In Ontario, Canada last week, theatre patrons who attended a Stratford Festival performance of Billy Elliot were treated to a surprise visit from service dogs in training from K-9 Country Inn Service Dogs.
Response to the photos was overwhelmingly positive, with readers begging to know which performances the dogs will be attending just so they can watch them be good boys and girls.
— Stratford Festival (@stratfest) August 17, 2019
Head trainer and owner Laura Mackenzie spoke with CBC Radio about the outing.
“The theatre gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises and movement of varying degrees. The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time.”
The dogs sat quietly next to their assigned seats during the performance, exited for intermission, then filed back into the theatre like perfect canine ladies and gentlemen.
‘Relaxed’ performances are designed to welcome everybody to a comfortable theatre performance. The house lights are kept on so patrons can get up or move about the theatre, and any special effects are made simpler for those with sensory issues. The performance is broadcast to monitors in the lobby as well as to a special quiet room. The performance is specifically designed to be comfortable for families with babies in arms, those with sensory issues and those on the autism spectrum. Get the details here.
Great job, everyone!