“TODAY” show puppy raiser Olivia Poff’s tale began with work for the Guide Dog Foundation while at CAES Charlie arrives at 30 Rockefeller Plaza at 6:30 each morning to prepare for his appearance on national television. After a morning routine with host Matt Lauer, he waits in the Orange Room through the 7 a.m. hard news block before taking the plaza stage outside the studio at 8 a.m. There’s an 8:30 a.m. appearance with Lauer or host Carson Daly, the filming of 9 a.m. teases with celebrities, then 10 a.m. downtime in the studio before returning home unless a trip to an NBC affiliate or video “pupdate” for social media is required. Charlie is the “TO DAY” show ’s “Puppy with a Purpose.” University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences alumna Olivia Poff (BSA - Animal Science, ’11) is responsible for him. Poff is a guide dog mobility instructor for America's VetDogs and its sister organization , the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind , both charitable organizations that provide guide and service dogs to U.S. veterans, first responders and civilians . How ever, for this project, she is Charlie 's puppy raiser. She started raising Charlie on national television last August, after “TO DAY” sought out the organization to sponsor its second “Puppy with a Purpose.” “He’s a good fit, a happy -go - lucky dog,” Poff said. “Not a lot fazes him .” When they return home, Poff continues training Charlie . He w ill become a service dog for a U.S. veteran . He's learning to push buttons and lights with his nose, to retrieve dropped items, and to tug to open doors or pull off covers.
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