Koko might just be the happiest labradoodle you will ever meet, and it's her job to make you smile.
She and her owner, Steven Herz, are part of a therapy team certified by the New Jersey-based nonprofit Creature Comfort Pet Therapy. The organization's goal is simple: a cold nose can lead to a warm heart.
Koko and Herz have spent nearly eight years volunteering together as a therapy team. They've paid hundreds of visits to the ill, the elderly or those who have special needs in the New Jersey area. The labradoodle recently became the first mixed breed in the U.S. to earn the American Kennel Club's official therapy dog title, ThD.
According to the American Kennel Club, some of the many highlights of Koko's extensive career include helping inner city 2nd graders improve their reading skills, achieving breakthroughs with severely autistic children, and being among the first dogs to greet soldiers coming home from Iraq.
In this HooplaHa video, Koko pays a visit to special needs students. She helps bring them out of their shells and with their motor skills.
"It would have been enough to spend these years just enjoying Koko, but to be able to work together in the many diverse places that we do ... takes the experience of 'dog owner/handler' to an entirely different level. I store away each and every 'thank you,' 'God bless you,' and the highest payment of all, 'You made my day,'" Herz told the AKC.
For more comfort canines we love, check out the dogs that were helping Boston heal after last month's tragedy.