I have just been dying to take Lagoon to Hershey Park. We only live a
few miles away, and I knew it would be great practice for her – lots of
sounds, lights, moving objects, smells, food on the ground, people ….
Lots and lots of people. Anyone who knows Lagoon understands that like
Will Rogers, who said “I never met a man I didn’t like,” Lagoon has
never met a person she didn’t like. I anticipated that people would be
our most difficult challenge.
Finally the day was here! I had the day off from work and the
weather was beautiful. I loaded up the treat pouch with kibble, but
also threw in a bunch of new pepperoni flavored treats that are fairly
new surprises to Lagoon. Of course I grabbed a can of cheddar cheesy
spray for back-up! Although we were leaving for the park right after
Lagoon’s midmorning “Get Busy” break, I also threw a roll of small bags
into my purse just in case.
Lagoon “Got Dressed” in her harness and I chose the shortest leash that I could find
– it’s about 3 feet long, but once I grab it and hold it the way I need
it I think it is closer to 2 feet – so that I could (hopefully)
maneuver Lagoon through the crowds without her deciding that other
people were more exciting than me.
I planned to keep Lagoon at the park for a 2 hour maximum, depending
on her behavior. I also knew that I might need to make an “early exit” –
so in addition to me and my kids, my dad went along so that Lagoon and I
could leave if necessary without interrupting the kids’ fun.
When we got to the park it wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be –
probably since it was a weekday – but there were still plenty of
people. Lagoon did great walking in from the car, standing in the
security line to get my bag checked, and going through the ticketing
We decided to take Lagoon to the monorail and ride. Lagoon didn’t
hesitate, and stayed in a “down-stay” the whole ride. When the ride was
over Lagoon even waited for me to cue her to exit the ride while other
people walked past! I was surprised!
My dad and the kids went on another ride while Lagoon and I waited.
On the ground by the bench I chose was a bunch of peanut shells. Lagoon
REALLY wanted to eat those peanut shells. We practiced “leave it” but
ultimately I decided to move a little farther away from the temptation!
After we moved, Lagoon had a nice greeting with two of the park
workers. Then the ride was over and we were on the move again!
About every 2 or 3 steps was a click & treat, and even though it
was a short leash Lagoon kept it nice and loose walking next to me. I
didn’t even need to break out the cheese!
As we walked we saw a traveling band playing. I wasn’t sure how that
would be, because when we were at a Memorial Day Parade, Lagoon seemed
startled by the drums in the marching band – but she wasn’t fazed at all
By this time it had been almost an hour, so we decided to take Lagoon
to the carousel for her last bit of fun at Hershey Park. She waited
patiently in line even though we were surrounded by children about her
size. At first when we got on the ride I sat on one of the benches and
had Lagoon lay on the floor in front of me, but the ride attendant asked
if I could actually get her into the immovable car – so that’s what we
did. Lagoon lay at my feet during the ride and was quite well-behaved.
Lagoon and I left my dad and my kids and headed for home. On the way
out, we had to navigate the turnstile! I really had to think about that for a
minute. I decided to give Lagoon the “go on through” command, and then
had her back up until she was out underneath the turnstile and I could
follow her through. She did it perfectly!
Since Lagoon had done so well in the park – and because I was running
out of treats – I decided to reward her by getting out the cheese for
the walk back to the car. Needless to say, Lagoon was very excited (and
of course on her VERY best behavior) all the way to the car.
I took Lagoon home, got her settled and returned to Hershey Park to
spend the afternoon with my dad and the kids. In total, Lagoon’s visit
to Hershey Park lasted an hour and a half – and was a good experience
for both of us!
Susquehanna Service Dogs raises, trains, and places service dogs to assist individuals with disabilities. We train service, hearing, balance and companion dogs to support men, women, and children to be more independent.