Islanders Fans Votes Are In, The Third New York Islanders’ Puppy With a Purpose® Will Be Named “Monte”

New York Islanders partner with Guide Dog Foundation to raise and train Monte 

Smithtown, NY. – The Guide Dog Foundation, a New York based-non-profit that provides guide dogs to individuals who are blind or visually impaired, is thrilled to partner again with the New York Islanders in their “Puppy with a Purpose” program supported by Canidae. In celebration of the Foundation’s 75th anniversary, the Islanders will train future guide dog “Monte.”

Monte sitting in his jersey while on the practice rink.Monte, a 9-week-old, male black Labrador puppy, made his debut with the Islanders on October 11th during the team’s fifth annual ‘Pucks and Paws 2022’ calendar photoshoot. The calendar, benefitting the Guide Dog Foundation and supported by Canidae, will go on sale in time for “Black Friday” shopping.  Calendars will be available for purchase online via the Islanders website and at home games. 
Monte, a black Labrador, will undergo basic training and socialization with the Islanders’ staff, fans and public for the next 14-16 months. The Islanders will host Monte at community events and select home games to assist in raising him to be a confident and calm future guide dog. Fans can follow Monte on Instagram at @NYIslesPup to stay up to date on his training and local appearances. 

Following his puppy raising, Monte will return to the Guide Dog Foundation campus in Smithtown, NY to begin his formal guide dog training. Concluding his training, Monte will be matched at no cost with an individual who is blind or visually impaired. 

"It’s an absolute pleasure to partner again with our friends at the New York Islanders to help celebrate the Guide Dog Foundation’s 75th anniversary," John Miller, President and CEO, Guide Dog Foundation said. "What’s better than to be here in our hometown on Long Island to continue this partnership for the third time with the New York Islanders? The partnership is outstanding. Ownership, coaches, the team, and fans, all have embraced the program and we couldn't be any happier to continue this life changing program with the team."

Monte is the third dog the Islanders has partnered with the Smithtown based organization to raise and train. In June, the Islanders and America's VetDogs, sister organization to the Guide Dog Foundation, placed service dog in training Tori with retired U.S. Navy Veteran and FDNY Lieutenant Chris Roberto. The Islanders first dog Radar was successfully placed as a guide dog in August 2020 with gold medalist Paralympian swimmer and Long Island native Anastasia Pagonis. 

It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog; however, all of the VetDogs’ services are provided at no charge to the individual.  Funding comes from the generosity of individuals, corporations, and service and fraternal clubs.

For 75 years, the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc. (, has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to people who are blind, have low vision, or have other special needs. The Guide Dog Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization serving clients from across the United States and Canada. The Foundation relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to serve people with disabilities. It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog, but the Guide Dog Foundation provides its services completely free of charge to the individual.  Its sister organization, America’s VetDogs, trains and provides guide, service, and hearing dogs for disabled veterans and first responders. The Guide Dog Foundation was the first assistance dog school in the United States to be accredited by both the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.

Captain Anders Lee holding the new guide pup.Hello Islanders fans!  I'm Monte, the new NY Islanders guide dog puppy.

I’m so excited to be the third pup to be drafted by the Islanders.  I know we'll become best friends as you'll be seeing a lot of me at UBS Arena as I spend the next 16 months with you and the team.  I’ll be learning a lot so I can become a guide dog, and one day be paired with someone who is blind or has low vision.  I'm looking forward to hangin' with the team at practices, home games, and other special team events.  I've already made a great friend with the team and especially captain Anders. Later skater.

 August 16, 2021

This little black male Labrador Retriever loves to hang with the boys at practice, is very curious, and has eyes that will melt your heart.

Lisa holding Monte the tiny black lab pup.Meet Lisa Rossano

When not volunteering her time with America’s VetDogs and the Guide Dog Foundation, Monte's puppy raiser Lisa Rossano, keeps busy with her two sons, and husband of 34 years Ernie.

Lisa started volunteering at the Guide Dog Foundation 15 years ago when her boys were volunteering their time running and playing with the dogs in the kennel on weekends.  Prior to taking on this experience, Lisa volunteered in the nursey socializing new born puppies, is a member of the speaker’s bureau and adoption team, and is an Area Coordinator for Long Island puppy raisers. 

The first dog Lisa and her family raised was Toby, that experience has since led the family to raise 10 dogs, with Monte making it 11! Six of their dogs have been placed with Veterans and or visually impaired clients. Lisa and her family currently have four dogs at home; Guide Dog breeder Mikey, two released dogs, Bliss and Olympia, and of course little Tori.

“I think raising the Islander puppy with a purpose for the Guide Dog Foundation is going to be my best adventure and a great privilege and honor."