Not All Families Are Going To The Dogs

, , , , , | Friendly | April 17, 2019

(A friend and I go to the mall together. We both have service dogs, both for different conditions. We’re in the food court, trying to decide what to eat. A stranger comes up to us with her three young kids.)

Mother #1: “Oh, look at the pretty doggies!”

(My friend and I exchange looks. We know exactly where this is going.)

Mother #1: “Do you guys want to pet the doggies?”

(Another mother with a young child, about four or five, comes up. She’s noticed the other family eyeing our service dogs.)

Mother #2: *loudly* “[Son], do you see those two dogs?”

Son: “Yes! Can I pet them?”

Mother #2: “Nope, do you see what they’re wearing?”

Son: “They have coats on! Why are they wearing coats?”

Mother #2: “It means they’re working. Some dogs have very important jobs. You know how [Name] helps people who can’t do some things by themselves?”

Son: “Yeah! He helps them go out and get food and medicine and do fun stuff!”

Mother #2: “Well, those dogs do that, too. Some help blind people, some help people get around, and some even warn people if they’re going to eat something they’re allergic to!”

Son: “That’s so cool!”

Mother #2: “But if you pet them, you’ll distract them from doing their important job! So, that’s why you never, ever pet a dog wearing that vest!”

Son: “Okay, Mommy!”

(The first family seems to have understood and wanders off. I go to the second mom and thank her.)

Mother #2: “Oh, it’s all right. My nephew is an aide for people with disabilities; he works with some people with service dogs and says it’s the biggest problem.”

(We ended up buying her and her son ice cream. The son wanted to learn all about service dogs, so we talked for a while about what ours do. He also told us to tell them they were doing a very, very good job!)


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