I saw this video, laughed, and then thought it made a great point.
Now, doesn’t that look ridiculous? And I’m pretty sure I’ve seen all those things happen, if not directly to me, then to someone else I know who has a service dog.
It adds another dimension to the no petting the dog rule. Yes, you’re disturbing the dog, but you’re also invading my personal space! I know not everyone respects it, and maybe some people don’t know, but it’s pretty offensive to lean on a person’s wheelchair, since that wheelchair feels like a part of them. Well, reaching out to pet the dog when she’s sitting close to me feels like an invasion of my space, especially when people don’t ask.
I have really noticed an increase in people trying to pet Tansy when we’re on the bus. Now, let me explain how I have her positioned. So we don’t take up a whole ton of space, she’s sitting between my legs. Think about that. People are touching her head, which is in my lap and really near my crotch, and they give not one crap about how I might feel about that.
With these nincompoops, I don’t even give them the courtesy of “please don’t pet my dog, she’s working” because they’re practically trying to grope me. I just pluck their hand from my dog without a word and move it away…and they never say anything to me either, not an apology, not a startled “what are you doing?”, nothing at all. I don’t know how to feel about that. Some day, when I remove yet another hand, I might accompany it with “What gives you the idea that it’s ok to violate me like that?” but I guess I haven’t been made angry enough that the words fly out. But one day, oh one day, it’s going to happen. Please, please don’t be the person whose hand I have removed from my dog when it does.