Public arguments do take place and they are quickly forgotten as well. But now that people have easy access to a mobile camera phone, they can record an argument that happened publically and quickly make it viral on the Internet.
Recently, in a mall in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, an argument between a Mother with another person requesting to pet a services dog took an ugly space. This conversation got recorded and went viral on the Internet where people weighed their opinions on it.
Megan Stoff, the handle on Facebook, is where this video was originally shared. A polite request for petting the dog could have been made but this woman did not want to take no for an answer.
Take a look at the story.
Ciarán gave his perspective on being a service dog handler to Hiptoro. “I don’t necessarily mind being asked to pet my dog, though usually, I have to tell people no,” he told us. “I don’t really get upset by having to do this unless it’s a particularly stressful dog training day or environment and I’m having trouble doing what I’ve set out to do in the first place.”
“I’d rather people ask than just lean in and try to grab her, which happens every day… but I don’t always have the energy to explain what she’s doing or why she can’t be petted. I’m autistic and sometimes just can’t speak very efficiently at all so I can’t explain even if I wanted to. I might shake my head no, or indicate in some other short way not to pet her or talk to her, and I just want to have that respected. People also often take pictures of us without asking, and that makes me really super uncomfortable, I don’t want people to do that at all.”
“I guess I just don’t want people to assume I can divert my attention to interact with them how they want me to, and that if someone has a service dog in the first place, it means they’re disabled and probably having a hard time already. Using judgment about whether it’s appropriate to ask to pet helps (does the dog already have a vest on that says not to pet? Is it really loud and busy and chaotic of an atmosphere? Does the service dog handler look uncomfortable or distracted?). I have let people pet her, but in particular situations where I can focus on making sure I keep her attention, and I know I won’t need her to work for me at that moment.”
“Unfortunately I feel like people don’t consider me at all when they ask to interact with my companion pet the majority of the time. Usually, rude people just lean in and talk to her or try to pet her without even acknowledging me… They also often just assume I’m rude instead of something out of my control (like I can’t hear them, which happens a lot in overstimulating environments). I am concerned about people feeling the entitlement to do these things because it’s widespread.”
“My dog Clover is doing very well in training though, she has a Facebook page I started for her recently so people could see her and ask me questions about her and stuff there if they’re curious. I like talking about my service dog, just not necessarily when I’m trying to go grocery shopping! She deals well with strangers approaching, but she is an amiable and outgoing dog that enjoys people so attention from other people can be a big distraction for her and it’s something we have to work on all the time. I don’t think people consider that when they get upset about not being allowed to pet her.”
Here’s what people had to say about the situation: