A posted photo of a dog posing for a caricature drawing at Disneyland has gone viral, causing the whole world to rejoice in all this cuteness. Katie, whose Twitter handle is @cutiechaser, received the picture from her parents in a text. She thought it was so adorable that she instantly tweeted it with the caption “My parents are at Disneyland and just sent me this.”
The photo has since virtually exploded, being shared over 56,000 times, and “liked” more than 140,000 times. Nobody knows what was cuter; the dog who was sitting patiently waiting for his portrait to be done, or the caricature’s depiction of the dog on a surfboard.
The adorable dog, whose name is Yahoo, is a service animal. He lives in San Marcos, California with a volunteer who is teaching him basic obedience and socialization. After that, he will go on to receive training to help a person who has disabilities.
He is a member of the nonprofit organization Canine Companions for Independence, a group that raises and trains service dogs and then gives them to people with disabilities – at no cost.
Yahoo’s volunteer took him to Disneyland to help him learn socialization, patience, and concentrating amidst distractions. The caricature served to help him learn and exhibit the patience portion. This skill will serve him well when he becomes a full-time service animal.
Practices such as this one give dogs like Yahoo the confidence they need to perform their service duties well. Yahoo is planning to be able to open doors, turn on light switches, and pull a wheelchair by February 2017, according to his volunteer.
This is a prime example of how one picture, posted on Twitter, can be worth a thousand words. The simple act of a dog sitting for a caricature portrait reveals the story of why he exists. Yahoo was quite literally born to help people, and I think people’s instant connection to that fact is what caused the tweeted photo to go completely viral.
Service animals are finding more value in society as it is being determined over and over again that they are truly fundamental in helping people with disabilities live a more independent and happy life. Dogs have always been significant as our loving companions, but in modern times they are becoming essential.
Service dogs help people in countless ways, including:
- guiding the blind
- alerting the deaf
- assisting with mobility
- alerting diabetics to blood sugar spikes
- helping traumatized veterans acclimate back to civilian life
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Dogs have always been here to be our companions and to protect us. They serve us humbly, and are happy to do it. Humans can learn how to be their best selves by looking to dogs for guidance.
The love and service of our canine companions has the capacity to change the world. I worked at a dog rescue in the Midwest who occasionally sent troubled dogs to an amazing program called Mixed Up Mutts. This program paired struggling dogs with Indiana prisoners, who would train them.
Mixed Up Mutts accomplished so many things – the shelter dogs received the one-on-one training and attention they so desperately needed, the prisoners gained a practical and valuable skill, and both parties got to experience the love and companionship they were so desperately lacking in their lives. The abandoned rescued the abandoned, and lives were improved and saved through this program.
While I was involved, one prisoner even exited prison and became a professional dog trainer – a healthy, happy, helpful member of society. More importantly than that, love was given to forsaken animals and forsaken humans, and it stopped bad cycles in their tracks.
Service animals make the world a better place by devoting their entire lives to loving and serving their human companions, and Yahoo is the face of that right now. Yahoo’s volunteer was on a mission that day, but she wanted to make sure Yahoo was having fun while he worked, and I believe people were instantly clued in on that when they saw the caricature photo.