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Puppy Love In The Time Of Corona

, , , , , , | Right | May 18, 2020

During the start of the panic buying, I need to go to the grocery store. I happen to be walking near an older man who has a service dog.

He and I are acquaintances, so I know his service dog is to detect serious allergic reactions and help him avoid them. His allergies are to things that are often “accidentally” omitted or lied about on labels, such as, for example, when something is labeled as gluten-free on the front, but on the back, a gluten-producing substance is listed. The dog is dutifully sniffing the edges of boxes of produce, and the man is sometimes directing the dog to sniff specific products.

A mother with a baby in the cart and a three-to-four-year-old girl holding onto the side of the cart come from around the corner. They happen to join us in this aisle and the little girl gets excited, gasping loudly, almost shouting.

Girl: “A PUPPY!”

The little girl lets go of the cart and starts to run towards the service dog. I immediately prepare to intercept by “incidentally” moving my cart sideways in the aisle. The mother calls out, sternly but quietly.

Mom: “Come back here right now, [Girl]! Remember what I said before about approaching strangers?”

The girl returns to holding onto the side of the cart, looking anxious.

Mom: “Not only could you get sick if you got too close to a sick person, but also… You see how the dog is wearing a vest? That means the dog is working. You can’t bother the dog when they’re working, just like with your dad when he’s in the office at home.”

The girl is disappointed but not sulking too much.

Girl: “Oh, okay.”

The man with the service dog smiled at the mother. Relieved that he wouldn’t be bothered, I returned to my own shopping. Lady, thank you for doing your best to keep your kid from distracting service dogs and for reminding your child about safety during an outbreak!

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