NBCUniversal Partners with America’s Vet Dogs: Service Dog Training at 30 Rock Begins
 In an effort to promote accessibility and educate employees, NBCUniversal has entered into an exciting partnership with America’s Vet Dogs and their sister organization, the Guide Dog Foundation, on the Puppy-In-Training program. This initiative provides a comforting and valuable experience for employees, and also speaks to NBCUniversal’s commitment to accessibility.

What is America’s Vet Dogs?
For 20 years, 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 and serves clients from across the United States.

What is the Guide Dog Foundation?
The Guide Dog Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity with a mission to improve the quality of life for people who are blind, have low vision, or have other disabilities. For more than 75 years since its founding in 1946, the organization has trained and placed guide dogs and service dogs to provide increased independence and enhanced mobility to people with disabilities.   

How Does America’s Vet Dogs Service Dog Training Program Work?
With the supervision of an experienced “puppy raiser”, the puppy will be raised and trained on-site at NBCUniversal’s 30 Rock office. Employees will take part in educational demonstrations, while the puppy will learn socialization and how to interact in large, busy environments. At the end of the puppy training period (14-16 months), the puppy will will formally enter service dog training in the hopes of graduating to become a certified service dog for a veteran or first responder with disabilities.

NBCUniversal's History with Service Animals
As one of the National Organization on Disability's Leading Disability Employer's NBCUniversal values accessibility and disability inclusion. They have long held a strong mission to support service animals through various programs and partnerships, including several with America’s Vet Dogs and their sister organization, the Guide Dog Foundation. TODAY's most-recent puppy with a purpose, Sunny, spent a year and a half educating TODAY show staff and viewers before becoming the first facility dog at the Henry Viscardi School at the Viscardi Center on Long Island, where he supports students with physical disabilities.

Meet Atlas! 

America's VetDogs and the Guide Dog Foundation have been friends of NBC Universal since Charlie and Sunny were raised on the TODAY Show. Now, we are excited to once again join forces in co-raising a future service dog for a veteran or first responder with disabilities. Atlas will make visits to the NBC 30 Rock office in NYC to visit with staff as an essential part of the pup's socialization and upbringing. 

With the help of NBC staff, the pup was named Atlas. The name Atlas was derived from a bronze statue in Rockefeller Center outside the NBC studio and offices, within the International Building's courtyard, in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. The sculpture depicts the ancient Greek Titan Atlas holding the heavens on his shoulders.

Meet Carol Burke

Carol, originally from Long Island, along with her husband Stephen, raised four children. Now empty-nesters, they split their time between Manhattan and the north fork of Long Island, accompanied by their dog, Benji.
Upon retiring from her banking career, Carol sought a fresh challenge. Engaged in various community and charitable ventures over the years, she aimed to merge her passion for dogs with community service. After researching options, she found the ideal match with the Guide Dog Foundation & America’s Vet Dog. Over the last three years, she's devoted herself to being a puppy raiser and camper.
“In a world fraught with conflict and chaos, it's hard to articulate the solace our service dogs bring to those in need. Yet, the impact of just one dog is immense. Volunteering as a puppy raiser has proven to be one of my most fulfilling experiences.