Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Puppy Hugging

SSD Julia, Harriet, Clara, Chamberlain, Meade, Yahtzee, Rummy and Atari are in the middle of a week full of puppy hugging!

Puppy hugging is one of our favorite activities, and not just because of the cute puppies. We enjoy it because we get to meet a lot of people from the community. We were very happy to have some potential puppy raisers and sitter visit the puppies, as well as an entire troop of Girl Scouts!

Even though these puppies are only eight and nine weeks old, they are already bringing people together. And that is ultimately what they will do - bring people from the community together. When they join their puppy raisers and go out in public, these dogs will spark conversations between strangers. Whether it's in the grocery store, at a sporting event, or on a walk through the park, people often pause and ask questions about the dogs - which we think is wonderful!

And once a service dog is placed with their partner, the dog will not only assist them in daily tasks, but will also act as a link to the community. Many people who have received service dogs from us have told us that their service dog has opened the door to conversations with people in the community - conversations that may not have happened before they received their service dog.

That is why we train service dogs. We may train them to literally open doors, but it is our goal that the dogs will open other doors to inclusion and participation in the community.

We hope you enjoy our videos of the puppies as they begin their important journey to become service dogs.

SSD Julia learns that if she looks at her puppy hugger, she'll get a click and a treat.

SSD Meade trots over to his puppy hugger when he's called. He knows he'll get a treat!

The puppies spent some time exploring the field at the kennel. Playtime and walks in the woods or parks is important for puppies because it stimulates their minds and increases their capacity to learn.

In this video, SSD Chamberlain plays in the field. He seems to very focused on exploring, but watch what he does once he realizes he's on camera!

SSD Atari trots through the field with confidence!

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