Sunday, August 23, 2015

He's a Service Dog, Not a Petting Zoo

Today at Panera, as Isaac and I were making our way through the dining room, a man reached out to pet Isaac and started baby talking to him. Isaac turned his head to look at the man touching him and almost made me spill my plate of food, because I had my food in the same hand I had the leash in, because my drink was in my other hand. Normally that works out OK because Isaac heels pretty nicely. But he turned his head when someone started touching him as we walked by.

So I said "Please don't distract him, he's working." Which is my typical line when someone does that.

The first man's dining companion said, rather rudely, "Then you shouldn't bring him in here." Like my service dog is there for their enjoyment. Um, he's a service dog, not a petting zoo.

So I said, "He's a service dog so he's allowed in here."

The first man said "Who does he service?" Which was a weird way of asking the question, but I knew what he meant.

So I said, "He's my service dog."

And then the guy said, "Why? Do you have a problem?"

Um, yes. I have a big problem with rude strangers that distract my service dog. I didn't say that but I think maybe I should have.

Instead I just said "The Americans with Disabilities Act says he is allowed in here" and walked away.

I think this is the rudest interaction I've had with a member of the public regarding my service dog.

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