Working the Field with Striking 'The Wonderdog'

Las Cruces, NM - Training a dog isn't easy. It requires some serious patience. Getting dog to retrieve a kicking tee in front of 20,000 screaming fans, that's a whole different playing field.


"He is trained to do retrieves so the only thing we had to switch up was getting him to get the kicking tee, which is an odd shape for him to go after," said Steve Stochaj, Striking's owner.


Just like the football team at New Mexico State, practice makes perfect.


"We practice every week before home games," said Stochaj. "I don't want anything to go wrong."


Striking 'The Wonderdog' joined Stochaj's family when the Border Collie was just a year old. Now, eight years later, he's a member of the Aggies football family.


"We are part of the gameday experience. He loves coming to the games. He walks down there and he acts like he owns the place," said Stochaj.


NMSU junior kicker Parker Davidson was impressed the first time he saw Striking retrieve the kicking tee, except for the surprise Striking leaves behind.


"He comes back with a little bit of slobber, but it doesn't really matter to me," said Davidson.


Striking has a pretty important job on gamedays at Aggie Memorial Stadium, but it's just a hobby for him. His day job is as a search and rescue dog for Mesilla Valley Search and Rescue.


"He does two types of search and rescue," said Stochaj. "He does air scenting. If a hiker or hunter is missing, he goes out and smells the air and brings us to them. He also does human remains detection. He really enjoys the search and rescue, but football is a close second."


NMSU hopes to see a lot of Striking on Saturday, which would mean the Aggies are putting up a bunch of points on South Alabama, with bowl eligibility on the line.

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