Pluto sure made this service pup goofy.
In a video shared to Facebook, Ace, a Labrador-Golden Retriever mix training to become a service dog, nuzzled the giant character at Disneyland before lying down to watch him, his tail wagging.
"Ace stayed in a 'down stay' for about four minutes," his volunteer trainer, Sandy Steinblums, told INSIDE EDITION. "He was very curious. He’s not seen many people in costumes. You can see him smiling.”
She said she cannot believe that the video, filmed by another parkgoer, has been viewed millions of times since it was posted to Facebook.
So Cute!!! Service Dog in training gets to meet his favorite character Pluto!Posted by Disney Dorks on Monday, 8 February 2016
Steinblums, who lives in Los Angeles, adopts and socializes puppies that will eventually be trained as service dogs for Guide Dogs of America. Ace, who moved in with her in August 2014, was her sixth canine boarder.
During the 18 months she has them, Steinblums house-trains the dogs, teaches them basic commands and gets them used to bustling environments.
“It’s good training for them to go on trips," she said. "The whole point is to teach them basic obedience so he doesn’t freak out on busy roads or in crowds.”
In December, she took Ace on a trip to Disneyland for the new smells and excitement.
“He was smiling the whole time," she recalled.
Together, they rode some of the gentler rides, including Dumbo the Flying Elephant, before Ace met Pluto.
But the interaction was just one of the highlights of the trip for Steinblums. So many friendly families approached Ace throughout the day it was a great opportunity for her to tell them about service dogs and the way they change people's lives, she said.
Ace left Steinblums' home earlier this month. He is now undergoing up to nine months of training to become a guide dog, including learning how to open doors and navigate busy streets.
"As a puppy raiser, we do not know if they will make it until we’re told. It’s still up to the dog," she said. "I hope he gets a busy person. He’s very obedient. He’s energetic."
And even though she's had to give Ace up after looking after him for so long, she knows it's for good reason.
“When we get them, we know they are not our dogs because they never belonged to us," she said. "We do this to help someone else. When they graduate, you see them with their new person and there are no words for that feeling.”