Doesn’t Have To Be Dog Eat Dog

| Friendly | January 21, 2016

(I am flying with my dog in-cabin. While he’s generally very good with the security screening process, he can get excited if people pay him attention. I have just cleared the metal detector with him in my arms and been asked to go through a residue test by the TSA agent. I walk over for the agent to swab my hands, dog still in my arms, when a little girl runs up and tries to pet my dog.)

Me: “Sweetie, please go back to your parents for a minute. Once I’m done with this test and have my dog’s collar and leash back on, you can pet him, okay?”

Little Girl: “Okay! I’ll pet him in a minute!” *skips away*

(I am cleared from the residue test and walk over to the baggage belt to put my dog’s collar and leash back on and put him back in his carrier. While I am just about done with clipping his collar back on, someone grabs my arm and forcefully turns me around, leaving my dog unsecured, halfway into his carrier, with no leash or collar on.)

Man: *yelling* “Did you tell my little girl that she couldn’t pet your dog?”

Me: *scrambling to make sure my dog is controlled so that I don’t cause a disruption, and therefore turning away from the man* “I don’t know. I told a little girl that she’d have to wait to pet him. Right now, I just need to secure him unless you want this whole airport shut down to search for a loose dog. Please step away until I can get his leash back on.”

(I somehow manage to clip my dog’s collar, leash attached, back on, while this man continues to tower over me, TSA agents closing in to diffuse the situation. Once I have my dog secured again, I turn back to him.)

Me: “So, I assume that was your daughter who came up and tried to pet him while I was still being screened? As I told her, she’s welcome to pet my dog now that we’re finished with screening and he’s back on his leash, but it’s obvious that you need a little more self-control as well as control over your children!”

Little Girl: *coming up from behind the man* “He’s on his leash now. Can I pet him?”

Me: “Of course, sweetheart. We just need to walk over to these benches so that we don’t keep other people from getting their bags.”

(I grab my purse, lift my dog out of his carrier on the belt, grab his carrier, and walk over to the bench. She and the man follow.)

Me: “He likes to get pets, but you understand that you have to ask and get permission before petting a dog, right?”

Little Girl: “I will ask. He’s so funny! He keeps knocking my hand onto his head.”

Me: “He likes you.” *I smile at her… Truth told, my dog likes everyone, with a soft spot for kids*

Man: “Uh, I guess I owe you an apology.”

Me: “You do, but you can pay it forward by keeping a better eye on her and NEVER, EVER treating anyone like you did me again.”

Man: “Yeah, I suppose that was a bad choice. Come on, [Little Girl], we have to get to our plane. I’m sorry, for as much as that’s worth.”

(I do hope he learned his lesson. Holiday travel is stressful, but his five-ish-year-old was more understanding than he was, initially…)

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