‘TODAY’ AND OTHER NBC STATIONS WELCOME NEW ‘PUPPIES WITH A PURPOSE’

TODAY and other NBC Stations Team Up With Guide Dog Foundation and America's VetDogs to Help Raise and Train Guide and Service Dogs

The TODAY cast each holding a pup.NEW YORK – February 26, 2018
– NBC’s TODAY welcomed its next “puppy with a purpose” this morning to follow in the paw prints of service dog Charlie, who was partnered with retired Air Force Staff Sergeant Stacy Pearsall. The new puppy, an 8-week old male, yellow Labrador Retriever, is from the Guide Dog Foundation, a Long Island, NY-based nonprofit organization and sister organization to America’s VetDogs. The Guide Dog Foundation provides trained guide dogs to those who are blind or visually impaired. For the next 16 months, the TODAY show anchors and staff will be part of the organization’s “puppy raising team” to help the puppy become a guide dog for someone who is blind or visually impaired. 

Guide dog mobility instructor Olivia Poff and the TODAY team will once again raise and train the puppy in Studio 1A during the show. At the end of 16 months, the puppy will continue its formal guide dog training and will be matched with someone who is blind or visually impaired.

To spread even more puppy love to NBC viewers, TODAY, the Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs have partnered with local NBC stations in Boston (WBTS-LD), Baltimore (WBAL-TV), Atlanta (WXIA-TV), and Los Angeles (KNBC-TV) for their very own “puppy with a purpose” future guide or service dog. WBTS-LD, KNBC-TV and WBAL-TV will be raising a future service dog for a disabled U.S. veteran, and 11Alive will be raising a future guide dog alongside TODAY. 

Viewers can help choose the TODAY pup’s name by casting their votes on TODAY.com/puppy. The chosen name will be announced on the show on Tuesday, February 27th.   

“Following Charlie’s tremendous success on TODAY, we are ecstatic to not only continue the partnership with NBC and TODAY, but expand it,” said Wells B. Jones, president and CEO of the Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs. “All of these puppies will be exposed to an amazing variety of experiences that will allow them to grow up and be comfortable and confident in just about every situation. When it’s time, that confidence will help someone with disabilities conquer any challenges they may face.”

To watch the welcome segment from this morning, visit TODAY.com. For more information on the puppy, visit TODAY.GuideDog.org or TODAY.VetDogs.org.  

The Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs are sister 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations. The Guide Dog Foundation provides guide and service dogs to people who are blind, have low vision, or other special needs. America’s VetDogs provides guide and service dogs to veterans and first responders. An individual with a guide or service dog from the Guide Dog Foundation or America’s VetDogs gains increased independence and enhanced mobility, allowing them to live without boundaries. 

ABOUT THE GUIDE DOG FOUNDATION

For more than 70 years, the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc. (www.GuideDog.org), has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to people who are blind, have low vision, or have other special needs. The Guide Dog Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to serve people with disabilities. It costs more than $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog, but the Guide Dog Foundation provides its services completely free of charge to the individual.  Its sister organization, America’s VetDogs, trains and provides guide, service, and hearing dogs for disabled veterans and first responders.

The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind was the first assistance dog school in the United States to be accredited by both the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International. 

ABOUT AMERICA’S VETDOGS

Since 2003, America’s VetDogs (www.VetDogs.org) 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 has been accredited by both the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International. 

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.  Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker, Carson Daly, Willie Geist, Megyn Kelly, Kathie Lee Gifford and Natalie Morales are the anchors and hosts, Noah Oppenheim is the SVP and Executive in Charge, and Libby Leist is the executive producer.

For Media Inquiries: Allison Storck
Public Relations Specialist
Guide Dog Foundation/America’s VetDogs
Allison@GuideDog.org
631-334-2615