes into training too,” said Kropf.

Her name was voted on by more than 1,800 FOX61 viewers, some of whom sent in videos to cheer for their top pick. 

Mystic won with a total of 854 votes, Bradley got 521 votes, and Windsor got 453 votes.

RELATED: Meeting Special NEADS: Puppy preschool for future service dogs

The FOX61 family and parent company Tegna will be following her progress and rooting for her success. The Tegna Foundation is presenting NEADS with a $5,000 Making a Difference donation to help with the journey ahead. 

“She is still really small and she doesn’t quite fit into her Cape, But she is going to grow into it,” said Kropf. 

From here, it's off to 18 months with a volunteer puppy raiser, all with an eye on a future helping others.

“Puppies are obviously really cute, but the reason why we are doing all of this is to be able to fulfill our mission of changing lives through our highly skilled, world-class service dogs, said Albertini.

Keith McGilvery is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at kmcgilvery@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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