At first, the thought of dogs sitting quietly at the theater is rather amusing and even bordering on the ridiculous; however, in Canada, this is a new exercise being used to train service dogs, the Huffington Post reported.The dogs were lucky enough to have sat through a performance of Billy Elliot: The Musical showing at the Festival Theater in Stratford, Ontario.Images of the service dogs sitting attentively by their handlers' seats or by the seats at one of the Stratford Festival’s “relaxed performances” have gone viral.
According to the Stratford Festival's website, the shows are “specifically designed to welcome patrons who will benefit from a less restricted audience environment.” The dogs were being trained at the K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs. Laura MacKenzie, who runs the company, explained that the theater “gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises and movement of varying degrees. “The positive reaction to our outing is both shocking and amazing,” MacKenzie said. “We are hoping that our adorable photo will be a good opportunity to educate the public about service dogs and accommodating people with disabilities.”ICYMI: We had some pawsitivly adorable audience members from K-9 Country Inn Service Dogs during last weeks Relaxed Performance of #sfBillyElliot. Our Next Relaxed Performance is #sfNeverending on October 2nd. https://t.co/xaBwx65W8J pic.twitter.com/otyNjm5pUS— Stratford Festival (@stratfest) August 15, 2019