Saturday, April 7, 2007

Please Do Not Pet

When training in public with Belle, I often find myself in the position of training the public as well. Second only to the "how can you give her up?" question is the "can I pet your dog?" question. Yesterday, a rather persistent fellow really wanted to challenge the issue.

I was at Walgreen's to pick up a bottle of Tylenol for Molly - home sick with the flu. As the fellow and I were waiting in a rather long line, he started to ask questions about Belle. (The line length was due primarily to his wife who had a thousand coupons - all of which the scanner couldn't read, but I digress). The conversation went something like this:

Him: That's a beautiful dog - how old is he?

Me: She's about 16 mos. Good girl, Belle! Good side! Tip!

Him: My wife and I are partial to goldens - they love people.

Me: Yes they do. That's it, Belle! Tip!

Him: Can I pet him?

Me: No - she's working right now and needs to keep her focus on me. That's a girl, Belle! Good job! Tip!

Him: What do you mean he's working - is he in training for something?

Me: Yes. She's a service dog in training. That's it, Belle - good sit/stay! Tip!

Him: Who will he help? Blind people? Why can't he be petted?

Me: She's being trained to assist people with physical disabilities. When she's working, she needs to keep her focus on the person with whom she is working. Good job, Belle! Good work! Tip!

Him: Is it a he or a she? Are they ever allowed to be pet?

Cashier: Manager to Register __.

Me: (Inside me - sigh!) It's a she. And they get lots of affection and attention from their persons. Good girl, Belle! Tip!

Him: I still wish I could pet her. My wife and I love goldens.

Me: Good girl, Belle! Tip! I know.

Wife: How much is that again? (Counts out pennies and dimes and quarters - got to have exact change now!)

Finally, it's my turn to pay for one bottle of Tylenol. I finish my purchase and as I turn to leave discover he's now waiting for me at the door. Tempted to turn and head back as if I forgot something, I decided instead to continue on my way - he'd held me up long enough. Before he could ask another question, I said, "Nice talking to you!" and kept my focus on Belle as we practiced our exit procedures (wait, go ahead, around, heel, and let's go).

But as Belle and I headed out the door, I heard him exclaim to his wife - "isn't he a wonderful dog!"


Anonymous said...

¿Por qué la gente sin embargo piensa que Elvis está vivo? Significo, adelantado, gente. ¿No hay cosas mejores a concentrarse encendido? Significo, después de todo, no nos olvidemos del individuo en el final de sus días era un drogadicto desesperado y tiraba encima de medio a sus dedos del pie antes de que él podría levantarse realmente en etapa para conseguir encendido con la demostración.

Patrick Finnegan said...

Sounds like one of those borderline excruciating scenes in a comedy movie where the protagonist is being bugged by well-meaning but annoying people

Anonymous said...


What a beautiful job. I love the "Nice talking to you" line. I am going to use THAT one!

Nancy D.

slatta said...

You are sooo patient.

Now, at the risk of sounding like the clueless guy...what does it mean when you say "tip" to Belle?