Meet the Sacramento service dogs who spent the day training in Disneyland
The Happiest Place on Earth got an extra dose of joy recently when a group of puppies visited.
The adorable Disneyland and California Adventure Park visitors weren't just any puppies – they were Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) pups training to be assistance dogs.
"It’s great socialization for the dogs since they get to be around all the different sights, sounds, smells and people that Disneyland has to offer," CCI's public relations and marketing coordinator Michelle Williams told The Bee.
The puppies even took pictures with Disney characters.
"People really enjoyed seeing them sit so nicely for pictures," volunteer puppy raiser Laura Allen told the American Kennel Club. "Another favorite for the Disney guests was when the puppies met the characters. It’s pretty adorable to see."
Twitter user Nicole Brown ran into them on March 29 at the park and snapped a photograph that has since gone viral.
Apparently, the story even ran in a German newspaper:
And there's a local connection: Essie the golden retriever, 10 months; Aryssa the black Labrador-golden cross, 9 months; Chekov, the large yellow Lab, 14 months; and Ortega, smaller yellow Lab-golden cross, 9 months, are being raised by volunteers in the Sacramento area, according to Williams.
Sacramentan Laura Allen is one of the CCI puppy raisers.
"People love seeing the dogs, especially a group walking together," Allen told The Dog's Life.
"These puppies go on to change lives, and I’m proud to be a part of that."
Once the puppies finish training, they will be placed into homes with a child or an adult who has a disability – free of charge, People reports.
For now, the "Disney Dogs" are soaking up new experiences while spreading plenty of cheer.
CCI breeds, raises and trains assistance dogs for those with disabilities. Dogs stay with "puppy raisers" for about a year and a half, after which they attend professional training.
To volunteer, visit cci.org/raise.