Service Dog-Trip with New Handler

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by ladyjubilee, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. ladyjubilee

    ladyjubilee Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2012
    Messages:
    197
    We are currently working with a trainer for our new dog to be my son's service dog. I know that's backwards. His medical doctor had recommended a service dog a few years back, but my son wouldn't have anything to do with dogs. Until this dog-they just clicked. Then she just naturally alerted to a neurological issue (he has epilepsy, but the events we're seeing may or not be seizures)...and several times since before we could see the signs. So anyway, we have the doctors orders, the professional trainer and a dog who is so far exceeding expectations.

    Here is my question, though. Do we take her or not? Our trip is scheduled for mid November, which will be about a year into her training (and his learning curve.) We've done Disney enough that we have a lot of tricks we use for him to be able to handle Disney. I am a torn. We can make it without the dog at Disney, we've been before and on the autism front can succeed.

    My quandary is that many of the tasks she will provide are handled by use of stroller as wheelchair (it addresses a lot of the transitioning and sensory issues), plus physically he could never walk Disney, and since he's in the stroller I would literally be right there. Not exactly allowing him to be independent.

    But at the same time, I'd hate for him to have to be in pain (again the doctors aren't quite sure what it is) because humans can't see the problem until it is really bad. And if I'm teaching him to depend on her, I don't know if not taking her right at the time he's learning that lesson either.

    I'll be honest I'm a little intimidated by the thought of a dog, no matter how well trained and dedicated, at Disney. Just the physical demands of 7 days in the parks is a lot....and since we can make it, I'm torn.
     
  2. mamabunny

    mamabunny DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    1,772
    First of all, take a breath - because you have some time to work this through. You sound like me :) I'm a planner, because I want to smooth out all the "bumps" that I can! :)

    I would turn to your "experts" - your son's doctor, and the trainer. Talk openly and honestly with both of them about how *your family* "average" WDW trip works, and get their opinion of what would be best. Tell them that you want to keep this dialogue open from now until (let's just say for planning purposes) Mid-October, when you will want to have a final decision.

    During the interim, you could try short trips with the dog, to see how everyone handles it. That may inform your decision more than anything else! :)

    When I think of WDW from a service animal's perspective, it seems *very* overwhelming, and *very* exhausting to me. If you do take your son's companion, perhaps consider building in a "down day" every other day or so?

    Good luck with your decision - and I hope that you all have another wonderful, Magical trip :)
     
    marcyleecorgan and Lauren in NC like this.
  3. Avatar

    Advertisement


  4. ladyjubilee

    ladyjubilee Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2012
    Messages:
    197
    You are exactly right, I am a planner down to trying to plan when we'll be where. But I did talk to the trainer today, and he assured me that she'll be more than ready. He also said don't panic and over think it. That it is okay for her to go to the kennel a day if having her with us is going to create more stress than not. I feel much better now ;)
     
    Cloudy and mamabunny like this.
  5. cmwade77

    cmwade77 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2005
    Messages:
    5,853
    Do you have a local theme/amusement park that you could try out with the dog?

    Just a thought to see how the dog and your son handles it in a similar environment.
     
    Cloudy and marcyleecorgan like this.
  6. Betty Rohrer

    Betty Rohrer DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 19, 2010
    Messages:
    3,692
    i second the idea of trying at a local park if possible before your trip. maybe a few times if possible
     
    marcyleecorgan likes this.
  7. ladyjubilee

    ladyjubilee Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2012
    Messages:
    197
    We do. In fact we are season passholders at a couple of different parks. I'm hoping I can convince the trainer to come with us on a low attendance day for our first time....then build up to more crowded days.

    We've already tried a couple of outings to get her used to her vest (our state allows service dog in training access and I asked for permission first). I expected children to pet or ask to pet....but, wow, adults don't ask either. I had no clue that would be an issue, and our girl loves attention. We're definitely going to have to work hard on distraction training cause now I understand all those Do Not Pet patches I thought were kind of rude.
     
  8. Betty Rohrer

    Betty Rohrer DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 19, 2010
    Messages:
    3,692
    if you are in Pa know a coupe of parks that will work with you
     
  9. Cloudy

    Cloudy Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2016
    Messages:
    158
    Just wanted to chime in that I have empathy for your situation. I have a 23 year old autistic son who has seizure disorder and does not like animals. His second tonic clonic seizure ever was at DisneyWorld at the International Gateway exit of Epcot. He fell backwards directly on his head on concrete. It would have been nice to have advanced notice to avoid the fall and perhaps make it back to the resort or first aid rather than right in the middle of the walkway. That being said Disney EMTs, security, and CMs were all wonderful.

    That being said, I understand having a training service dog is also a lot to handle. I like the idea of a kennel day if needed. Whatever decision you make will be the right one.
     

Share This Page