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incident at the store

As I'm walking down the bra aisle in the store--moving with my hand on the dog's harness--someone stopped me and asked, "Can your dog be petted, or is she working?"

I said politely, "She's working right now." Inwardly, I wondered whether that shouldn't be obvious: a blind person with a dog in harness in motion down the bra aisle in a store... And this was not an elderly lady. Am I just crazy to think that it should be obvious that a dog in harness in motion in a store is, indeed, working? Or should I stop my bra expedition to allow the public to pet because they're curious? If the person thinks she might be working, what would be the question in that situation? I try hard to understand people's curiosity; but this situation I never understand. To me it is the equivalent of me stopping a person and asking if they can chat or if they're walking somewhere. If they're moving, they're obviously walking somewhere. I wouldn't stop them unless I needed something they could answer (e.g. do you know where xxx is?)

On a more positive note, someone else asked if I knew when Mother's Day was.


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 13th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
My parents both made SURE when all of us where out in public that we KNEW service dogs were off limits. Totally completely no if ands or buts. No asking, no options. . .nada.

And I never have. None of us have. We don't even ask.

The flip side of that was that if we DID want to approach the person with the dog, then it couldn't be because of the dog, we had to recognize THE PERSON.

In other words, they taught us basic MANNERS. A lost art, I think.

I'm sorry that happened to you today. But it's great the other person asked when Mother's Day is. . . lol. . can't miss THAT!! **GRINS** can you tell I'm a mom? Huh?!! **Wink**

Apr. 13th, 2008 03:35 am (UTC)
I wish there were more people like that! I had management try to kick me out of Walmart one night - I have a psych service dog/med alert dog
(no subject) - my_pen - Apr. 13th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nabba - Apr. 13th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - my_pen - Apr. 13th, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nabba - Apr. 13th, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 13th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC)
Well, it's a start that they asked instead of just going for it, right?
Apr. 13th, 2008 04:06 am (UTC)
I suppose, but they still need to use their heads. Just going for it would not have gotten a polite reply since I was in motion. I realize you're trying to look at the positives here, but those kinds of positives really don't work for me. I appreciate it when people ask when I'm in a position where the dog looks like she might be at rest (e.g. I'm sitting on a bench waiting on a taxi and she's lying at my feet). I don't appreciate it while I'm walking and stopping to allow petting would be an inconvenience. That is a matter of common sense. Is my dog working? Of course, she's working. We're up and moving.
(no subject) - kookie_chick - Apr. 13th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - 3kitties - Apr. 13th, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kookie_chick - Apr. 13th, 2008 07:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
comment part 2 - kookie_chick - Apr. 13th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: comment part 2 - 3kitties - Apr. 13th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - leadinglabbie - Apr. 13th, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kookie_chick - Apr. 13th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - leadinglabbie - Apr. 13th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
"with Sarah being in ministry" - 3kitties - Apr. 13th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 13th, 2008 03:34 am (UTC)
Sadly people are incredibly moronic!! and its only getting worse
Apr. 13th, 2008 03:37 am (UTC)
you know, i read you writing about this so often, and i have to wonder where people's heads are. my kids are mad about any animal, and whenever we see a guide dog of any sort, we stress to the kids that it is a working dog and that we can smile at the dog, and comment to each other what a beautiful dog it is, but we cannot under an circumstances touch or approach the dog while it is wearing the working harness. i was taught that from a young age, and so was keir, and i have to wonder if that is something that is no longer taught in schools. it's not as if they are a rarity in society, nor are they something that is so unusual that people must stop and stare, and petting a working animal is definitely a no no in my book. my kids have even corrected other children, and in one memorable episode, an adult, who was walking up to a seeing eye dog without informing it's master. ugh.

i don't get it. do you have one of those jacket thingies that says please don't approach me i am working for your dog? it might be a good investment given the number of times you have had this happen to you. sorry- but that is one of my pet peeves in life- bothering working dogs. i could see being intrigued by the miniature horses and the like, but wanting to pet a harnessed dog is over the line.
Apr. 13th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC)
no petting signs
I may have to break down and try a sign. From what I hear from other dog users, it sounds like the people who read them are the people who already know not to pet... I'm really thinking more and more about the news article... I never remember having this much trouble with the general public in the past. However, I also had black dogs, and maybe it's different with black dogs vs. yellow ones.
Re: no petting signs - pickleboot - Apr. 15th, 2008 03:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nabba - Apr. 13th, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 13th, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)
I am so sorry that people just don't think.

We had a moment last week that made me so proud. We went into a store, and there was a service dog. Wyatt (being 3) made a comment about it, and Amberielle explained to him that the dog was working, and the dogs job was to help the man. She also told him that they couldn't pet the dog since he is working (not that Wyatt would since he is terrified of dogs). She did such a good job explaining, that it made me feel really good.
Apr. 13th, 2008 04:01 am (UTC)
kids explaining
Elementary age kids really are the best at the no-petting stuff. At church they often correct adults and younger kids. I do a lot of talks for school groups, and we always end off with the harness coming off so they can pet when the dog isn't working.
Apr. 13th, 2008 04:15 am (UTC)
That's the kind of thing where I would have just said "Yes, she's working" and not even stopped to chat. People like that need to think before opening their mouths! Sheesh.
Apr. 13th, 2008 05:43 am (UTC)
I suspect your questioner was trying to show you how enlightened and/or sophisticated he/she was.

