GO!

It finally happened.

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.

  
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Link

Hero of Hyrule
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 15, '13 6:40pm PST 
I hear about horror stories in Wal-mart from SD handlers all the time involving kids, but it's never happened to us, until Monday. I was picking up my little brother for a camping trip, and we ran into Wal-mart for a fishing license and some random other things. I'd never been in this Wal-mart with a SD before, and it was way more crowded and hectic than the one here ever gets. My brother commented on how many people (mostly kids) were yelling about the dog in the store and I explained to him that I had to deal with that all the time. Not even two minutes later in the produce section, a little girl comes out of nowhere and charges us lunging for Link. I body blocked her and kept moving. A few seconds later I look behind us and the little girl (no parent in sight) is following us screaming DOGGIE, and then she lunges at Link again. I tell her NO and to go back to her parents, and she bursts out crying and screaming but leaves. Not even a minute later she comes running full speed at us AGAIN, so I step in front of Link, put my hand out like a stop sign and tell her STOP, NO PETTING. She stops but is crying and keeps reaching for Link and trying to get past me. I had to get very firm with her, telling her NO over and over again, he's working, you can't touch him, go back to your parents, for what felt like eternity. Finally I see her mom walk around the aisle just smiling at us but she still did NOTHING. I had to keep blocking her kid with my body and almost had to physically grab her to keep her from tackling Link. Finally I yell at her mom to call her daughter, which she does but she doesn't respond for almost a minute. The entire time she is screaming and throwing a tantrum. Finally she walks away and I can hear her screaming and crying on the other side of the aisle. This of course caused a pretty severe panic attack, in the middle of a crowded Wal-mart, but Link did so well and helped me through it. He didn't seem to care about the girl trying to attack him and was only focused on me. The entire time I hear comments from people passing about how mean that lady with the dog is, and a lady right next to me was clutching her toddler to her like I was going to jump at her and beat him. I don't get what's so hard to understand about why you shouldn't just go up and pet a service dog! The time I was being harassed was time that I could not focus on Link and therefore continued to get more and more sick. I couldn't see him responding to my rising anxiety until the girl walked away because I was so worried about protecting him. It got to the point where I was so light-headed from shallow breathing that I almost just sat down on the floor in the middle of the aisle and had Link do DPT. Maybe I should have and then people might have understood how serious the situation was! Anyway, I knew it was only a matter of time before something like this happened but it didn't make it any easier. At least now I know that Link will handle these situations very well so I won't be worrying (as much) about that anymore. I'm going to go pet him now because I'm all anxious again just typing about this meditate

Has anyone else had something like this happen? How did you and your SD handle it?
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Brady SDiT

Full steam- ahead.
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 15, '13 11:42pm PST 
Wal-Mart stories, oh goodness where to begin… My kid story was when I was in the back of the store (dairy/ deli) and a little kid, about 14-18 months is wobbling around when he sees Brady with me wheelchairing. Slowly he waddles my way and I watch him, he never says a word, never touches, just comes really close as if investigating.

I talk to the kid saying “doggie” but not encouraging him otherwise, as I don’t want to be too firm if I don’t have to be or be responsible for making this child afraid of dogs (opposite of your problem). So this continues with the mother and other females of that family watching, they talked to him in Spanish, so I explained to them that Brady was a perro de servicio, then told the boy “perro” instead, which he seemed to grasp better than “doggie”.

This game of go to mommy, go towards dog, back and forth would continue for several aisles. The kid never said a word, never wanted to touch, though his constant curiosity slowed me a little. Still as much as the kid was a little… annoying, it still was cute enough to leave me smiling instead of frayed.

Now my trips to Wal-Marts in some neighborhoods have left me more exhausted due to people with their phobias than touching or talking. I have had younger kids yell "doggie" in several stores, or their mothers point and show them the "doggie". I have also had (thankfully) older kids ask to pet him but I have had to, as kindly as possible, tell them no and that he is working. I just tell them he gets lots of pets from me and at home, which is true enough.
wink
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Iris vom- Zauberberg

Service Werewolf
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 7:27am PST 
I'm so sorry that you had this experience. How are you feeling now?

I've had children run up and hug Iris when my back was turned before I could stop them. It is unsettling to have my dog mauled and my space invaded. My response usually is to try to educate the children and their parents if they are available, after disengaging them from my SD, of course.

From the sound of it, this option was not available to you. You had all you could do just to protect your dog and your space.

My worst incident was also in WalMart. It was during Iris's public access training. I was with a group of SD handlers browsing in an aisle and a little girl of about three or four years old ran up, slapped Iris on the rear and ran away. This really demonstrated to me why service dogs have to be so steady in public. The most unexpected things WILL happen.

