Plenty of service dogs accompany their humans to Disneyland each year, and it’s no small feat! Disneyland has a lot going on for anyone, but it presents special challenges for service dogs, who must not get distracted. Star, the Boston terrier, recently made the trip with her handler, Alex—and passed with flying colors.
Star worked closely with Alex, who has a neurological condition, to get ready for the big excursion. They went with a group of service dogs and their people after a year (!) of preparation.
Star and Alex spent the last year working towards this Disneyland trip. Training included exposure to loud sounds, crowds, boats, fireworks, and Halloween stores.
They also worked on staying focused and tucking between feet to avoid bumping into others in lines.
After Star completed the individual portion of her training, she joined two other service dogs, Ozzy and Mojo, to practice working as a group.
Disneyland allows service dogs to accompany their handlers on rides approved for toddlers (and up.) That includes Small World, Pirates, Little Mermaid, Haunted Mansion, and many more. However, for fast rides like Radiator Springs Racers, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and others, dogs must wait in a kennel. Star took it all like a champ.
Alex’s family has made the Disneyland trip before and have established a tradition of getting silhouettes cut on Main Street. Once again, Star rose to the occasion and patiently waited for her silhouette with Alex.
How cute is the result?
Service dogs do very important work. That’s why their tags say “do not pet.” As an iconic small breed, Star often gets adoring fans wanting to snuggle. However, she’s on a mission, and Alex is her only focus. It’s important to remember that even if a service dog may not appear busy, they are paying attention to their handlers at all times, watching for signs or signals including blood pressure changes, low blood sugar and seizures.
Disney employees are familiar with the drill and helped the family navigate the trip with ease. Alex’s family says, “[they were] helpful, kind, and accommodating, as Disney always is for people with disabilities. It was HANDS DOWN the best trip [our] son was able to have.”
Good job, Star and family. We’re impressed.