Hard Working Service Dogs Take Disney Field Trip

That feeling you get when part of your work day is playing at Disney World.

By Catalina Barrios

Credit: ABC News

Do you have a favorite Disney character?  Mickey Mouse is definitely my number one. When I lived in Orlando, I would visit this park all the time. I thought nothing of standing in line for two hours just to get Mickey’s autograph.  Going to Disney World was magical for me as a child, and it appears that these canines agree.

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Credit: American Kennel Club

While part of the the visit was reserved for training, these four service heroes had plenty of downtime to take in the sights and smells of Disney World. You can tell from the smiles on their faces that this is, indeed, one of the happiest places on Earth.  The pups are members of Canine Companions for Independence, (CCI) a California non-profit organization that trains service animals and provides them at no cost to people with disabilities.

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Credit: Twitter / @LA03

A group of volunteers took the puppies on a field trip to Disney in order to test exposure to multi-sensory demands. These dogs took it all in stride, enjoying the socializing with strangers and the energy of Disney World. It was a great learning experience and an enriching day for the canines that are working hard to become excellent service animals.

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Credit: Twitter / @LA03

Volunteers raise the puppies for eighteen months before the dogs move on to receive professional training at one of CCI’s regional training centers. Here, they learn to: pick up dropped items and return them to their handlers, open and close doors and drawers, turn lights on and off; and many more helpful tasks.

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Credit: Twitter / @LA03

These lucky Disney dogs explored the park, mingled with visitors, and even enjoyed some rides. They spent quality time with Disney characters – their reaction to meeting Pluto was priceless!

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Credit: ABC News

The trip was 100% successful and CCI plans to continue training at Disney World.  The end goal of the training protocol is to create dogs with the temperament and stamina to enhance the lives of people with disabilities. These service dogs are more than workers; lucky recipients build a relationship with the canines that is life changing for both parties.

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Credit: American Kennel Club

If you are interested in learning how to become a puppy raiser, or want to inquire about adopting a service canine, visit the Canine Companions for Independence website. And perhaps the next time you visit “the happiest place on Earth,”  you will be lucky enough to see these beauties in training.