The Oct. 7 training day gave service animals the chance to ride the bus for free around Anaheim Resort District to get accustomed to real-life conditions
ORANGE – At one curb, Molly the white lab mix, wagged her tail as the ramp came to a stop and she successfully guided her trainer onto an OC ACCESS paratransit bus.
A few feet away, a black lab mix named Daisy, hesitated as the doors of a 40-foot OC Bus swung open, sitting at the curb as a coach operator welcomed her inside. But with a little encouragement from her trainer, Daisy led the way onto the bus and happily to her spot under a bus seat next to a line of other canines ready to serve.
In all, more than 155 dogs and their trainers took advantage of OCTA’s semi-annual Service Animal Training in Anaheim on Saturday, Oct. 7. The day allows dogs training to serve people with special needs practice with distractions and loud noises – yelling, pops, screeches – everything they could encounter on the streets of Orange County and wherever they travel.
Trainers came to the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) by car and train from all over Orange County and surrounding counties to ride OC Buses, dispatched every 20 minutes, to stops at GardenWalk shopping center and Downtown Disney.
Participants from organizations such as The Guide Dogs for the Blind and Canine Companions routinely participate in the training – both for puppy practice and for building stronger human relationships. OCTA has been holding the training for more than a decade, usually about every six months. The day of practice for service dogs was put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic but resumed last year. The next training has yet to be scheduled but will likely take place in spring 2024.
For more information and updates, visit octa.net/ServiceAnimal.