It started out simply. Over the weekend, 26 year-old Katie received a sweet photo from her parents, who were visiting Disneyland. They’d happened to walk by a dog sitting patiently while it had a caricature portrait drawn. Katie posted the photo to Twitter (@cutiechaser).
MY PARENTS ARE AT DISNEYLAND AND JUST SENT ME THIS pic.twitter.com/s0XdI4GQFfAdvertising
— cutie chaser (@cutiechaser_) October 14, 2016
It turns out that this was the image the world needed to see! It quickly went viral, and has now been shared more than 50,000 times. The tweet also made Yahoo, the service dog in the photo, an overnight star.
Yahoo is a service dog in training
Yahoo currently lives with a volunteer for Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit that helps provide service dogs to people with disabilities at no cost. Jeanine Konopleski, a spokesperson for CCI, explained that Yahoo and another dog went to Disneyland as part of their training.
He’s learning how to serve people with disabilities
Konopleski told BuzzFeed News about the viral photo: “Yahoo is practicing basic obedience commands as he waits … That’s a perfect training and socialization for one of our dogs to get used to waiting and sitting at attention.”
It’s important for service dogs to learn to deal with highly stimulating environments, and Disneyland is an ideal training ground for this part of their education. Yahoo was not only learning to sit still, but he was also being taught to tune out distractions. And he inspired the world!
wow i am so grateful 2 have brought happiness 2 so many ppl with this dog pic that's all i wanted ??
— cutie chaser (@cutiechaser_) October 15, 2016
Check out the final portrait