During the time that we were together, she said multiple times how weird it was that everyone was staring at us, and talking to/about us. It got me thinking about how slowly and steadily I have learned to ignore these things. Sure, I hear The. Funniest. comments from people on a daily basis, but somehow in the course of the last ten months, it has become normal.
The first few times I had a puppy in public were weird. I don't like being the center of attention, and I enjoy eating without being stared at. The fact is, with an adorable puppy walking next to you, having someone ignore you is very rare (but, Oh, so welcome!).
When I don't have much time or even just really working on Dante's focus, I have learned to not make eye contact with anyone. Sure, I love to tell people about CCI or educate on service dogs, but for those people who just want to get their hands on my dog, I keep it short, and move on. Lately, Dante has been getting distracted by people, so there has been no petting allowed. For the record: saying "no" to petting gets so much easier the more you do it.
On Wednesday we went to the mall. A few of the things that were said about/to us included:
- (My mom heard after she had passed us. About me telling her she couldn't pet Dante) "Well, I've never heard that one before." All I said was that he couldn't be pet because he was working right now. Apparently, she has not met many service animals.
- A mom explaining to her children: "You see that lady holding the doggie's leash, she's can't see and the dog is guiding her." I really do appreciate your effort to educate your kids, even though it was slightly off :-)
- After I explained to a very nice woman why I wasn't allowing Dante to be pet: "So, can you pet him?"
Yup, I think it's official: this is my new normal.