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There Are No Bad Dogs, Just Bad Owners

, , | Right | March 4, 2022

I am part of a volunteer group of therapy dog handlers. We are trained and licensed by a national therapy dog group, but we have no uniform, our dogs have a little collar tag rather than a vest or bandanna, and any dog with the right temperament is welcome. We have mixed breeds, purebreds, little dogs, big dogs… we’re a motley group, but we love what we do and we’re good at it.

We were invited to come to a recovery event for a town that recently suffered a 100-year flood. As we mingled with local residents, dispensing lots of puppy love, in walked two more handlers. 

These ladies were in matching khakis and logoed polos, and their beautiful, wonderfully clipped and groomed Golden retrievers were wearing matching vests. Our leader went up to greet them and was told very rudely that they (the polo ladies) were part of a specially trained crisis/comfort unit out of the largest city in our state, and they preferred not to work with amateurs.

Before turning their backs on us, one of the polo ladies cast her eyes at one of our volunteers, standing there in a T-shirt, peasant skirt, and sensible shoes, with her standard poodle (who is clipped for comfort, not show).

Polo Lady: *Snottily* “What kind of training have you done?”

Volunteer: *Sweetly* “I have a Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology, and I’m the director of the Canine Behavior and Cognition Lab at [State University].”

Polo lady sniffed and walked away. To their credit, let it be said that their dogs were wonderful.

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