Thinks He’s The Top Dog

, , , , | Friendly | April 23, 2019

(When I walk my dogs, one of them wears a “halti,” basically a horse-style halter for dogs. This lets us tug on her chin instead of her neck, perfect for a dog who would otherwise spend every moment of a walk with her nose to the ground. We’re sitting at the park and a guy walks by on the way to the restroom.)

Guy: “I see your dog’s wearing a muzzle. I was a dog trainer in the army for ten years, and I’m used to dealing with aggressive dogs. Maybe I can help.”

Me: “Thanks, but we’re good.”

(The guy sort of shrugs and continues on his way. The way a halti fits around the dog’s face, it DOES look a bit like a muzzle. It’s an honest mistake that many people make. However, they’re common enough that I’d expect a “professional” dog trainer to be well aware of their existence even it if wasn’t something they used themselves. Assuming the interaction is over, my companion and I continue our conversation. However, when the guy comes out of the bathroom, he approaches us again.)

Guy: “Now.” *staring at my pup* “What seems to be the problem?”

(The words seem innocuous in writing, but his tone was, for lack of a better word, aggressive. Not wanting to embarrass him, I’d refrained from correcting him before, but since he insisted on butting into our business, I explain:)

Me: “Actually, this isn’t a muzzle; it’s a halti.”

(That’s when my dog — the sweetest, most lovable little lab mix anyone could ever want, a dog who’s all wags and licks when she meets new people — starts snarling. Her teeth are bared, hackles raised, the whole shebang. I’ve never seen her behave like that in her entire life. She clearly wants nothing to do with this dude, who now has a smug look on his face.)

Guy: “See? I knew your dog was vicious.”

(Finally, after standing there staring for what felt like forever and causing the dog to stress out more and more, he took the hint and left, but I wonder… was he just a blowhard trying to impress strangers with his “dog training expertise”? Or was he an actual dog trainer who gave off such a bad vibe that he couldn’t even approach a sweet-tempered family pet without freaking it out? If that were the case, no wonder he was used to working with “aggressive” animals. Either way, I agreed with the dog. Grrr.)

This IS The Cat You Are Looking For!

, , , , | Hopeless | April 22, 2019

(My friend loves cats; her husband does not. After much discussion they agree to adopt one, but they must both agree on the cat. At the shelter they are introduced to many cats, but my friend’s husband isn’t too keen on any of them. Then, my friend notices one last cage tucked away in the corner, which turns out to belong to a timid little grey female. The shelter employee opens up the cage so they can interact with her, but as my friend’s husband reaches in to pet her the tiny, wide-eyed girl lets out a fearful hiss. My friend fears this is that is the end of that, but instead he turns to her with a wide grin.)

Husband: “I like this one; she sounds like Darth Vader!”

(They took her home that day. Three years later, she is still the undisputed queen of their house and the perfect cat for them.)

A Likely Story, Teach

, , , , , | Learning | April 22, 2019

(I’m in the fifth grade. I turn in a math assignment. A week later, I get it back, torn up. This is what is written on it, paraphrased.)

Teacher: “You did a good job. My dog thought so, too.”

(That was the first time I’ve ever heard about a teacher’s dog eating homework!)

Please Leave A Message After The Heckin’ Bork

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 18, 2019

When answering machines are still relatively new contraptions for home use in the mid-80s, my parents get one for our house. Our dog has been trained to bark on command via hand signals, so, for the novelty value, it’s decided at some point that the greeting message will be the dog barking a few times.

Normally, we don’t get a lot of calls — just family every so often. One day, we return to find the machine blinking that there are a number of messages waiting. The cassette is rewound and the first several messages are nothing but hangups. After a couple of these, there’s finally a stranger’s voice:

“Martha! MARTHA! COME QUICK! They’ve trained a dog to answer the phone!”

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 per 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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