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By Ezra Dyer | The Improper Bostonian

Have you ever seen a service dog and wondered what it had to do for training before it got the gig helping someone? Me neither, but a while back one of my niece’s friends brought over a cute Lab puppy named Bear.

She explained that her family was fostering him for an organization called Continuing the Mission that trains service dogs for veterans. They’d take care of Bear until he was out of puppyhood, at which point he’d go into a prison for immersive training by the inmates. After that, they’d get him back for several more months and then he’d be matched with his permanent owner, which would surely be a wrenching moment because by that point they’d probably think of him as their dog.

My wife, Heather, heard all that but stopped listening after “free puppy.” Fast-forward to a few weeks later, when a nice lady arrives and hands over a 5-month-old rust-colored Lab named Ella, who’s not the cutest dog. She’s the cutest organism in the universe.

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