Prolly glowed over his/her sensitivity for at least fifteen minutes afterward. :)
Apr. 13th, 2008 10:20 am (UTC)
I never thought of it that way.
Apr. 13th, 2008 06:10 am (UTC)
No Petting Insignia
I have also heard the signs work well for the "no petting" bit. There are some people who are total dolts of course, but the sign can stop those who are "of the middle" of the spectrum.

I have two suggestions for you, or actually I'll make them into examples to make them easier to explain:

1) I have a patch on Tux's vest - it is rectangular, 2 inches tall by 4 inches long - on the left, it has a STOP sign, exactly as you would see on a street - then it has words to the right on two lines. The top line says, "Do Not Distract" and the bottom line says in all caps, "WORKING DOG". I have found this to be *highly* effective at keeping people off my dog.

2) In the past I have used (and got another idea from) a patch that was I think 4 inches high, yellow background with red border, stop sign shaped. On the top, it read STOP (new line) Don't Touch (in a curve), then it had a picture of a dog's head with a hand reaching for it in the middle and a red line through it to indicate NO. Below that design, on two lines, were the words "Service Dog." I had good success with this patch, especially keeping people off - but many people still talked to and clicked at my dog which I have not had the problem with with the Do Not Distract patch I talked about at first.

The second patch, the yellow one with the picture - is offered in a harness handle clip on design, and you could easily create the Do Not Distract Stop Sign patch into a harness clip on design, too if you were interested in doing that.

The other situation I wanted to suggest to you - is in some countries, people use a "cape" under their dog's leather guide harness to indicate it is a guide dog. Now coming from the States, I expect a harness to be all the identification needed, but the cape does give more information. The cape is a lightweight fabric, similar in weight to a t-shirt but not as cottonish, I don't think, and is printed with some words in the native language (which are symbols for the picture I saw) - you could easily get a cape designed, I think, that says Do Not Distract or whatever you wanted, and because you design it yourself, you can design it's images / logos / words to fit around how the guide harness fits your dog. We can talk more if you're interested.

Courageous Heart & Tux
Apr. 13th, 2008 10:04 am (UTC)
I really don't understand people. I can remember learning at an early age that dogs with harnesses, in stores, or anywhere else, are working dogs. You wouldn't interupt someone while they're doing an important job, why would you interupt a working dog. Like others have said, I don't know where their heads are. To me, this is very basic knowledge, and basic manners. There is a huge difference between someone being genuinely curious, and just being rude and not so smart.
As someone else suggested, it may be a good idea to get a sign. I've been in stores quite a few times, and seen these types of signs make people stop and pay attenion.

I'm sorry you have to deal with these types of things so much, it must be very frustrating.

Apr. 13th, 2008 01:17 pm (UTC)
As a sighted person perhaps I can shed some light on the foolishness of people seeing a 'seeing-eye' dog.

In general sighted folks see canines as 'individuals' and thinking members of their families. The dog is allowed free will to be a member of the family usually without much control hence poor habits that people complain about develop. In truth seeing the animal mingle with its family does make for the attitude that it is a beautiful animal with feelings and such and so inspite of the foolishness these carelessly behaving individuals who are walking up to a working dog are actually paying a compliment.

People will not 'ignore' a dog. It is a person ;)

Perhaps at some point it would do better to openly talk to the person who approaches you and say 'thank you' for saying this about my dog. Unfortunately it really isn't a good idea to pet him/her during 'work' time but he/she does get all that dog affection later when at home out of harness and such. Yes we love him much :)

Many sighted people are under the impression that the dogs sometimes seem to be treated inhumanly cause they don't know better and there is no outreach to say differently.

I had a friendship with a blind woman, 'Carmen' and her dog 'Hozanna', a yellow lab. We were friends for many years throughout our college time at Hunter College and would eat dinner together every night before or inbetween classes. Carmen was my first association with an individual who was blind and also her guide dog. I learned much. 'Hozanna' liked me so much I figured out sitting not next to Carmen was best in class. The minute class ended Hozanna made a bee-line for me with Carmen which after a while Carmen realized wasn't a bad thing since the crowd leaving the class tended to be rough and dutifully ignored her....too much. Hozanna simply would lean against my leg to show her affection and wag her tail ...I would great her and then we would head out with guide dog doing her job yet somehow had managed a happy medium of public association.

Just some thoughts perhaps but i thought that might be helpful.

Sometimes...I miss Carmen AND Hozanna. They were a gas as a team :)
Apr. 13th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC)
talking with people
As I mentioned up above, there are times when I welcome the opportunity to stop and educate people... This lady's wording indicated that on some level she knew the dog was working. And I was following someone else through the store... It begins to feel like an onslaught after a while, and the public face feels very much a strain, like you feel exhausted after trekking around all week. The way I feel when people do this stuff to me would be the equivalent of someone asking you, "Are you tired after running through the streets all day?"
Apr. 13th, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC)
I get so annoied when people want to pet my dog while I'm trying to do stuff. It's almost like just because we have a cute puppy, we're fair game, and that we can drop everything we do just to satisfy their uncontrolable desire to pet a cute puppy. I sometimes wonder if people feel liek we're not supposed to have lives, or if they think we're so desparate for friends that we'll talk to anyone. I'm sure that's probably not their intention, but it feels like that sometimes. I actually had to inform a lady once, who was rudely interrupting me while I was trying to listen to the person helping me pick out a brand of something, (I can't remember what at the moment), just to ask if Kerry was a lab. I just said, "Excuse me, I'm trying to shop." It's like the laws of manners don't apply sometimes.
Apr. 25th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)
Geez, it takes all kinds. And, they usually don't recognize their stupidity.
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah Blake LaRose
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