Dear Moms—Please Teach Your Children Not To Pet Service Dogs

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“Dear fellow mom in Walmart,

I saw you coming down the aisle towards me, your three kids in tow, I get it being a mom is hard work sometimes.

Your youngest in the cart, your older 2 walking next to you.

I could hear you from far away ‘Yes look doggy, woof woof!’

Your kids walking faster arms stretched out. They where excited!

‘A DOG! A DOG!’ They called out.

With people behind me, shelves on both sides. I had no choice but to pass you.

I was dreading it, I knew your kids were going to try and pet my dog.

I knew you had no intention on telling them ‘don’t pet the dog, it’s working.’

I tried to put space between me and the people in front of me, so when it was my turn to walk by I could do it quickly, however my attempts to do so failed and I had to slowly walk past you and your kids.

Your daughter recached out and SMACKED my dog, hard.

There was an Audible thud as her hand hit her back.

My dog is highly trained, so luckily for your daughter the only reaction out of my dog was a tail tuck, and a quick Scurry up in front of me to get away from her.

I told you ‘she’s a service dog, please teach your kids not to pet them’

And maybe you where having a bad day, maybe you think your the world’s best mom, maybe you just think your kids are angels and can do no wrong and allow them to do whatever they want.

I don’t know.

I have never seen you before, I may never see you again, but I hope that if I do, you have done a better job at trying to help your children, how to behave better around service dogs.

Here is what you didn’t see.

5 minutes before I saw you I got an alert from my dog, my heart rate was steadily climbing, my chest was becoming tight, my vision was going fuzzy, I felt like I was underwater.

You couldn’t tell my hip was sliding in and out of place and every step I took was painful, agonizing.

You couldn’t see that your daughters actions caused my dog to miss a second alert. My heart rate now nearly 120, I felt like I was going to vomit, luckily I made it to my car before the full effects of my heart rate hit me, like a ton of bricks.

I lost almost consciousness.

Luckily my kids didn’t have to stand over their mother in the middle of the grocery store waiting for her to wake up.

Luckily your kids didn’t have to see some woman hit the ground, it can be scary for young kids, and even some adults.

I’m sorry that my ‘tip’ to help you help your kids, and help the the service dog community, pissed you off, and you felt the need to snap at me ‘EXCUSE YOU’ in a snotty holier than thou tone, but yes, excuse me, excuse me for expecting YOU as an adult to teach the children you are raising to be respectful of disabled individuals.

I’m sure you wouldn’t allow them to grab someone’s cane, or yank on their nasal cannula that supplies their oxygen.

My dog provides life saving assistance to me every day. She keeps me alive, and safe so that my kids, can enjoy their mother.

I’m not asking much.

I’m just asking you to give the same respect you would expect, had you been the disabled mother and service dog handler.

So mom, if your reading this, know I’m not mad, just disappointed.

Disappointed you didn’t apologize, disappointed that I can’t shop without fear of your kids hitting my dog, disappointed that as a mom to another mom you reacted the way you did.

However, that while yes my night went to crap in a matter of seconds, I’m safe.

I’m home, and I’m alive, because yes it could have ended completely different. I could not be.

Just like that.

service dog sitting in store
Courtesy of Laura Joos

Another mom, who happens to be disabled, and a handler of a service dog.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laura Joos, 27  of Kentucky. Be sure to subscribe to our best stories in our free email newsletter.

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