Personally, I think that those who deliberately distract my guide dog whilst I am working it are invaders of my personal space and extremely rude. If people took the time to ask me if they could stroke my dog, I’d probably say yes, unless of course, I was in a terrible hurry, in which case I’d say something along the lines of: “I’d rather you didn’t as I have to be somewhere,but please, if you see me passing again, ask me.”
This lunch time I went over to Sainsbury’s with Jasmine who was working well. Until that is, three people in succession tried to get her attention by putting their hands out to her or even patting her as she passed. Because Jasmine is a young dog and very full on, she reacted to these gestures and stopped concentrating. Each time this happened I had to give her a firm correction to bring her focus back to me and her work. One of the three even had the nerve to say I was cruel.
So, poor Jasmine was punished for something which she didn’t even initiate. Had she been left alone she’d have worked like a dream. Its just so unfair. What I’d really like to do in these situations is yank the person away from my dog, not the other way around, but I’d be had up for assault if I did!
This situation to me is like approaching someone with a nice bag, admiring it then touching it, even looking inside the pockets. I’d be apprehended for invading that person’s space and property, I might even be accused of attempting to steal their belongings. So why isn’t a guide dog considered my property and therefore afforded same respect from the public at large?