Service Animals (5)
Just before Memorial Day, a Marine had an extra special reunion with the dog he worked with in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Ross Gundlach, 25, served in Afghanistan alongside Casey, a yellow Labrador Retriever. Gundlach became very close with his companion, and promised her “if we made it out of alive, I'd do whatever it took to find her," reported the Associated Press.
American Girl dolls have always been friends to animals — like Molly's puppy and Josefina's goat. But this holiday season, the popular doll company is taking its furry companions a step further with a new chocolate Labrador service-dog-in-training.
The puppy comes with its own service vest and handle, made to fit in the hands of American Girl dolls. And there are even faux treats that the dolls can use to reward their dogs.
"My daughter Cassy has an assistance dog that looks just like this!” wrote one customer on the company’s website. “Cassy and her [doll] are both handicapped, so this is the perfect product!"
American Girls are never without accessories — and neither are their companions. The company has a full line of other doll-sized, pet-related products, including a Comfy & Cozy Pet Bed ($22), a Pet Hiking Set ($20) and a supercute Pet Bath Set ($26).
Fess up: Which ones will be under your tree?
It's hard work, but somebody's gotta do it.
Meet Holly's Half Dozen, a litter of Golden Retriever pups born on June 24 who are already hard at work... being cute. And you can watch them be cute all day long by clicking on the addictive live video cam.
But there's more to it than that! These balls of fur have been tasked with lifting the spirits of combat veterans recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda, MD through the Warrior Canine Connection.
The puppies aren't the only ones with a job to do, though; the service men and women are helping to socialize the puppies and prepare them for their lives as service dogs to the disabled. That's not for another two years, though, and something tells us they're all going to have a lot of fun in the meantime. Especially whoever ends up training Pink; she's a bundle of energy!
You're probably pretty familiar with service dogs. But did you know that many other species are being used to help people with all kinds of disabilities and issues?
While the Americans with Disabilities Act only recognizes dogs and miniature horses as service animals, that doesn't stop these people in need from getting support from their preferred working animal.
Sophie: The Helper Monkey
The story of Judy Zappia and her service animal, a capuchin monkey named Sophie, will likely leave you with tears in your eyes. After leading a very active life Judy was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and is now wheelchair bound. Her husband George is her full-time caregiver, but Judy needed help with day-to-day tasks like picking up the phone.
Judy lives in Vermont where monkeys are allowed to be trained as service animals under limited circumstances. She worked with Helping Hands, a non-profit organization in Boston that breeds and trains small capuchin monkeys to work as service animals for patients with limited mobility.
A cat in cute clothes is tough to resist. Police in Kyoto's Miyazu City must have known this when they rescued a two-week-old stray and decided he needed to help fight crime.
The helpful feline, dubbed Iemon (Ee-eh-mon) spends most of his time atop the service counter at Yoro Station, but he also helps fight fraud.
According to Gawker, elderly people in Japan are often targets of a scam where criminals call pretending to be their sons and ask for large sums to money to be wired. Iemon's job is to accompany the sergeant on duty when he visits local residents to caution against fraudulent. The cat's presence helps put the anxious at ease as they report these suspicious calls.