The other day I came to a realization that I just had to right down.
Ok, everybody who has a dog knows this. If they’ve been working to train a dog, and the dog’s getting the message that a certain behaviour, like counter surfing or picking stuff up off the floor or chewing on stuff that isn’t toys, isn’t so good. But they’ll still try. I always joke that they say “Maybe today it wont’ be bad. Maybe today they’ll think it’s great that I ate that piece of steak or chewed that shoe.” When you catch them at it, they look all sad, as if to say “I know better, you told me I wasn’t supposed to do that. I was just hopin’, you know, a dog can dream, can’t they?”
It’s always floored me that people, even if they know better, will still try and pet a service dog. When they get told not to, they say “I know,” and get all sad. But I think I’ve figured it out. People who know they shouldn’t but do it anyway must feel especially connected to dogs. Why? Their behaviour is exactly like that puppy in training. “Maybe this one won’t care. Maybe today it’ll be ok. Maybe this one will thank me…oh I’ve been busted.”
I’m not talking about the ones who don’t know, or are confused. I’m talking about all the ones who say “I know I’m not supposed to pet you but…”
I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner! As much as it still bugs me, I think now I might have to chuckle to myself next time it happens, as I picture this person as a dog. Maybe one will be a St. Bernard. Maybe one will be a poodle. Please, next time you see me, don’t make me imagine you as a dog! If you know better, do the right thing. Always ask to pet a service animal, ok?