Hug a Puppy, Help a Guide Dog
A guide-dog school in Palmetto, Fla. has instituted a program that allows the public to help socialize its pups by letting dog lovers shower them with displays of affection. For five mornings each week, Southeastern Guide Dogs opens its doors to public. "We call it Puppy Hugging," says Southeastern Guide Dogs' PR Specialist Jennifer Bement. "We basically invite anybody in the neighborhood to come into our puppy playroom and sit on the floor, and then we let one of our litters out into the room."
Who wouldn't like to spend an hour or two each morning hugging puppies that are six- to nine-weeks-old? Sure, the love-fest would probably be embarrassing if it ever ended up on YouTube, but heh, it's for a good cause.
"It great for their guide-dog training," Bement tells Paw Nation, "It builds their confidence by getting the puppies used to different sights, smells, sounds and most importantly, different types of people." So not only can you get all the commitment-free hugs you can handle, but you can feel all magnanimous afterward.
As you might imagine, these puppy-hugging sessions are well attended by a wide range of dog lovers. "Yesterday a mother and her 18-month-old daughter came in to hug the puppies. Last week, a group from an assisted living facility came to visit the puppies, almost like a therapy session," says Bement.