become service dogsePuppy videos are one of the Internet’s redeeming graces. Sometimes the whole Web feels like it’s just there to put all of humanity’s worst qualities on display and magnify them. Fortunately, when the naked abusiveness, misogyny, and racism of something like say, GamerGate, just gets so overwhelming that you start to despair for the entire human race, there’s lots of adorable puppy videos available to give you a little touch of sanity.
Even more adorable than puppy videos are live puppy webcams, and now there’s a very special one available. Warrior Canine Connection, an organization that trains therapy dogs for veterans, has made its latest litter into media stars with a live puppy cam that shows the pups in their home quarters.
The Gratitude Litter is made up of nine Labrador Retriever pups who are being trained to serve disabled veterans. According to USA Today, at least one pup has already started full-time work. Tammy, a black Lab named after Illinois Representative Tammy Duckworth, who herself lost both legs in Iraq, has started making regular visits to Walter Reed Medical Center as part of her training. Working with dogs like Tammy helps veterans suffering from PTSD to re-learn social skills. “It’s not just that they hang out and are petted. We teach the service members how to train these dogs,” Jamie Williams, WCC’s director of communications told USA Today.
After about two years of training, each dog will be placed in a home with a disabled veteran. What you’ll see on the cam doesn’t look that extraordinary at first glance; the Gratitude Litter looks like any other bunch of pups sleeping, eating, playing with each other, and snuggling up to get petted. The petting is actually an important part of their training, though. It helps socialize the pups and prepare them to build strong bonds with human beings, an essential part of the groundwork to become service dogs.
Service dogs are strangely under-appreciated, despite the importance of their jobs. There’s an appalling number of people who think of them as just an easy scam to take their own dogs where they wouldn’t otherwise be allowed. Scores of business owners seem to be unclear on the rights of people with service dogs, and kick them out as they would any other pet. Last year, a lawsuit was filed against Uber for discriminating against people who tried to get rides with service dogs. No matter how much work they do, it seems a struggle to get them the respect they deserve. So, check out WCC’s puppycam. Not only is it adorable, but it offers a great glimpse into how these dogs begin to go from heartbreakingly cute dogs to important helpers for the disabled.
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