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Newtown families raise and train future Psychiatric Service Dogs

NEWTOWN -- Noodle is full of energy as she bounds through tunnels and up ramps. In some ways, though, she's much different than your average puppy.

During training, she wears a bright vest bearing the words "Service Dog." The 10-week-old labradoodle has joined five young labrador retrievers in The Exceptional Partner Service Dogs pilot program in Newtown.

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"We're looking for dogs that aren't thrown off by anything, that recover very quickly from loud noises," said program founder and executive director Abby Hill. "The kids in the school system here definitely know comfort dogs and therapy dogs but they don't know service dogs."

More specifically, these pups will be Psychiatric Service Dogs.

Newtown area teachers and their children are helping to raise and train them before they're given to those in need, providing a poignant experience for a community still recovering from the tragedy in 2012, when 20 children and six adults were killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Click here for the entire column from The Hartford Courant.

The program is in need of donations, as it takes $25-30,000 to train each dog.  Check out this link to see how you can help The Exceptional Partner Service Dogs.