"The Today Show" welcomed its newest team member Wednesday: a 10-week-old Golden Labrador Retriever. While the pad of puppy feet around Studio 1A will certainly brighten everyone's morning, there's more to this little creature than meets the eye.
"Today" has paired up with Guiding Eyes For The Blind, a nonprofit guide dog training school in Patterson, New York.
This cause hits especially close to home for NBC's own Peter Alexander, who explained in a "Today" blog post that his sister is going blind and deaf. Rebecca Alexander was diagnosed with Usher syndrome type 3 when she was 13. Now 35, she has a cochlear implant and walks with a cane.
In an interview with her brother in September, she talked about the hardships she's experienced as a result of her disability.
"I think coming to terms with something like this, accepting it and not trying to hide it, and not having it control my life but really taking the control back by still living my life to the best of my ability, asking people for help when I need it — that's been a huge part of it," she said when recalling the difficult decision to start walking with a cane.
This morning, Peter Alexander tweeted his heartfelt support of TODAY's contribution for the blind and visually impaired.
The newest member of the TODAY family has been deemed its "Puppy with a Purpose." Viewers will have the opportunity over the next 16 months to watch the puppy grow up to be a certified guide dog, who will then be adopted by someone in need.
Matt Lauer said he hopes that "TODAY's puppy will be tomorrow's guiding eyes." Viewers even have the opportunity to vote for the name of the dog on TODAY's website.
It's all pretty doggone adorable.