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Has A Sudden Vested Interest

, , , , , | Friendly | September 26, 2017

(My wife has a service dog, a German Shepherd, for an invisible disability. Some people seem to have trouble with the concept of a service dog, even when he’s wearing his vest. On this day, we are walking through a pet store with him in full gear, in a bright red vest with “Do Not Pet” on it in several places.)

Woman: *comes around the corner with a little girl of about six, and gasps loudly when she sees the dog* “Oh, honey, look at that doggy! Isn’t he cute in his nice vest? Isn’t he a cute doggy?”

Me: *stepping around so I’m slightly between the dog and the woman* “Aw, thank you. Yeah, he’s a good boy, helping his mommy.” *This usually deters them from asking to pet him without making them uncomfortable, but this lady is having none of that.*

Woman: *completely ignoring me and talking to the little girl* “Isn’t he a cute doggy? You wanna pet the doggy? He’s a pretty doggy, isn’t he? You wanna pet him?”

Me: *stepping more firmly between the woman and the dog* “He’s actually working, so he has to stay focused. He can have pets when he’s out of his vest, but he’s got a very important job right now.”

(I’m speaking mostly to the little girl, who doesn’t seem very interested in petting the dog in the first place.)

Woman: *still COMPLETELY ignoring me* “He’s a nice doggy, huh? You wanna pet him? Let’s go pet him.”

(At this point, the woman grabs the little girl and tries to walk around me, shoving the girl’s hand towards the dog, even though she doesn’t look like she wants to pet the dog. At this point, I’m floored, as I’ve never had someone try to pet him even after I told them they couldn’t. I throw my arm out, physically blocking her from getting past me.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but you can’t pet him. He’s working. He’s a service dog for my wife, and he needs to focus on her. You can pet him when his vest is off, but not right now.

Woman: *looking like she’s only just noticed me, and scowling* “Can you take the vest off, then?”

Me: *astonished, and more than a little angry* “No.”

Woman: *glares at me and snatches the girl’s hand away* “Well, you didn’t have to be rude about it.” *leaves*

Me: *speechless*

(Respect the vest, people! I get that she wanted to show the little girl all the “cute doggies,” but touching a dog when their owner says you can’t is never okay, service dog or not.)

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