AKC PupPals bringing joy in these rough times

The AKC PupPals program is bringing joy in these hard times.

Everyone knows that dogs bring joy to humans, which is one of the reasons we love them so much. The AKC PupPals is designed to take advantage of just this ability.

Originally designed by the American Kennel Club’s Public Education arm in August 2019 to cheer up children going through rough times (focusing on childhood illness, the illness or death of a human or pet family member, or the deployment of a family member), the program is being expanded during the COVID pandemic to include medical workers, patients in hospitals and nursing homes, and anyone affected by the California wildfires.

Any breed of dog, including All American Dogs (mixed breeds), can participate in the AKC PupPals program after being enrolled on the AKC website.

The recipient will receive a card with informative facts about the dogs’ breed, a photo the owner provides, fun information about their specific AKC PupPals friend, and a personalized letter from the dog. (Some dogs prefer making and sending videos instead.)

AKC PupPals Looking to Lend a Hand for Those Impacted by the California Wildfires. Image courtesy The American Kennel Club

A sample letter reads as follows:

Dear Jackson,

Hi! My name is Bennett and I’m a Brittany Spaniel. I heard that you just moved to a new place. I bet it’s hard getting used to a new house, new school and new friends. I travel a lot, and it can be exciting and fun, but also a little scary and difficult. I’ve been on a plane, a train, a ferry, a boat and a car! I heard you like to play soccer. That’s so cool! I love soccer too, especially when my humans kick the ball really far and I get to race after it!

Love (and paw print), Bennett

Over 500 participants have been involved in this program since its founding.

To nominate someone to receive an AKC PupPals package, just fill out this form. If the recipient is a minor, then you need to be their parent or legal guardian to nominate them.

PupPals letters and videos will be received about 8-10 days after being nominated, and the recipients’ information will be kept confidential by AKC Public Education to protect privacy. The information the dog’s owner submits will be assembled into a sample letter like the one above.

While dog owners will not be able to learn who their recipient is, the anonymity on both sides adds to the fun, and dog owners will know that their pupper made someone else smile, which is very impawtant.

The good dogs also get an e-certificate for participating in the program, which is fun.

Next: Why Dog Twitter is so important this year

Basically, the AKC PupPals program brings the best of Dog Twitter into the real world, and we wholeheartedly support that.

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