This morning we had to go to the dealership to have our van ramp looked at.
When I arrived, I sat down with Hestia on my lap. Shortly thereafter an employee came over to ask me questions about my service dog (normal general public questions) while another employee was talking with Brad about what was wrong with our van. I was polite and answered the questions.
Then I started working on the AKC PAT letter. I got some juice from the fridge, not realizing it had sugar in it…. so I had a mini panic attack (I’ve been without sugar for about a week). Hestia was great, licking my arm at first, and when the panic attack got more severe she got up in my face to lick me intently and help me through it.
Shortly after that, when Hestia was done licking me but I was still a bit discombobulated, the same employee came over and asked if she bites. I said no, and so she reached her hand over to pet Hestia. I told her not to pet, that Hestia is working. The lady continued to reach out trying to pet Hestia, until I said in a stern tone “leave it”.
The employee started talking to Hestia, telling her she was sorry Hestia didn’t get to have any fun. I tried explaining that she is working now, and in fact I was still recovering from my last attack, but that didn’t dissuade the employee. She kept asking if Hestia bites, and saying how mean it was to not let people pet her.
She eventually went away, but not until after re-triggering my panic.
Even writing this now is triggering. Ugh.
Remember that service dogs are medical equipment, and are not there for entertainment. They need to stay with and focus on the person with a disability whom they are assisting. Thanks to everyone who controls your impulses to pet the cute dog and respect service dog teams!
And just to be clear, I don’t think the employee was trying to be rude, mean, or negative at all. I think she was just clueless.