ADORABLE PHOTO OF DOGS ATTENDING A STRATFORD PERFORMANCE TAKES OFF ONLINE

A group of service dogs in training took in a performance of Billy Elliot, and charmed the audience and staff

A group of service dogs took in a production of Billy Elliot at the Stratford Festival in Southern Ontario this week. (Stratford Festival )

A photo that appears to show the Stratford Festival going to the dogs is winning hearts online.

The picture shows a group of pooches ranging from poodles to golden retrievers sitting patiently in their cushy seats, taking in a production of Billy Elliot at the Stratford Festival last week.

But while the photo may be fun, it turns out the dogs’ mission is serious: they’re training to be service dogs, and they’re practicing what it’s like to help their handlers navigate through a theatre.

“It’s important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend,” says Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer with K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, who led the Stratford Festival outing.

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