As if we didn’t all love Disneyland already, adding service dogs to the mix clinches it. Volunteers from the nonprofit Canine Companions for Independence trained some of their service dogs at Disneyland. The organization, which operates largely with volunteers, brings its dogs to places like Disney for exposure and, of course, maximum cuteness. Check out the most adorable dogs you ever saw.
Of course they wore their Mickey ears
“Disneyland is the perfect place to socialize our puppies to crowds, loud noises, different sights and smells, and different kinds of people,” Kendra Clark, who helped organize the trip, told The Dodo. The volunteer said that the dogs loved walking around the park wearing their Disney-themed finest. “They posed in photos with their Mickey ears and ate up all the attention they drew from the crowds.”
Disney dogs, meet service dogs
“Seeing how happy they got when they met the characters sure was a treat!” Clark added. “The characters were almost as excited as the dogs were to say hello!” While all of the characters loved seeing the dogs, Disney dogs and the real thing got along famously. After taking a spin on the teacup ride and meeting Chip and Dale and Winnie the Pooh, the puppies got to hang out with Pluto. Volunteers said he got the best reaction out of the dogs.
The busy park teaches the dogs valuable skills
Volunteer Laura Allen also said that the trip afforded the dogs some great benefits. “It’s great socialization for the dogs since they get to be around all the different sights, sounds, smells and people that Disneyland has to offer,” she told Fox News of the “business trip.”
Allen has worked for Canine Companions for years, raising 11 puppies. Volunteers generally live with the puppies for about a year and a half before they head to a professional training school to continue their canine education. She always takes them to Disneyland but said they have never gotten national attention, until now.
Dog-lovers had the best Disneyland day ever
Nicole Brown did not expect her day at Disneyland to include adorable puppers, but they made her day even better. “I have always been a dog person, specifically Labs and golden retrievers. But to see them at Disneyland with Mickey Mouse ears was the cutest thing,” Brown told The Dodo. “You could tell they were so happy to be there. They were loving all of the attention they were getting from both tourists and the Disney characters.”
Canine Companions has trained dogs since 1975
The nonprofit Canine Companions for Independence provides dogs to adult, children, and veterans who need assistance. The organization trains dogs to become service, hearing, facility, and skilled companion dogs.
Service dogs help those with physical disabilities perform daily tasks, while hearing dogs alert their deaf or hard-of-hearing owners to important sounds. Facility dogs work with clients who have special needs in visitation, medical, and education, and criminal justice facilities. And skilled companion dogs help people with cognitive or developmental disabilities.
Volunteers and professional trainers work to prepare the dogs
Canine Companions breeds Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, and a cross of the two. Next, volunteers raise the puppies for 14-18 months, where they learn basic obedience training and socialization in situations like the service dogs at Disneyland trip. After that, professional Canine Companions instructors teach the dogs more than 40 commands over the course of six to nine months. Once they graduate from training, they can also go through Team Training and match with adults, children, veterans, or professionals with clients. That’s where the real journey begins.
People with disabilities receive the dogs for free
When the puppies finish their training, they go to people with disabilities, like Nancy Sawhney, 72. Sawhney has used a wheelchair for 30 years. She has also had four service dogs. Her current dog can pick up anything she drops, pull her wheelchair, and even turn lights on and off.
“Life is so much more fulfilled with a dog like this by my side,” said Sawhney. Sounds like the service dogs at Disneyland marks just the beginning of a beautiful life for these lucky pups.
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