Vacationing with a Hearing Dog
If you're interested in vacationing with your hearing
dog, you might be very interested in the stories of people who have
"been there, done that". Here are a couple. BTW, it sounds
like a little preparation and forethought go a long ways to ensure a
good vacation for all.
Cruising with a Hearing Dog by Eileen Kosterich
Editor: My appeal for additional information regarding cruises paid
off! So far I've received two great stories to share with everyone.
(We'll publish the other one next week.) This one is by Eileen Kosterich
describes her cruise experience with her hearing dog Zach. BTW, she
wanted me to be sure to share the phone number for Dogs for the Deaf, so
here it is: 541-826-9220. And here's Eileen's story.
London? No. Mexico? Un Uh. Canada? I dunno. Disney Florida? Yup! Cruise?
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Well Disney does everything so well, let's ask them.
So that is how Zach my certified hearing dog took a vacation in
Florida and a Cruise to the Bahamas. He took us along cause he wanted to
have someone to play with. For your info Zach is a beautiful beige
standard poodle that I was lucky to get from Dogs for the deaf in
Central Point, Oregon.
I had asked for certain accommodations before hand and was assured
that they would be available. I also talked to the cruise division about
the toilet facilities for my dog. Since Zach would be the first dog ever
on the Wonder I really worked hard to make sure he would be comfortable.
And off we went.
We arrived at our Disney hotel where everything was ready and waiting
for us. The little suitcase with assistive listening devices was in our
room. As was the closed captioned TV. Immediately we were off to the
parks exploring and going on rides. Zach went on the Pirates of Penzance
ride and the Norwegian boat ride. He even got to see the ghosts in the
haunted house. He made sure to tell us when he didn't want to go on
certain rides, but we already knew them.
It was so nice to be on vacation with Zach and have everything work
out well. Companion Service dogs are allowed in public places all over
the United States and the islands that have agreements with the US. That
includes transportation, hotel accommodations, shows, amusement parks,
The people at Disney were very helpful and we felt so comfortable
being there with Zach. Most everyone responded with smiles and
questions. And they all loved Zach. Though Mickey and Pluto were a
little put off. They are people dressed up in costume and it is hard for
them to maneuver so we kept our distance whenever we felt it would be
difficult for the characters.
Zach had no problems doing his business on land. There are several
areas that are designated for animals to relieve themselves. And no one
ever stopped us from any areas. They were too surprised to see us.
After 3 days on land we were whisked to the boat and on our way to
the Bahamas and Castaway Cay.
(This isn't an advertisement for Disney). We checked into our cabin
and went up to the service desk to find out where Zach's on board relief
center was. Now here's the part where things get a little fishy. No one
had told the people on the ship that we were promised an area out of the
way with some bark chips set up for Zach. In fact no one had told the
people on board that a dog was coming. In fact Zach was the first dog to
ride on the Wonder. And only one other dog, a seeing eye dog had ever
been on the Disney Magic boat.
Well being Disney again, they went to work. Someone scooted over to
the local pet shop, bought a huge crate with puppy training pads. I
actually laughed when I saw them and thought oh well, if Zach has an
accident then he has an accident. Afterwards I thought it would have
been better for them to buy mulch. Well Zach is such a well-trained dog
he wouldn't go anywhere on the ship. I even took dirt from a plant and
spread it around hoping it would make him feel more at home.
He was fine going for 5-8 hours without relief, but there was a
17-hour stretch and Zach refused to go. We tried everything, but he kept
his dignity. We were allowed off the ship early at 5 AM the next morning
and Zach was one very happy dog. They were not supposed to let anyone
off the ship at this time, but they called the island harbormaster and
everyone agreed that the dog must go.
The people of the Bahamas were also very accommodating, but it was a
big surprise for them to see Zach, I don't think many of them had seen a
poodle before. The next day we went to the Disney Island of Castaway Cay
and again Zach was right at home.
We all had a wonderful time and have such great memories of a family
vacation all together.
Don't put off going on vacation because you are nervous about your
hearing or your dog. Go! You will have a good time and you will be able
to be together. Be creative! Plan ahead and make the arrangements!
While I sit here writing this article I am in mourning for my dear
friend and wonderful companion. Zach had a very bad form of cancer and
he recently passed away. He was only 4 years old and I'm so grateful
that we had our time together. Thank you DFD.