As part of a Service Dog team you are no longer invisible. You are walking into a store with a DOG!! People will stop and stare, they will point, they will muse loudly to themselves, they will want pictures and they will ask lots, and lots and lots of questions when you only wanted to run in for some milk.
As we all start, many of us smile and are so happy that our dogs have gotten us out of the house and in the world of humans that we are happy to talk and inform the public. As the months have gone on, I've realized that I just don't have that much time in my day. The ones I will stop and talk to are the children.
So, during the first week of my stay in Baltimore, I had to go fill a prescription at Walmart. While standing outside waiting to be picked up a group of young men passed in front of us, then they all yelled and jumped back. (because a 30" black standard poodle is invisible until you are 6" away from him) The age range was about 6 to 14. I got "does he bite?" question, the "what are you doing here question" and we talked for a little bit. The older two asking questions and being very polite about it. As my brother's car was pulling up they asked did I buy him. I told them yes and then the little one looked up at me with wide open eyes "Walmart sells them!?!"
That was super cute. Then my brother brought me to Wagmans (which is an awesome store!) and we ran into a woman with her daughter who was in a scooter. They were so excited, they had recently found out that a dog had been selected for them and he had about 4 months left of training until he would be placed. Her daughter was about 11 yrs old and I believe CP (cerebral palsy) along with other issues. She had wanted a Standard Poodle (which Spirit is) and we talked about how the people with her program would pick out the best dog for her and that she will end up loving it so much that it won't matter the breed.
I've also been hanging out with my new friend Sara (hi!!!) and she isn't as forthcoming as I am but it is interesting to watch how she calmly says that "he is working" or "not today" and keeps on going. I think I'm going to have to take a page from her book, because sometimes, I'm just out to get milk (and Oreos).