It would be hard to be a mother. Trying to deal with the day to day parts of parenthood, mixed in with all the stress, guilt and expectation that society lumps on you. It definitely doesn't excuse this sort of behavior though, as this mother made an absolute fool of herself in public. There's certain people within the community that just seem to have some sort of immunity from abuse. Those that work within charitable fields are generally part of that group.
This mother in Pennsylvania made this mistake, when her daughter wanted to pet a service dog and the handler told him no, she lost her marbles. Luckily for us, someone got it all on camera.
Some others shared their stories of dealing with idiots trying to touch their service dogs.
I don’t necessarily mind being asked to pet my dog, though usually, I have to tell people no. I don’t really get upset by having to do this unless it’s a particularly stressful 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 am able to 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 really specific 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 service dog the majority of the time. Usually 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 continuing to do these things because it’s really common.
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 a very friendly 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.
People empathized strongly with the plight of these handlers and shared some of their thoughts!