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fireworks and an open letter to the public

It's already started.

Loretta had her first experience with fireworks last night. The neighbors haven't started lighting them yet, but there was a big show a few blocks away which was quite loud. I had the balcony door ajar so that I could hear the beginning of it, and she was rather curious. So I took her out on the balcony because I could pop her back inside if she became upset. Fireworks light up before they pop; and I noticed that she would look toward them as they lit up and then turn away when they popped. When they got really basey, she became annoyed, and I popped her inside and stood out on the porch for about 20 seconds to watch. After a big series of boomers, I stepped inside. She was digging in the litter box (uncharacteristic, and I may need to note that this is her stress behavior). She didn't want her bone and was not really interested in getting petted. She did take a biscuit and did like getting groomed as long as she could face the windows. After the big finale, she needed to relieve badly.

We have a few more nights of this, and it's probably only going to get worse. The neighbors will start lighting them up this weekend, and it won't really stop until the Fourth. We will definitely not be going to hear the symphony in the park as I planned to do tomorrow.

I'd like for my dog to get a breather soon. I still haven't written up the text version of the crazy driver and the street crossing from our second weekend home. It upset me so much that I couldn't write about it, and then we had camp meeting and I've had no time. Camp meeting was not a bad experience, but it brought a lot of petting, eye contact, and syrupy speech; and I am having to really crack down on the work around people and be a lot harder than I want to be with her. The other day I was in a restaurant and asked someone not to pet her; and the person said quite offendedly, "Why not?" as if I was some kind of horrid person for not allowing my dog to be petted. I said, "Because I need her attention on me, and not on you." No matter how many times I have explained this in 16 years, it never gets easier emotionally. I've had to bodily remove the hands of people as they were saying, "I know you're not supposed to pet them, but I can't help myself." It's very hard to do such a thing with grace, and I feel like taking the wheel of their car and saying, "I know I'm not supposed to drive your car, but I just can't help myself." It's not so hard when it's a child; but I assume that adults should at least respect me enough to refrain because I ask them not to. Many do, and I'm very grateful for them. I wish the rest were as respectful. Unfortunately, some adults in this world disguise their selfishness as "concern for animals" or some such thing. If I could, I would try to communicate things like:

  • When walking down the street, please say hello to the person and not the dog. The person will say hello back. The dog will yank the person off course because it's so excited about you, and the person will fall down and be injured, or at least jerk the dog and make you feel guilty or angry. It's an avoidable problem.
  • Please tell me, not my dog, that my dog is beautiful. I appreciate the compliment, and one time is all that's necessary. The dog doesn't need to hear it 15 times with baby-talk "yeah" in between. She won't understand the words any of those times, and you will have just cost me five minutes of my trip and probably a bit of my orientation and patience in the process. If my dog is lying quietly, I'd like her to remain that way and not get up in response to your crooning.
  • If you don't want my dog's nose in your plate, please dont' become her friend. Be mine. I'm very happy to control her; but my control is only as effective as your lack of flirtation with her.
  • Yes, my dog is trained. She stays trained because she gets an evaluation every time we work. Please don't entice her to do anything other than her job. Her work requires an intense bond with her supervisor, and she really needs to prefer my praise to your attention.

In short, connect with the person and not the disability.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 30th, 2007 05:36 pm (UTC)
I understand your frustration over how people treat your dog, but remember that they are just ignorant.

But, if they DO ignore your requests, just go ahead and be rude. You tried to be nice, and they ignored it. If they get mad, let them get mad.

Can't be nice to everyone, right?
Jun. 30th, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC)
Oh my word, my neighbors have started their fireworks already for sure! Matter of fact, I heard some going off Tuesday night while I was watching the BET awards. Why these morons were out popping off fireworks at 10:30 on a Tuesday night I will never know, but then again there's lots of things people do that I'll never understand and probably don't want to.

You mentioning synphony in the park reminds me that, dang it, once again I didn't talk to the parents about getting tickets for synphony on the prairie. And I'd really like to see that! Oh well, guess it'll be next year, again. I just forget about these things until the 4th is approaching!

And as for folks who pet guide dogs..... I don't even have one and every time I read about it I kind of thank God I don't, because my patience level with idiots like that would surely have me in trouble if I had to deal with them all the time. Much respect to all of you who manage to keep it together and not go off on these folks who just won't get a clue!
Jun. 30th, 2007 09:42 pm (UTC)
fireworks, dogs, etc.
LOL! Fireworks time is really the time when I feel like I live in some hick town or something. It's really very strange! And if I didn't really enjoy the benefits of working with a dog, the public thing would probably deter me from getting one. All the stuff about the dog being helpful with socializing... I don't find it to be very true. It certainly draws attention to me, but the attention really remains on the dog and we never get past dog discussion and on to other things.
Jul. 1st, 2007 03:32 am (UTC)
It's things like this that cause me to think long and hard about getting a guide dog. There's definitely that part of me that would love to do away with my cane and then there's the other part of me that feels that I would lose my temper with too many people because of things such as you've described in this entry. I am often just aghast at how people will address the dog and completely ignore the person! Why are people so relunctant to address a blind or visually impaired person directly? One of this million dollar questions I suppose.
Jul. 1st, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC)
Wow. I never thought of it like that before. It makes total sense now that you've explained it, but before this I couldn't help wondering why it was such a big deal for people to NOT pet your guide dog. This was eye opening. Thank you for posting it! (Makes me wish I had asked you a long time ago about it)

I hope the next few days are lighter on the fireworks than you expect them to be.
Jul. 1st, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
I hope it didn't come across too bitterly. I'm really trying to keep a good handle on it. The ones that irritate me the most are when people come up to my table while I'm eating at restaurants and interrupt my conversations to ask if they can pet. It really surprises me how unobservant some people can be--I've had this happen when I've been in some pretty emotional conversations, and it makes me realize that I really do consider my dog part of my personal space. I guess that's why I get so out of sorts when people say things like that they think I don't pet my dogs enough, etc.
Jul. 1st, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC)
Re: thanks
No, you don't sound bitter at all. You do sound frustrated - but anyone in your shoes would be, I think.

I hope you don't mind, but I copied and e-mailed the part of your post about dealing with a person with a guide dog to a few of my relatives. I remember several years ago that my aunt got quite upset with a person with a service dog who wouldn't let a couple of children pet him, and jerked the dog away when the kids didn't respond quickly enough to the owner's request to stop petting the dog. She said something about calling the MSPCA (Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and I thought that she, in particular, would find it eye opening.

Also, my sister has 2 young children and they live quite close to Washington D.C. (where Gallaudet University is located) so I know they frequently run into people with hearing dogs. I thought this would help her to explain to her children why they shouldn't just run up and start petting a service dog.

Thanks again. This really was eye opening! *smile & hug*
Jul. 1st, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
Re: thanks
Thanks. I actually was afraid that I would just be preaching to the choir. I think that is part of my general frustration. It seems that lots of people want to pet my dog and ask a quicky question about her, but very few want to learn what really helps and even fewer want to connect with me as a person. I'm not sure how to educate except to do it one at a time, and it often feels like a losing battle.

On a related note, I spoke to the campus security department the other day about the problem of people not stopping at crosswalks. Often they zoom on through without even slowing, even while I am in the street! I was shocked by this and was told that people just don't know they're supposed to stop. Of course, I'm afraid they'll put some silly "blind person crossing" sign up. It's not all about me at all. It's about the fact that there is a *CROSSWALK* there which anyone could be using at any time, and they should be observing those driving rules for everyone's benefit because everyone's life is just as valuable as mine!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah Blake LaRose
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