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These service dogs attended the Billy Elliot musical to learn how to behave in a theater

We have all had the misfortune of suffering rude spectators in the cinema or in the theater. There is always a person who has to do spoilers or who can not stop looking at the mobile. But have you ever seen dogs in the audience?


The Stratford festival in Ontario, Canada, recently had a very special audience, a group of adorable service dogs. On August 15 they shared a photo gallery on Twitter with the following explanation: “We had a positively adorable audience with these K9 Country Inn service dogs during the relaxed performance of #BillyElliot last week.”

Dogs are not here to marvel at Billy Elliot’s musical, but as training

Image credits: stratfest

Image credits: k9countryinnservicedogs

This team of canines is part of the K9 Country inn service dog training program, specializing in primary response programs, frontline workers and trauma victims with post-traumatic syndrome. These dogs surely enjoyed the play, but they were there with a mission.

They were taken to see Billy Elliot’s musical so that they would learn the proper behavior in a theater, that is, to remain seated and silent.

Image credits: stratfest


Laura Mackenzie is the woman in charge of this service dog training program, and she has been training these dogs for more than 35 years. “I started training service dogs years ago because I wanted to give something back to society, and I found that there was a great need in the service dog industry.” Previously, I trained police dogs, personal protection dogs, shepherd dogs, etc …

Image credits: k9countryinnservicedogs

The work that the dogs saw was also special: “Relaxed works are designed specifically for spectators who benefit from a less restricted environment for the audience. Viewers come with all kinds of abilities, including intellectual and learning disabilities, sensory problems or autism.

There is a relaxed attitude towards noise and movement in the auditorium, and minimal changes occur in the work to reduce the intensity of light, sound and other potentially alarming effects. Babies can also come to these works. ”

Image credits: stratfest

“The theater allows us to work with dogs through various stimuli, such as lights, movement, noise and crowds.” According to Mackenzie, a service dog should know how to act in such an environment and “be able to ignore the presence of the rest of the audience and the environment while paying attention to the needs of their caregiver.” Basically they have to learn to work in harmony with their surroundings, no matter how unusual and chaotic it is.

Image credits: stratfest

Image credits: k9countryinnservicedogs

“All the dogs behaved great at the Stratford festival.” Most were taking a nap at the feet of their owners. “During the performance, some dogs looked between the seats to see the play.”

Image credits: k9countryinnservicedogs

After the photos of the dogs were shared on social networks, people loved it. “The positive reaction has been amazing and surprising. We had never expected that it will be so big. This will be a good opportunity to educate the public about service dogs and the accommodation of people with disabilities. ”

Image credits: k9countryinnservicedogs

What do you think?

Written by Martin Schwartz

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