If you've got a pup at home who is already the star of the camera roll on your phone, I'm pleased to report that the AKC PupPals program would like those dog videos. Not just to aww over for themselves, of course, the program is asking dog owners to share the cuteness to help brighten the mood for people who are cooped up at home during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and could use a little extra happiness right now.
Since everyone is at home practicing social distancing, the American Kennel Club (AKC) is asking dog owners to take and submit videos of their dogs to help bring a smile to someone else's face. Through the AKC PupPals program, people can receive a message from a sweet dog pal to remind them that there is still so much to love about life, dogs especially.
While the program has been in place for some time, during the COVID-19 pandemic the need is higher than ever, which is why the AKC PupPals program has come up with a new, simplified way for people to share videos of their dog to be sent along to people in need.
"In light of the crisis we’re facing right now, we thought it was fitting to expand the program to cater to anyone in need of some cheer — kids, nursing homes, anyone suffering during the lockdown," AKC tells Romper. "Anyone can nominate a person to receive a video from a canine companion."
Dogs can help alleviate anxiety, ease loneliness, and generally offer a sense of well-being to the people who love them, as Help Guide explains. Unfortunately, though, as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb across the country, people aren't able to connect with pets in ways they might normally. "Many people are isolated during this time: nursing homes and assisted living facilities can’t receive visitors, kids are missing their friends from school and family members that they can’t see during quarantine/shelter in place, and those suffering alone," AKC tells Romper.
And that's where you and your dog come in. If you want to send messages to people in need through the AKC PupPals program, here's how to do it:
- Make sure the video is no longer than 1 minute long
- It needs to feature your dog, of course, but also be filmed from your dog's point of view. Try not to have any people in the video.
- Don't include kids in the video for privacy reasons.
- Include a little dialogue and describe your dog by sharing their name, their breed (if applicable), their favorite hobbies, etc.
- If they know a special trick, by all means include it.
- Try to share a generally uplifting message to the recipient. You won't know the recipient so don't get specific. Kindness always works.
After you've taken a video of your sweet pal, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don't have a dog video to send, but know someone who would appreciate getting one and want to nominate them, you can fill out this form.
"Dogs provide so much comfort to people," the AKC says, "and the AKC PupPals Program seeks to provide people in need of uplifting with a message from a canine friend just when they need it most."
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.