Training around taxidermy—a museum meetup

On Friday my service dogs on the town class went to the Museum of York County, which has a bunch of taxidermy from all around the world plus faux taxidermy of some of the ice age animals that lived in our area.

This museum has sometimes been great about Hestia, but other times people have been upset at us or rude to us because of my service dog. So when we met up outside, I prepared everyone for what we might face. Importantly, their newest exhibit has simple railings separating you from the specimens, and these railings are alarmed so if your dog’s tail goes under them, an alarm will go off. So we had to prepare for that as well!

Everyone but Brad who is taking the picture stands in front of the museum as sunbeams shine over the building and make an interesting lens flare.

Luckily when we entered, everyone we encountered was very happy to see us and our service dogs! They all admired the dogs but didn’t ask to pet, which was nice!

Some people waiting in line to pay, paying, or sitting down in the lobby area while a museum employee talks with Veronica about the service dogs.
Phyllis and Avalanche walk down the hallway after entering the museum

We started off going through the hands-on specimen room. This room is full of bones, taxidermy, and other artifacts that you can touch and interact with. The dogs did a great job not sniffing these interesting smelling dead things! They had a display of three large bears and we got a great group shot in front of it.

Everyone except Phyllis and Avalanche poses in front of a three taxidermied bears
Skyler and Korra walk down the aisle way with taxidermied animals on the side

Next we headed to the ice age part of the museum. That is my favorite part! While most of the exhibits are alarmed behind a railing, they do have a giant armadillo for kids to climb on. Skyler was the only one who could climb on it, and the rest of us arranged ourselves around it for a group photo.

Skyler sits on a giant metal Armadillo while all the other humans and dogs are arranged around it.

They also have a little metal warthog on the floor where I got a picture with Hestia that includes a giant mammoth behind us!

Veronica and Hestia sit next to the warthog while a mammoth looms in the background
Sabrina and Indy pose for the camera while in front of some fake rocks
Skyler with Korra and Veronica with Hestia sit on a rock bench while their dogs sit on the floor

At the end of that section is a tiny room for examination of the fossils people find, and it was crowded in there!

Everyone crowded into the fossil exam room, but Sabrina with Indy is hidden in the doorway behind Skyler and Scarlet

We ended up going through the last three rooms of the museum with taxidermy in them of more recent local animals, and that was pretty fun. Especially the last room which is more of an interactive room for kids with lots of things to climb on and play with. The dogs and humans had fun posing on these fake rocks and logs!

Korra sits on a fake rock next to Skyler, while in the background you can just barely make out Veronica and Hestia on the treehouse platform

We hung out for a while in this last room talking, and Brad got a great shot of Korra the Standard Poodle through a hollowed out fake log! There are also lots of great shots of the pups hanging out together.

Korra looks through the hollow log at Brad taking the picture
The four service dogs are in varying states of relaxation while the humans hang out and talk
Veronica sits on a log with Hestia in her lap last Korra and Avalanche lie on the ground in front of her

I am really proud of how the dogs did in the museum! None of them had any problems with the taxidermy at all. The only issue any dog had was that Hestia was too excited to see her friends and kept pulling to try to keep up with them. And the staff were great—one of the interpreters came with us into the ice age exhibit and explained all the specimens to us, which was really really nice.

Pictures are below. In them there are four dogs: Hestia, a black and white Japanese Chin; Korra, a sable Standard Poodle; Indy, a Golden Retriever; and Avalanche, a Pyrenees mix. Their handlers are Veronica (me!), Skyler, Sabrina (who uses a manual wheelchair), and Phyllis. In addition we had Scarlet using a manual wheelchair and Brad using a power wheelchair (whom I forgot to get any photos of, sorry!).

Leave a Reply