Friday, November 13, 2015

A New Experience at the Grocery Store

I had a new, and somewhat disturbing, experience yesterday.  And I don't have new experiences at the grocery store too often anymore.

I was at the grocery store, doing the self checkout thing, when a little girl about five or so came over close to Isaac. She was looking at him and maybe going to ask to pet him (or maybe pet without asking, I don't know), when her father, who was at another self checkout thing, started yelling at her. "Get over here! Leave that dog alone! That dog is working, you can't pet him. You can't bother a working dog. Get over here right now! Don't make me come over there and get you!"

While I usually appreciate parents that tell their kids not to bother working dogs, I've never had a parent yell at their kid about it like this. I hate when parents yell at their kids. It's a trigger with my PTSD. And it seems so rude. Would they talk to anyone else that way? And if not, what makes them think it is OK to talk to their kids like that?

While I finished ringing out my stuff, I thought about it, and I wondered how the dad would respond if I yelled at his kid that way when she was looking at my dog. I would never do that, of course, but I bet he wouldn't like it if I did. So why does he think it's OK for him to talk to her that way?

They were just getting ready to leave when I was done paying, and I decided I needed to do something. I approached them, said "excuse me" and asked the dad if it would be OK if Isaac said hi to his little girl (as long as it was OK with the little girl, too, of course).

He said yes, so I asked her if she would like to say hi to Isaac. She did. She petted him really nicely and I told her his name.

I told her I'd noticed her looking at him earlier and told her it is OK to ask if she can pet a dog in a store, but that she always needs to ask before petting a dog she doesn't know. I also said sometimes the dog's person might say no, and then she should said "OK, thank you" and not bother the dog.

I asked her if she would like to give Isaac a treat and she said yes, so I gave her a treat from my pocket and told her to tell him to sit first, which she did, and Isaac sat right away, and she liked that.

I thanked the dad for telling her not to bother a working dog and told him that it's OK to ask someone to pet a SD as long as you realize the handler might say no and that's OK.

I felt pretty good about how I dealt with the whole situation, but I still hate when parents scream at their kids like that.

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