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“Nick News” Special “Good Dog” Premieres Sunday, December 5 on Nickelodeon

via Nickelodeon press release:

NICK NEWS WITH LINDA ELLERBEE
KIDS AND THEIR SERVICE DOGS IN “GOOD DOG”
PREMIERING SUNDAY, DEC. 5, ON NICKELODEON

NEW YORK, Dec. 1, 2010 – Under ordinary circumstances, dogs can make us feel happy, less stressed, even healthier. But these dogs also help kids feel less alone, more confident, more independent. They can act as a kid’s eyes, legs or hands; they can turn on the lights, open the door, warn someone about food they’re allergic to — or even calm them down when they are anxious. They’re called service dogs. On Sunday, Dec. 5, at 9:00 p.m., Nickelodeon premieres the Nick News with Linda Ellerbee special, “Good Dog,” featuring kids who have these unique dogs in their lives.

“Today, the number and kinds of dogs that can be trained and are being used in such a great variety of ways to help people, many of them children, is truly astounding,” said Ellerbee. “These are dogs raised to perform remarkable tasks. And often they’re raised by a kid, too.”

Before a dog is ready to begin a life of service, it must go through one to two years of training. Basic training usually begins when a puppy is very young, and some people believe the best initial trainers are kids. Lily was just 8 weeks old when Libby, 13, from Robbinsville, N.J., began working with her. “I learned how to be a puppy trainer just from watching my mom. My family has been training service dogs ever since I was little.”

Once a service dog is part of a kid’s life, it’s hard for them to imagine their world without that dog, especially when the dog allows kids to do things they were unable to do before.

Jeff, 12, from Ansonia, Conn., has a life-threatening allergy to nuts, and lived in fear until he got his dog, Riley. “I don’t have to live in my own little bubble anymore. I have that sense of confidence in me and I have another layer of protection. Riley’s my best friend that I’ve ever had.”

For Ryan, 15, from Akron, Ohio, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, having Blue, a standard poodle service dog, has helped with his anxiety and made him more confident speaking with others. By focusing on Blue, Ryan is able to calm down and focus on something else. “When I’m with Blue, I feel a little bit better. He makes me feel comfortable. I would have meltdowns. Now Blue helps me out with that.”

Alan, 14, from Denver, Colo., has Down syndrome and has a tendency to wander off. Pilot, Alan’s service dog, keeps Alan from straying.

Kids know dogs don’t cure the disease, or the problem, but kids know dogs can help you find independence in your life, and ways to more easily avoid isolation by being a bridge that connects you to other people — to the world.

Good dog.

Nick News, produced by Lucky Duck Productions, is now in its 19th year and is the longest-running kids’ news show in television history. It has built its reputation on the respectful and direct way it speaks to kids about the important issues of the day. Over the years, Nick News has received more than 20 Emmy nominations and recently won its eighth Emmy Award for The Face of Courage: Kids Living with Cancer for Outstanding Children’s Nonfiction Program. Additional Emmy wins for outstanding children’s programming include: Coming Home: When Parents Return from War (2009); The Untouchable Kids of India (2008); Private Worlds: Kids and Autism (2007); Never Again: From the Holocaust to the Sudan (2005); Faces of Hope: The Kids of Afghanistan (2002) and What Are You Staring At? (1998). In addition, in 1995, the entire series won the Emmy. In 2009, Nick News was honored with the Edward R. Murrow Award for best Network News Documentary for Coming Home: When Parents Return from War — the first-ever kids’ television program to receive this prestigious award. Nick News has also received three Peabody Awards, including a personal award given to Ellerbee for explaining the impeachment of President Clinton to kids, as well as a Columbia duPont Award and more than a dozen Parents’ Choice Awards.

Nickelodeon, now in its 31st year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 100 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for 16 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA – News, VIA.B – News).