NBC’s TODAY welcomed Charlie, a new “puppy with a purpose” to follow in the paw prints of Wrangler, the show’s first service-dog-in-training. Charlie, an 8-week old male black Labrador Retriever, is from America’s VetDogs, a nonprofit organization that provides trained service and guide dogs to veterans and first responders with disabilities. For 16 months, the TODAY show anchors and staff will be part of the organization’s “puppy raising team” to help Charlie become a service dog.
With the guidance of an experienced dog handler, the TODAY team will help raise and train Charlie in Studio 1A during the show. At the end of 16 months, Charlie will continue his formal service dog training with a certified instructor from America’s VetDogs and will be matched with a disabled veteran.
“We are excited to enlist TODAY as part of our training team,” said VetDogs CEO Wells B. Jones. “[Charlie] will be exposed to an amazing variety of experiences that will allow him to grow up to be comfortable and confident in just about every situation. When it’s time, that confidence will help a veteran conquer the challenges they face.”