Monday, April 19, 2010

Please Don't Pet

Those words can create an amazing range of emotions. Anger, fear, sadness, understanding, interest...the list goes on.
There is a reason Mom and many other service dog handlers ask that people do not pet us while we are working. It is because we are working and it is hard to do our jobs when people are trying to pet us or talk to us.

Mom and I know how hard it is for people not to pet me. If we are at a store (especially a book store, like in the picture) I am in a down stay while Mom browses. Some people haven't been around calm dogs or they may be usually afraid of certain types of dogs. Mom doesn't want them to think I'm unfriendly (it is quite the opposite, as many people learn when I'm off duty) so she has my brochures to hand out.
Mom also taught me a special trick to make up for people not being able to pet me. When Mom tells me to say hello, I wave my paw at the people. We get a lot of smiles for that and Mom says it has really helped some people overcome the stereotype that any dog with a square head and a broad chest is mean or aggressive! Mom says that she wants to "pay it forward" to other dogs for what I do for her since she thinks she can't pay me back (which I still think is silly since I get to sleep on her bed on my own pillows, get the best food, chewies and stuffies/other toys. I even have a pool to lounge in when we're outside with Mom). But we all want to help homeless animals, especially those that are misrepresented.


  1. its so hard isn't it? Especially when people get upset. More so when its parents who think there is no reason not for their kids to wander up to your animals...

  2. I know not to pet a dog in uniform, but you're right, it's hard to refrain!

  3. Wow! That is so cool to wave at folks. We can tell that momma is gonna be callin' us into school tomorrow for a new lesson!

  4. Oh, Dixie - I think you and your human are wonderful! It must be so hard - it's hard enough dealing with the silly things people do sometimes when you're just a "pet" dog but I can't imagine what it's like when you're a working service dog too!

    And I know what you mean - people always think that if they can't pet, that means the dog is aggressive - when there are so many other reasons! My human is always very careful to not interact with service dogs she sees and to make sure that I walk past them at a distance so that I don't distract them from their jobs.

    Honey the Great Dane