Love And Candy Go Hand In Hand

, , , , , | Right | November 21, 2019

(I’m working in the women’s department. We only sell clothing and a few accessories, but we have a small dish of candy that customers can take from for free. A mother with a daughter who’s about five and a son of eight comes into the department.)

Boy: “Mom, is anything in here free?”

Mother: “No, nothing in life is free. Only the candy in this store is free.”

Girl: “Momma, love is free.”

Mother: *to boy* “Your sister is right; love is free, but that’s it.” *to the girl* “Good one!”

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Princess Of The Caribbean

, , , , , , | Right | November 1, 2019

(I’m the second customer in line at a convenience store, and it’s the day after Halloween. A dad and his daughter — about eight and very pretty — are checking out in front of me. The clerk asks the daughter the exact same thing I was thinking:)

Clerk: “What did you dress up as for Halloween? I bet you were a princess!’”

Daughter: *emphatically and sternly* “NO! I was a PIRATE!”

(We are all going to be working for that girl one day.)

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Cats Always Land On Their Feet, Wherever They Are

, , , , , , , | Friendly | October 17, 2019

(I have recently adopted a new kitten. I am taking him to the vet to get his vaccinations and to get neutered. He is sitting in a cat carrier next to me in the waiting room. As cats often do, he is sitting with his paws all tucked under his body so you can’t see any of them. A little girl, about five or so, approaches me and we have the following exchange:)

Girl: “I have a really important question about your cat!”

Me: “Absolutely. What’s up?”

Girl: “I’ve never had a cat! I’ve got a dog–” *points to her dog* “–and I was wondering if you brought your cat to the vet because he doesn’t have any feet? I would worry if my dog didn’t have any feet.”

(I start laughing and pull my kitten out of the carrier, revealing that he did in fact, have feet. She was very relieved.)

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Feel “Free” To Go Aww

, , , , , , | Hopeless | September 17, 2019

(I train seeing-eye dogs and service animals for a living and have for the past ten years. The number of people who ignore a vest on a dog ceased to surprise me many years ago. On this day, I have three six-month-old golden retriever pups with me who are being trained as therapy companion animals — not seeing-eye dogs — so their training is a little different, and it’s not as strict as it is for dogs who need to be alert animals or guide dogs. I’ve taken them down to the dog park for socialising in their little vests that state they’re in training. When we get there, the dog park is mostly empty, save for a young couple in their 20s and their four- or five-year-old daughter. They’re throwing a ball for a chocolate lab puppy around the same age as my trio of loveable idiots, and mine are whining at me because they want to be “freed” to chase the ball. Sticking to their training, they’re sitting at my feet practically vibrating with excitement. The little girl tosses the ball and it rolls within three feet of my pups, who all amp up their whining. The other family’s dog seems to get spooked by mine, so it hangs back, and the little girl comes to retrieve the ball.)

Little Girl: “Oh! Mummy! Puppies!”

(I’m already impressed that she hasn’t barrelled forward to grab at the pups like most kids her age would do; even adults tend to think that because they’re small and cute they are up for grabs. While they all frantically wag their tails at the thought of a new friend, they stay seated. The little girl cocks her head to the side and starts sounding out the letters on their vests.)

Little Girl: “T… tr… tra… Train! Excuse me, are these train dogs?”

(Her parents have come over and we all giggle at her saying “train dogs.”)

Dad: “They say, ‘dog in training,’ sweetie. What does it mean when a doggy has a vest on with words on it?”

Little Girl: *sadly* “To leave them alone because they’re doing a job. I just wanted to look at them; they’re cute.”

(Her own puppy has sidled forward to sniff at mine, who are all ready to explode by this point but are still seated, waiting for the all-clear. The mum calls her dog back and holds his collar, apologising.)

Me: “That’s fantastic! You’re very clever. But guess what? These puppies are learning to be good friends to kids who need to feel safe and loved, so they can play. You ready guys? FREE!”

(The three balls of golden fluff EXPLODED from at my feet. They started running in circles, pawing at the other puppy, yipping excitedly, and licking the little girls’ shoes. Her face was something I’ll remember forever; a kid getting to play in a pile of puppies is something truly magical. She asked lots of questions about different kinds of helper dogs, and promised me she wouldn’t bother any dogs in vests unless their human said it was okay. Her parents thanked me, but I thanked them, as well, as learning to behave around kids is something very important to support dogs and we got in some great practice that day. That kiddo was so great for already knowing what a service animal was. I hope I can meet more like her in the future.)

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The Only Thing Cuter Than A Puppy Is a Meet-Cute

, , , , , , , | Related | August 31, 2019

(I am watching my niece for the afternoon. I work from home, so on days when her parents can’t get someone to watch her, they ask if she can play in my living room while I work. She’s very good about not disturbing me without asking, “Can Uncle can go on break?” so it works out. After I get off early for the day because of working too long the day before, I decide to take her to the park for how good she’s been. While there, we run into a neighbor with a service dog.)

Niece: “PUPPY!” *runs to pet it*

Me: “[Niece]! Stop right there!”

(She freezes.)

Me: “Sweetie, do you see how that dog has a vest on it?”

Niece: “Uh-huh! It’s cute!”

Me: “Sweetie, dogs with vests on them are special. They’re working dogs. That means that the dog is working right now.”

Niece: “Oh. So, I shouldn’t bother it while it’s working?”

Me: “Right! Not unless it’s on break. Just like Uncle [My Name].”

Niece: “Okay!” *walks slowly up to my neighbor* “Excuse me, boss lady. Is it okay for the puppy to go on break so I can pet it?”

Neighbor: “Oh, my! What a little cutie! Yes, sweetie, and call me Miss [Neighbor]. The dog is [Dog]! [Dog], you are now on break! Sit!”

(The dog sits down and looks at my niece.)

Niece: “Yay!” *pets the dog and gives him a hug* “Okay, [Dog]! Time to go back to work! Thank you, Miss [Neighbor]!”

Neighbor: “Oh, no, sweetie. He needs a longer break than that. You keep on playing with him. [My Name], who is this little sweetheart? And why haven’t you introduced us before?”

Me: *explains the situation* “And I just happened to get off early today, so we came to the park. It’s about time for us to head back so her parents can get her, though. [Niece], are you ready to go home?”

Niece: “Okay! Can I walk next to [Dog] and watch him work?”

Neighbor: “Of course, you can! [Dog]! Time to go home!”

(As we walk back, I get a call from her parents who let me know that they are running late, and ask me to give my niece dinner if I can.)

Me: “[Niece], sweetie. Mommy and Daddy are running late so you’re having dinner with me tonight. What would you like for dinner?”

Niece: “I want Miss [Neighbor] to have dinner with us!”

Me: “I.. bu… wha… I guess if she wants to? But we still need to figure out what to eat. Do you want spaghetti?”

Niece: “Okay!”

Neighbor: “Oh, that sounds lovely! Can I bring some wine over?”

Me: “Only if you’re okay with cracking it after she leaves.”

(And that is the story of how my niece chose who was going to be her aunt.)

 

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