Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Service Dogs and Public Interactions

I had an interesting visit to the grocery store the other day. I was stopped by an older lady who was shopping for produce as I was. She came over and thanked me for having a patch on my service dog Duchess that said do not pet. I was so surprised by this because I have been cursed at for not allowing people to pet my service dog. Thanking me for making it clear to her that she should not pet.

I really wish there were more people who understood how important not petting is. I have a service dog who can get distracted quite easily at times and which can have detrimental effects for me. In fact when I was going to college people were constantly petting her even with her patches on and she stopped working. It took weeks of hard work to get her back on track. Some service dogs can be pet but mine is much more sensitive than some peoples dog which is fine with me.

I know the woman told me that she had never heard of a diabetic alert dog but thought it was wonderful. She was very nice and luckily did not say to me the typical line I have a friends who has diabetes too. I really enjoy hearing that at lease some of the public is aware of the service dog etiquette which is wonderful. The best part of where I currently work is that most people I encounter do seem to know as well.

Except an encounter last week as I was walking back into my building at work as this young man kept walking faster and closer to Duchess and I. I thought he might try and pet her and sure enough. I saw his hand moving toward her and I said stop don't touch my dog. He goes why won't you let me pet her. I said she is a service dog and as her patches state Do NOT PET. He then looks at me and says I find the patches to be too confusing. I don't think they make a patch any clearer than that. The funny part of this for me is that I have seen kids at the grocery store read the patches and tell their siblings that they should not pet her. So I really think the young man just didn't want to follow what the patch requested.

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