Join an immersive IMAX adventure to experience the life-saving superpowers and extraordinary bravery of some of the world's most amazing dogs
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Currently playing at Discovery Place Science’s IMAX® Dome Theatre, the film Superpower Dogs introduces us to skilled pups from all over the world. This made us curious about our four-legged heroes at home.
All dog owners and their tail-wagging best friends are familiar with the commands sit, stay and roll over. They’re commonly taught to animals to make life at the dog park a little easier and, sometimes, you may even come across a part-time thespian that can play dead or offer a paw for a dignified shake. We want to introduce you to the dogs from All Aspects Dog Training and Service Dogs and the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office K9-Unit, all of whom take that training a lot further.
All Aspects Dog Training and Service Dogs is a family-owned organization that empowers veterans, children and other individuals who have health concerns with trained dogs like Hercules. Regina Hickey and her daughter Tess Hickey are the owners and head trainers here.
In 2017, they brought 11 puppies to their home to start their nonprofit. At eight weeks old, the pups began positive exercises starting with a process called “free shaping,” which teaches the dogs to think, make decisions and focus. Regina and Tess then use clicker tricks to teach nose and foot targets. At six months old, the puppies start obedience training and their tricks become tasks such as item retrieval, pushing an elevator button, opening a door and more.
As you might expect, living with so many animals can get a little crazy. Not many can say that part of their chore list is to vacuum their living room walls to remove dander, and there’s only so many times Tess can use the excuse that the dog ate her homework, even if it’s true!
Though they hope to one day move operations out of their home, the Hickeys don’t mind the inconveniences too much because they get so much value from the work. Dogs provide veterans with a sense of security and peace of mind. Tess says her favorite part about training dogs is seeing people who weren’t social before return to the public. Their service animals can, quite literally, change their lives.
Hercules was placed with a veteran in Sarasota, Florida who does search and rescue work. He’ll become a “cadaver dog,” training in scent detection so he can locate human remains. In recent years, they’ve also placed a diabetic alert dog, psychiatric service dog, seizure assistance dog and more.
Did you know?
Currently, they are on the search for more dogs to do this important work. It’s not as easy as you may think because not every dog makes the cut to be a service dog. Each dog has to have the right temperament; they can’t be too nervous or get distracted easily.
For more information and to get involved, click here.
The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office K9-Unit is another local resource featuring trained pups and their human partners. Six-year-old Labrador Aggie has been a member of the force for three years alongside Deputy Zackary Morton.
Aggie completes a minimum of 16 hours of training per month to stay proficient. Aggie is a “bomb dog”, which means she’s trained to locate explosives, firearms and ammunition. Deputy Morton guides her during a search, for example, checking vehicles and, if she accurately alerts that she has located an explosive, her reward is her cone toy. (Treats aren’t rewards because they want the dogs to stay in shape.)
Some of Aggie’s coworkers are patrol dogs. They have a different set of skills that help keep the community safe, including tracking and completing drug and area searches. The K-9 unit typically works Carolina Panthers game, parades, festivals, at high schools, the courthouse and sometimes partners with other agencies in nearby counties. If you see Aggie or other working animals around town, make sure to ask the officers before you approach them.
Did you know?
We all worry about these beautiful animals, especially when we see them in a police car on a hot day. However, each car has a custom cage equipped with a heat alarm so that if a dog is left in the vehicle with no air conditioning, the alarm will audibly alert the officer and the car windows will automatically roll down while built-in fans blow cool air into the car.
