Saturday, June 08, 2019

PSA on petting dogs without permission (with a special shout out to rude Trump supporters)

Today my daughter and I took Clem to the local pet supply store to buy a few items and let Clem practice some of her work in a distracting environment. Daughter was on an empty aisle in the store working on Clem’s targeting of random objects when a 50’ish year old woman and her young adult son walked up and planted themselves about one foot away from us, staring and then laughing when Clem didn’t do the requested target at first command.

When we proceeded to move on to a different aisle, the woman suddenly stepped forward and reached to pat Clem, in the middle of my daughter’s request for Clem to walk on with her. I stepped in and asked the woman to please not touch the dog, as she was being trained. The woman became agitated and told me to “fuck off.” I remarked that it was inappropriate to touch someone’s dog without their permission and the woman said “You must be one of those Democrats.”

At this point my daughter and Clem had left the aisle and I turned to follow, saying “Well, I’m definitely not a Trump supporter.”

The woman said “You’re missing out on a great thing.”

I walked on, intending that to be the end of that, but as we neared the front of the store the woman came charging up and said “Do you support full term abortion?”

I said that it wasn’t the place for that kind of discussion and I wasn’t interested in talking about it. She was at that point coming closer, saying “You do it. You support it.”

I commented, “How arrogant and rude.”

She repeated “fuck you” several more times and when my daughter took out her phone and started videoing, the woman ran out of sight to the back of the store.

I think as upsetting as this was, the fact that the owner of the store, who knows us well, was watching at least the last few minutes of this exchange and didn’t intervene.


If you see a dog, whether it’s an adult, a puppy, a service dog, a service dog in training, or any dog at all, please don’t assume it’s okay to walk up and pat the dog. Don’t assume it’s okay to get in the personal space of the dog and its handler. If you want to pat the dog, ask yourself first if the handler is working with the dog. If so, walk on by. It’s not a good time to interrupt. If the handler seems approachable, ask from a respectful distance if it’s okay to say hello. Let the handler guide that interaction. Don’t speak in high-pitched tones to the dog, address your comments to the handler until he/she says it’s okay. If the handler says not now, or no, simply move on. You don’t have a right to pat someone else’s dog. It’s their call to make.

I’m well aware that Clementine is adorable. So is she. We actually like her to practice meeting new people, but we like to do that in a controlled, planned interaction. I’m also aware that she and my daughter are an impressive team and it’s tempting to want to stop and watch and participate. Please don’t. If you absolutely must, a quiet “Love how you’re working with your dog” as you pass by will be appreciated but likely not acknowledged in that moment.

As for the whole Donald Trump thing, if anything like that ever happens to me again, I’m calling the police and let them handle it.

If you’re a business owner and you see this kind of harassment happening, I certainly hope you’ll intervene. It would have meant a lot to me today if that had been done.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Wow just Wow! Unfortunately, I don't find it all that hard to believe about that woman with her being a Trump supporter. It's like belonging to a cult, albeit a very strange and cruel one. In my opinion I think they feel they have permission to act like that because their leader has no boundaries and gets away with everything he does. This gives them permission to also have no boundaries and get away with what they do and say. It was always there under the surface but in a civilized society they had to keep their nastiness in check in public. I'm also of the opinion that as long as who they're targeting lets them get away with it they think they've won and scored a win for their team. The "Democrats" need to fight fire with fire and not take their insults anymore and let them know they are the swamp and it hasn't been cleaned out yet but simply added more slime to it. If I am ever confronted with one of these 'deplorables' I plan to stand my ground and let them have it with both barrels so they might thing about attacking someone else in the future.

I realize it was hard for you because you were with your daughter and Clem and wanted to set a good example. And I agree that no one should ever touch another's animal regardless of whether it's in training or not. The consequences might go poorly if you don't know the dog and the dog doesn't like or trust you. Besides being incredibly rude to invade anyone's personal space.

I have a whole lot more to say (I could write a book) but I'll end my outrage here.

The End

Grey Horse Matters said...

Oh and P.S since I'm still pissed off after reading this. When the woman went off on her abortion tirade I would have said " You know, normally I would be against full term abortion but in your case it's too bad your mother didn't take that option while pregnant with you!"

Now I'm done!

billie said...

Thanks - I appreciate your thoughts because mine were along the same lines. I didn’t want to do anything that caused Clementine to have a bad experience, and I initially didn’t want to create a scene in the store, though when the owner did nothing, I kind of wished I’d just called the police and made the scene!

It’s still totally bizarre to me that anyone thinks they have the right to just zoom in and pat a dog and beyond that, to not only argue with the handler/owner when asked not to do so but to be so intrusive and hateful. I can’t even fathom it.

billie said...

I thought of the same comeback. What a world we live in right now.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Hmmm. I might have said - "When "god" was passing out good manners - you must have been at the end of the line."

Trump and his supporters really operate at the lowest common denominator level.

Sorry you and your daughter had to experience that.

billie said...

It was really unpleasant. I’m not sure I’ve ever had anyone talk to me that way before. Definitely not a stranger in a place of business in response to my setting a boundary regarding personal space. I think the most unsettling thing was the clear sense that no matter what I said she was going to hear it through her filter of hatred.

Anonymous said...

So, so sorry, Billie, that you had to endure this. I have still never met a person who voted for Trump (or admits to it). Considering this experience, I hope I never do! What has happened to our country?

So, so sad.


billie said...

Thanks, Marty. I was both angry and shaken by this encounter but as a white woman with resources to protect myself I never felt I was in danger. What really makes me angry is that so many of the people this kind of person would target would probably not feel that safety net of privilege. Which is why I am fairly upset with the store owner for doing nothing.