GUEST ARTICLE IN THE FORM OF A MESSAGE TO THE PUBLIC REGARDING INTERACTIONS WITH WORKING DOGS
When you ask to pet a working dog, don’t be upset if you get a short answer. You’re not the first person we’ve had ask that day, hell you’re probably not even the second person in an hour that has asked to touch or has touched without permission.
Don’t get upset because we get short with you, get upset because so many people have already done what you have tried to do that you have put us on the defensive before you even get close to us.
Before you even say a word, I know. I try to get in the way.
Before you even reach out, I know. I try to say no.
Before you even get close to us, I know. I try to get the dog into a position where you can’t touch him.
I don’t want to hear about how you lost your dog, I’ve already heard another story today. I don’t want to hear about how your friend raises guide dog puppies, it’s got nothing to do with me.
I don’t want to tell you what conditions I have, it’s got nothing to do with you. I don’t want to let your kids pet my dog, he’s not there for your entertainment.
You can huff, puff, make comments, you’re not the first one to do it and you definitely will not be the last. You can get upset, lose your temper, call us names and become a two year old. We’ve seen it all before.
So when you see a working dog all decked out in its gear, and you see its handler walking next to it, leave the damn dog alone so we can go about our day.