|10:00 a.m.||Nose-to-Nose||Mackay Field Station|
|10:00 a.m.||Superpower Dogs||IMAX Dome Theatre|
|10:15 a.m.||Science at The Stage||The Stage|
|10:30 a.m.||Story Time||KidScience|
|11:00 a.m.||CUBA in IMAX||IMAX Dome Theatre|
|11:00 a.m.||A World Apart||Rainforest|
|11:15 a.m.||Sub-Zero||The Stage|
|11:30 a.m.||Tommy Thunder's Heavy Metal Lightning Show||Discovery Theatre|
|12:00 p.m.||Superpower Dogs||IMAX Dome Theatre|
|12:00 p.m.||Aquarium Guided Tour||Aquarium|
|12:15 p.m.||Science at The Stage||The Stage|
|1:00 p.m.||CUBA in IMAX||IMAX Dome Theatre|
|1:30 p.m.||A World Apart||Rainforest|
|2:00 p.m.||Worry Dolls||Explore More Collections|
|2:00 p.m.||Superpower Dogs||IMAX Dome Theatre|
|2:15 p.m.||Science at The Stage||The Stage|
|2:30 p.m.||Nose-to-Nose||Rainforest Balcony|
|3:00 p.m.||CUBA in IMAX||IMAX Dome Theatre|
|3:15 p.m.||Aquarium Feeding Tour||Aquarium|
|6:00 p.m.||National Geographic Live: Ocean Soul||N/A|
|Jan 28||National Geographic Live: Ocean Soul|
|Jan 28||Cloud Demo|
|Jan 28||Sustainable Homes|
|Jan 28||Musical Tesla Coil|
|Jan 28||Unclog that Artery|
|Jan 28||Squishy Circuits|
|Jan 31||Worry Dolls|
|Feb 01||Painting with Micropipettes|
|Feb 01||Girls in STEM Workshop: App Development (Grades 2-3)|
|Feb 01||Merit Badge Workshop: Weather|
|Feb 01||Polar Bear Masks|
|Feb 01||Potato Clock|
|Feb 01||Mini Tesla Coil|
|Feb 01||Clay Fossils|
|Feb 01||Girls in STEM Workshop: App Development (Grades 4-5)|
|Feb 01||Girls in STEM Workshop: App Development (Grades 6-8)|
|Feb 01||Merit Badge Workshop: Robotics|
|Feb 02||Girls in STEM Workshop: Special Agent (Grades 6-8)|
|Feb 02||Merit Badge Workshop: Space Exploration|
|Feb 02||Girls in STEM Workshop: Detective (grades 4-5)|
|Feb 08||Antarctic Dinosaurs Member Preview|
|Feb 08||Sustainability Saturday: Water, Water Everywhere|
|Feb 08||Fossil Day|
|Feb 21||Expedition Science on the Rocks|
|Feb 23||Club Dino: Fossil Formations|
|Feb 27||Make & Mingle: Mountains Key Shelf|
|Mar 07||Merit Badge Workshop: Pulp & Paper|
|Mar 07||Merit Badge Workshop: Programming|
|Mar 07||Merit Badge Workshop: Sustainability|
|Mar 08||Merit Badge Workshop: Chemistry|
|Mar 08||Merit Badge Workshop: Oceanography|
|Mar 24||National Geographic Live: Into the Arctic Kingdom|
|Mar 24||National Geographic Live Daytime Show: Into the Arctic Kingdom|
|Apr 25||Girls in STEM Workshop: Space Science Adventurer (Grades 2-3)|
|Apr 25||Girls in STEM Workshop: Space Science Investigator (Grades 4-5)|
|Apr 25||Girls in STEM Workshop: Space Science Researcher (Grades 6-8)|
|Apr 26||Girls in STEM Workshop: Mechanical Engineering Paddle Boat (Grades 4-5)|
|Apr 26||Girls in STEM Workshop: Mechanical Engineering Fling Flyer (Grades 2-3)|
|May 02||Merit Badge Workshop: Oceanography|
|May 02||Merit Badge Workshop: Energy|
|May 02||Merit Badge Workshop: Space Exploration|
|May 03||Merit Badge Workshop: Chess|
|May 16||Girls in STEM Workshop: Explore the Night Sky Planetarium (Grades 6-8)|
|May 16||Girls in STEM Workshop: Explore the Night Sky Planetarium (Grades 4-5)|
|May 16||Girls in STEM Workshop: Explore the Night Sky Planetarium (Grades 2-3)|
|May 17||Girls in STEM Workshop: Digital Movie Maker (Grades 6-8)|
|May 17||Girls in STEM Workshop: Entertainment Technology (Grades 4-5)|
|Jun 20||Merit Badge Workshop: Electricity|
|Jun 20||Merit Badge Workshop: Weather|
|Jun 20||Merit Badge Workshop: Chemistry|
|Jun 21||Merit Badge Workshop: Electronics|
|Aug 29||Merit Badge Workshop: Energy|
|Aug 29||Merit Badge Workshop: Engineering|
|Aug 30||Merit Badge Workshop: Chess|
|Aug 30||Merit Badge Workshop: Sustainability|
|Sep 19||Merit Badge Workshop: Oceanography|
|Sep 19||Merit Badge Workshop: Robotics|
|Sep 20||Merit Badge Workshop: Space Exploration|
|Nov 07||Merit Badge Workshop: Pulp & Paper|
|Nov 07||Merit Badge Workshop: Programming|
|Nov 07||Merit Badge Workshop: Weather|
|Nov 08||Merit Badge Workshop: Chess|
|Dec 05||Merit Badge Workshop: Electricity|
|Dec 05||Merit Badge Workshop: Chemistry|
|Dec 06||Merit Badge Workshop: Electronics|
|Dec 06||Merit Badge Workshop: Sustainability|