TODAY Welcomes New ‘Puppy with a Purpose’


TODAY Teams Up with Nonprofit Organization, America’s VetDogs, to Help Raise Service Dog for Disabled Veteran

NEW YORK – August 22, 2016 –To follow the paw prints of Wrangler, NBC’s TODAY welcomed a new “puppy with a purpose” this morning.   The puppy, an 8-week old male black Labrador Retriever, is from America’s VetDogs, a Smithtown, NY-based nonprofit organization that provides trained service and guide dogs to veterans and first responders with disabilities. For 18 months, the TODAY show anchors and staff will be part of the organization’s “puppy raising team” to help the puppy become a service dog. 

With the guidance of an experienced dog handler, the TODAY team will help raise and train the puppy in Studio 1A during the show. At the end of 18 months, the puppy will continue its formal service dog training with a certified instructor from America’s VetDogs and will be matched with a disabled veteran.
 
“We are excited to enlist TODAY as part of our training team,” said VetDogs CEO Wells B. Jones. “The puppy will be exposed to an amazing variety of experiences that will allow him grow up to be comfortable and confident in just about every situation. When it’s time, that confidence will help a veteran conquer the challenges they face.”

To watch the welcome segment from this morning, visit TODAY.com.  For photos of the new puppy, visit LINK.  For more information on the puppy, visit TODAY.VetDogs.org.  
 
About TODAY
NBC’s TODAY is the news program that informs, entertains, inspires and sets the agenda each morning for Americans. Airing live from 7 am to 11 am ET, TODAY reaches more than 5 million people every day through its broadcast, and millions more through TODAY.com, the TODAY app, and social media platforms. Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Willie Geist, Tamron Hall, Carson Daly, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb are the anchors and hosts, and Don Nash is the executive producer.

About America's VetDogs

Since 2003, America’s VetDogs has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to veterans with disabilities from all eras. In 2015, VetDogs opened its programs to first responders, including fire, police, and emergency medical personnel.  America's VetDogs is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded by the Guide Dog Foundation. VetDogs relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to help those who have served our country live with dignity and independence. It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog, but America’s VetDogs provides its services completely free of charge to the individual.  

America’s VetDogs was the second assistance dog school in the United States to be certified by the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International. 

To learn more, visit www.VetDogs.org