Heather Kelly sent me these photos of adorable Labrador Retriever puppies who are on a mission. These cuties are on their way to becoming more than a best friend and companion for life; they are part of a training program to become service dogs for people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or other psychiatric conditions.
From Heather: “These puppies are from The Exceptional Partner Service Dogs. They are going to be trained to be psychiatric service dogs. Four of them are siblings and are seven weeks in these photos; one black lab was just over eight weeks.”
Looking at these sweet puppies and knowing what a big task ahead of them they have, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the dogs as well as their trainers.
Puppies need a lot of training to become service dogs. Please do not interrupt a training session, no matter how adorable a puppy might be.
Even more important than training is when service dogs are working (anytime you see a dog with a service vest on, it is working!), please respect them and their handlers. Service dog, Carma Poodale, offers a small glimpse into some of her least favorite interactions with the general public: 11 Things Not To Say When You See a Service Dog.
If you can get to Newtown, Connecticut, on May 1, there is a Kiss the Puppies Event! (Please send me photos of it!) If you can’t get there, the next best thing will be to watch the puppies grow up by following them on Facebook.
Visit Heather Kelly’s Instagram for a little behind-the-scenes video of these cuties.
This is just a reminder that all kinds of adult dogs, including small breeds and mixed breeds, can make fantastic service dogs. If you need a service dog, your companion dog may be suitable to become a service dog as well.
About Heather Kelly Photography: Based in Newtown, Connecticut, Heather specializes in maternity and newborn photography.