Fellow PR's - ever have those moments during an outing where you see more about the human character of strangers than on the days when your pup is not by your side? Yesterday was one of those days.
I ventured into a local department store and was greeted by two friendly staff members. Haddie and I are not strangers to this location. They didn't say much to me, but they proceeded to talk to each other about their dogs, their friend's dogs, and seemed to have all the answers on training. No offense taken by what they said, but it did make me chuckle at their opinionated stance on how "it should be" when raising a dog as I browsed the aisles adjacent to their location.
Kinda goes along with the common statement of "I love dogs! I could never do what you are doing. I could never give them away." in that tone of voice that says they are better than you and some how I don't love this dog enough if I dare give them back. Right? Sigh. Every stranger seems to have an expert opinion about dogs when you have one by your side.
Deep into the clothing section a wee little tyke about age 4 came bounding from around the corner and squealed with delight at the surprised sight of Haddie. The mom, more consumed by the racks of clothing around her, casually told the child not to touch. I shared that it would be okay to greet Haddie; who was holding a nice sit with a wiggly behind.
I think the mom misinterpreted my invitation - she left her child with me while she continued to browse the racks of clothing. I am not even joking. I guess dog-on-leash-in-store equals babysitter?
By this time Haddie was wound-up! and my main concern was getting my child back in order as the stranger child continued to jump around squealing. My goodness!
Mom came back to retrieve her child, and I avoided them the rest of my shopping experience.
The highlight came about twenty minutes later; after Haddie had settled down and ignored the dashing child popping out from this way and that as I continued to turn circles the other way to keep moving. The highlight was when a sweet older-ish lady asked if she could see my dog.
Haddie stayed still in her sit position while the woman petted Haddie's head and stroked under her chin (Haddie's favorite when wearing her GL because it feels sooooo good to rub under that blue lead). The woman talked so gently and nice to Haddie, and then shared that her friend had trained many dogs for guide service.
She mentioned that she could never be a puppy raiser - not because she couldn't give them back - but because she would break all the rules and let the puppy sleep with her (insert smile). She didn't go into detail, and I wasn't going to ask for further info, but she said that she used to have a service dog of her own that really helped her. You could tell she already had a soft spot for Haddie as she said, "You got a good one here!" I had to agree.
She thanked me for the time with Haddie; saying it just made her morning and was exactly what she needed.
Aww - that BEST kind of stranger to meet!