Iris just looked at the child running away, and then looked at me. I was too stunned to chase the child down to find the parent. Next time, I would, though.
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Yoshi

XD
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 7:38am PST 
OK, I'm probably gonna get shot, but I have a totally different opinion, and maybe that's just my personality, and I don't have an SD, so feel free to disagree. I'm a friendly/outgoing person, and I adore kids. I know what it feels like to be denied petting a dog. Therefore, if it were me, I would've been like I'm sorry sweetheart, the doggie is working and can't be petted. I then would've tried to educate the kid about SD's in a simple way that they'd understand. How I would do it would depend on what was good for their age. That's just me though, I don't like people thinking I'm mean. XD
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Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 7:45am PST 
I am sorry Link that happen to you. I don't know why I am so fortunate even in a small town like Ellsworth, that I have not had any real Access conflict or rude commit while in any store let alone wal-mart. I have only had positive feed back in every place I have gone. Form store and family and parents. I don't know if it is cause I prepared for everything like this before I started going in to these places. I am not bragging, I am just stating a fact that I have not had that kind of misfortune.
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Abrams Tank- SDiT

I'm trying to- fill some BIG- paws
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 8:11am PST 
Link I have had this happen with my husbands SDiT Tank only not in walmart but at a new years eve wrestling show. My hubby had to go outside during a break between matches. He left Tank with me while he stepped out to have a smoke. I took Tank over to the water fountain to grab a drink of water for me then got out his portable bowl and filled it. While trying to give him a drink we were mobbed by a bunch of ill mannered kids. It got so bad that the security for the company finally had to step in and tell them that if they didnt go away and leave us alone he was going to throw them and their drunk parents out. Tank got a little upset because he was being bothered
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Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 10:31am PST 
It is really frustrating still to me when I read posts like this and I have not really had any thing to that exstream happen to me. Most everyone like I said either ask if they personally can pet her or people with children have told them not to pet the doggie cause it is very special and is working.
As I said in my other posts too it is really weird to me that I have read on here about all these things like this happening to others. I have also said how I wonder much that it may be cause I do prepear
myself for stuff like this but have I had a situetion like that.
Things like that happen I am sure cause like I said I read on here about it all the time.
I just don't know why they don't happen to me. I am though prepearing myself for the time it happens cause you can't say never will it happen to me.
I worrie cause Sadie has had adverse reactions to people running up on her and startling he.
Though not in stores or public while working a couple times here at the house and once at a pet shop we go to. But she was never in her vest and she has never done anything while in her vest that would be misstaken for agressive behavior. I do worrie some while she is working cause she really lately has not had any social time with other dogs. So when she meets another dog she is a lil exsighted about it.
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Rosie

1305215
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 10:57am PST 
In my relatively short experience, I've not had many problems with kids. "I'm sorry, but please don't pet her; she's working right now," is usually enough to keep them away.
Adults, on the other hand, are schmucks. Wednesday night my boyfriend and I took Rosie to Walmart. When he was paying for his item, the cashier reached over and started to pet her. I told her what I usually tell people and she said, "Oh, I know she's working; I just can't help it." It took everything in my power not to reach over and start petting her in response.
I've taken to walking around with a perpetual stank face, which tends to make people want to avoid us.
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Iris vom- Zauberberg

Service Werewolf
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 2:16pm PST 
Yoshi, for some handlers, having their SDs touched is like being touched themselves. It's an invasion.

In a perfect world, an insistent child would get the education she obviously needed and the handler would be able to protect her dog and herself without resorting to raising her voice and blocking her dog.
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Link

Hero of Hyrule
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 6:36pm PST 
Yoshi, ditto what Iris said. Not only is it an invasion but it also a distraction. An epilepsy alert dog is a better example of how serious even a quick distraction can be, what if Link had missed cues to alert to an oncoming seizure because we were both distracted by that kid? What about a serious drop or rise in blood sugar? And in my case, what if I had a severe dissociative episode causing me to act out of character or a panic attack caused me to get so light-headed I fell and hit my head? IF the girl and/or her parent had approached me and actually asked first, I would have, and regularly do, politely told them that he is working so therefore can't be distracted. I even carry educational brochures and cards with me for this very reason. However that is not what happened. The parent was oblivious and the kid ill mannered and IMO spoiled since she obviously did not understand the concept of NO. They were also not English speaking so I could not have communicated with them any better than I did. I'd rather be thought mean than allow my dog to be harrassed and feel he is not safe with me. It's my responsibility to protect him.
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