Service dogs alight at the museum

(Lots of pictures below!) Last Friday (a week ago), we went to the Discovery Place Science museum in Charlotte, North Carolina with Scarlet and Skyler with Korra. This was our last Service Dogs on the Town class for a while, since that will be on hiatus until further notice. Contact me if you’re interested in joining us in the future!

The day started out eventfully, with Scarlet having a swarm of termites in their house and needing to come over to our place to get away from them. On the ride back to our house, Hestia was really going to town alerting to and trying to calm Scarlet down. When we got to our place, Hestia continued to help Scarlet. It was really sweet to see Hestia helping someone else!

The exterminator ended up calling and being able to come that morning to give a quote, so we headed back over there, and then back home before Skyler came over. Since Hestia was helping Scarlet so much and Scarlet was having such a hard time with their anxiety about the termites, we decided that Scarlet would handle Hestia and I would handle Alice.

The day before I had done a lot of stuff around the house and my hips were really sore, so I ended up taking the manual wheelchair. Somehow we fit four people, three wheelchairs, and three dogs all in our van!

When we got to the parking area, we found we could only fit one wheelchair at a time into their elevators. So every time we had to take elevators, we had to go in three shifts!

Hestia started off in Scarlet’s lap, but pretty soon they realized they wanted to try pouching Hestia instead. So I gave Scarlet the more comfortable padded pouch for Hestia, and I took the old black one for Alice. It was pretty fun going around the museum together!

My arm was still quite sore, so while I could push myself a tiny bit, it still hurt to do so. Plus my hands make pushing myself pretty difficult normally anyhow. So we took turns with Brad pulling me behind his power wheelchair by way of an umbrella we use for the purpose and with Skyler pushing me.

Skyler with Korra, Veronica in a manual wheelchair with Alice, and Scarlet in a power wheelchair with Hestia look at the camera
We could bear it together! Skyler with Korra pushing Veronica with Alice. Scarlet with Hestia follows behind.

The first section we came to was all about frogs, and I had a very hard time seeing them!

Veronica with Alice pushing herself around the frog exhibit as Skyler with Korra walks by.

We saw the small aquarium section of the museum, and the dogs liked watching the fish!

Veronica with Alice and Scarlet with Hestia look at the camera with aquarium fish in the background.

Next we visited the downstairs part of the rainforest. We forgot to go in the upstairs part later on, bummer! I love that room!

Skyler with Korra pushes Veronica with Alice and Scarlet with Hestia follows behind. They are in front of a giant window looking out into the rainforest room.

When we went upstairs, we headed first to the reason we wanted to go to the museum—they had an exhibit on mental health! It was a pretty good exhibit. When we walked in, the first thing we noticed was a display for animal assisted therapy. They had an animatronic cat and dog as part of the display. Korra was very intrigued by them, but the Chin didn’t seem to care (Hestia and Alice are Japanese Chin dogs).

Korra sniffs the animatronic dog while Skyler sits on the couch.

I had the problem of not being able to see the language buttons for displays that talked, and I’d inevitably end up picking the Spanish option LOL!

Skyler with Korra pushes Veronica with Alice past a green wall hanging.

They had a worry machine that shredded worries for you in a manual paper shredder which was pretty cool.

Black and white photo of Skyler with Korra shredding their worries as Veronica and Scarlet look on.

They also had displays where you conquered your fear of the dark.

Scarlet, Skyler, and Veronica are on three giant computer screens using their hands to direct digital flashlights and find creatures.

One game I really liked was a quiz game where we could all four play at once and answer trivia questions about mental illness. We all did pretty well, getting 80 or 90%!

Scarlet, Veronica, and Skyler sit around a white digital table that is a trivia game.

They had a fun room where there were colored lights and you danced in the manner of a picture shown on the screen. So they’d put up a kangaroo or waves or something, and you’d try to dance like that.

They also had these giant emotion masks which made for some really cool pictures in mirrors.

Skyler wears an angry mask while grabbing the top of it as there is a sad mask behind them.
Korra looks in the mirror up at Alice, who is also reflected in the mirror looking back.

Scarlet started to get tired, so we quickly breezed our way through the rest of the museum which was a bunch of interactive fun displays about the body and physics. Next time we’ll have to spend more time looking at them! While doing so, Hestia made it known that she wanted to be with me now, and not Scarlet. So I put Hestia on my lap and kept Alice in the pouch. It worked out pretty well!

We headed down the street to Crunch Bistro for some snacks afterward. They had a nice little patio overlooking a very busy street where we could eat safely. Brad got to be a model! He is wearing a blue blazer, a goldfish pin, and a dark brown and orange hat.

On the way back to the car, we had to go down a really big hill. It is really hard to control someone else in a wheelchair going down a big hill, and even harder to slow yourself with your hands if you’re in the wheelchair. So since it was a short walk, I decided to walk it and push the wheelchair. Since my arm was still so sore, I couldn’t have Hestia on the floor and hold the leash with my normal hand. So I put her in the wheelchair and she surfed! She really had a great time surfing LOL!

We got back just in time for Skyler to get to work, and we were all pretty exhausted. It was a good outing, but very tiring. It also taught me that really if I’m going to be using a wheelchair long term, I need a power one. I’ve had arthritis in my hands since 7th grade (that’s what it was diagnosed as then, just random nonspecific arthritis), and so I can’t really push myself. So things to think about for the future depending on what the rheumatologist says.

Pictures are below! Alice is a tiny sable and white Japanese Chin in a black pouch. Hestia is a black and white Chin in a rainbow pouch. Korra is a sable Standard Poodle in a black vest.

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