An angry mom who appeared in a viral video filmed at Ross Park Mall in Pittsburgh, PA is being called "entitled" after blowing a gasket when she was told she couldn't pet a service dog.
Anyone with a service dog, or anyone who knows someone with a service dog, or anyone who's ever been versed in common courtesy and kindness will know that they aren't for petting, playing, giving belly rubs or snacks, or any of the fun stuff we love doing with domesticated animals.
That's because they're not our playthings. As cute and cuddly and well-mannered as they might be, service dogs are there for a specific job or purpose: to assist whoever they've been assigned to. They've undergone rigorous training regimens. Many of the programs they study under train them with certain behavioral patterns and stimuli-responses that make them good at what they do. So no, giving them a piece of your cheesesteak is probably not OK.
Imagine for a second you didn't know someone's adorable dog was a service animal and you mistakenly walked up to the good girl or boy to pet them. Touching people's pets without getting their human's OK is almost never cool, but let's say you misread their signals and went ahead and did it anyway. How would you respond if the human in question told you not to do that?
Would you react like this mom did?
It all started when ML Leigh was at the Ross Park Mall with service dogs who were in training. The young mom in question approached Leigh and asked if sge and her family could pet the dogs.
She must've not seen the 20 some patches on the dogs that say they can't be pet, as they are training. Leigh, used to the recurring query, has developed the habit of tersely saying no to people who want some dog-pet action.
The mom didn't really like the way that Leigh said, "no" and then, after walking away, she returned to give the handler a piece of her mind and ask if there was a "higher up" or "anyone else" she could talk to about the woman's behavior.
The "entitled" mom couldn't seem to understand why the owner of service-dogs-in-training wouldn't allow someone to just amble up to them for an impromptu cuddle session.
Ciarán Williamson, one of the individuals in ML Leigh's group at the mall spoke with Bored Panda about the incident, and says he couldn't understand why the mom took such offense at being told, "no" when she asked to pet the dog. While he usually doesn't mind when people ask if they could pet his dog, he does think it shows a lack of consideration and thoughtfulness on their part.
One of the reasons Ciarán has a service dog is because he's autistic. Like everyone with a service animal, he has one with him at all times for a specific purpose. By walking up to someone with a cute pupper, especially when they're rocking a vest decked out with patches asking people not to pet them, folks like our irate mall mom are not thinking of the potential struggles the service dog owner could be living with.
If the angry mom thinks she was in the right, she probably shouldn't try to garner any support from strangers online. Once Leigh's story broke out, an overwhelming number of people either face-palmed or outright castigated the woman for her behavior.
Several users online were also more than willing to provide helpful links showing the woman why touching a service dog that doesn't belong to you is generally a very, very bad idea.
What do you think? Did the mom overreact to Leigh's brusque reply? Or does she need to get a grip and realize that people can deny your request to pet your dog and not have to worry about the way they come off?