Today's puppy adventure brought us two different sets of people. The first were two women shopping together who were just dying to pet Haddie. You can tell the type, they were whispering to each other just loud enough for me to hear. They were talking about Haddie's sweet face, ohh the eyes, and how it would be so much fun to do "that". Acknowledging their interest to the four legged beside me, I offered them to pet Haddie. Swoon. They were in love. We had a nice conversation about the program, about CCI, and about their desire to "one day" do something like this. Genuine. They got it.
Then, as I was nearing the end of my list and time at this large store, I heard a man ask from behind us, "How old is your dog?" I turned and answered the question, and that just started an entire nonsensical discussion that I eventually had to politely try to find a way to exit from. At last I got in, "Well, have a nice day! We must be going now." to which he kept talking even though I was slowly walking away from him. Half way down the aisle and out of sight, I could still hear him talking.
His quick opener after the age question was "Where did you get the dog's vest?" My gut reaction was that I had someone wanting to cheat the system; to get a vest for his dog that does not qualify for one. The standard answer that it came with the dog from the organization that she is owned by, did not suffice. He was trying to break me down as if I needed to tell the truth. He did not understand that I already was.
It wasn't until he was saying his Therapy Dog tears up his house when he is away, and that the dog doesn't listen or pay attention to him, and that he can't understand why it has been five years and still no vest, that I clued in that perhaps he was not trying to skirt the system, but perhaps he had challenges of his own. At this point it just became a matter of me trying to encourage him to have a good day, with a smile, and lots of nodding.
During the stand still - Haddie sat between the cart I had been pushing and me - just staring at me with out moving. She sensed this was important to keep watch on me. I kept smiling at her; I like to think she caught my vibe that this was just a situation we'd have to wait-out with patience. She did fabulous. I love her attention.
While his second line really got to me at first, the more I stood listening to his stories (not even a smidge of what I typed), the more I realized that not everyone is trying to break the system. Some perhaps do quality for a therapy/service/companion dog, but they just don't know the correct means of going about it. And taking time to listen, and thinking positively, is what they really need from us representing an organization such as CCI.
The Art of being Polite can be a positive lessons learned.