Tonight the family loaded up in the truck for a “quick trip” to our local wholesale market. We needed the typical bulk items like toilet paper. There are 3 girls in the house, it is shocking to go from bachelor status to a family of four, three being female, and see how much toilet paper gets used. (Editor’s Note: I personally think its a little gross that men don’t use more toilet paper than they do!) I am grateful for bulk paper products. Ink cartridges for the printer (It’s a crime how much they charge for those! I thought gas and milk were expensive). When we make this trip I try to think about the fact that I won’t need to be back for quite some time. Since I do try and be positive I think the sheer number of people that are pushing extra wide carts while paying more attention to their device of choice than their surroundings makes it a good training opportunity for Casper and me.
As we were selecting our last items a mother and son approached and complimented Casper. I thanked them, and since I was leaning against an industrial rack their request to pet and meet Casper was accepted. It turned out the son was not particularly interested so we smiled and moved on. I tried to make a move toward the registers but I was intercepted by another shopper easily in her late seventies, and I reference her age because it is a factor in my patience levels. This sweet looking lady cut off my escape and put her hand down in front of Casper for him sniff. My first reaction was to tell her that the proper way to meet a service team is to ask before petting and respect the “NO PET” patch on his vest. I squashed that, smiled through my teeth and said hello instead. I told myself being kind is a better response. She proceeded to ask me general questions about Casper to which I provided the general answers. I tried again to make an awkward escape but it was no good, she had more for me.
She proceeded to tell me how she would like to get her own dog service certified. She told me all about her ailments and how her dog assists her, and how nice it would be not to leave her dog in the car. (Dogs left in a car are a peeve of mine; don’t get me started.) I told her that it is possible to do that and if her dog helps her she should look into it. She matter-of-factly told me that it costs over four thousand dollars to get a service dog. I said that if her dog provides her a service then getting certified is likely a much simpler and affordable process. I was then told that she already looked into it. I thought it odd, but took my queue and dropped the topic. This lady that I thought was sweet was actually turning out to be rather sour. Each time I thought I had a gracious way to end the conversation I was proven wrong.
About this time Lauri and the girls try and rescue me. Lauri tells her how blessed we are to have such a great dog in our lives. Then she talked about how great her dog was for her as well and regaled us with a story of him saving her life. Nice story. Then she went on to talk about how she knows about dogs and that is why she put her hand down to greet him when she walked up and how so many people don’t understand how big dogs will just attack you. I took this opportunity to explain that he was incredibly gentle and also point out that we did have a “NO PET” patch on his vest.
Not long after this she turns her attention back to Casper and tells him that he should take care of his master and pull my wheel chair. Okay, so there are two things wrong with this statement. The first, is that for me I consider Casper a partner, not simply a subordinate to a master. The second, I don’t have a wheelchair, there was no wheelchair anywhere in sight, and I don’t know how she thought it appropriate to make that assumption. Let me be clear, I have no problem with those who need a chair and I’m sure that if I do need a chair someday I will rock that too, but I happen to take pride in the effort I put forth to keep me walking over rolling.
If this were not enough ignorance for one encounter there was more. Oh yes! More. This wonderful human being then directed a statement my way. She said “You don’t work”. This was not phrased in the form of a question, it was a statement. At this point I couldn’t keep the puzzled look from my face. With a decidedly, just sucked a lemon look, I told her, Yes. I,Do! She then proceeded to congratulate me. Uh, thanks?! Oh, good, she says. So many people like you, who are mentally disabled,. just stay home and drain the system rather than getting a job. I have never been called mentally disabled, at least to my face. (I really wanted to challenge her metal capacities, but I chose to smile and nod.) This was the point that I HAD to get out. I found that I have a limit to how many times I can be offended in a five minute conversation.
I questioned whether to post this or not. (Editor’s Note: If he didn’t I would have!) I decided I would share in the effort of awareness. I will take this experience as a lesson in patience and kindness. I ask that you, my dear friends, take from this what you will but always remember to be kind and thoughtful in all your interactions…even if you want to run someone over with your cart.
Written by DFS
Edited by LJS
Tagged: ask to pet, balance and stability, big dog, dane, disability, disability awareness, dog, great dane, mobility dogs, service animals, service dane, service dog
Dan & Caspar, the mind boggles at the depth and length of this poor woman’s ignorance……. Somehow, you were very gracious to her with your efforts to educate but I suspect the information fell on deaf ears. I think you and Laurie & the girls need a signal (LOL – maybe a slice across the neck) for them to come rescue you after 5 minutes. No one should have to endure a longer session of such mental bombardment & abuse! Kudos to both of you.
Thank you Dan for keeping us informed about the negligence of some!!!
I’ve been thinking abt your post while I was working out in the barn. (Good place to think) First, my determination of a good person is one who is compassionate & kind to the elderly & to animals. You pass those with flying colors!! ( I know, some in both categories can be just awfull!) I have come to realize that some people do not know the simplest of things. Maybe if that EVER happens again (hope not) you could say cheerfully “oh, Casper, IS the reason I am OUT of that wheelchair! Isn’t he FANTASTIC!” He is, & you & all your family are blessed to have each other. I blessed Thanksgiving to you all! 💜 Barbara Lee
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Thank you, Barbara. Just one clarification: Dan has never been in a wheelchair. He takes extra time and energy to build core muscle so that he does not have to ever depend on that and considers himself lucky that it has never been necessary for him.
Oh my. You (& Casper) are kind & gentle souls. I bet Laurie was fuming!!!!😣 I so enjoy all that you post. Thank you. Many many people just do not think before they speak. 💜best to you & all your wonderful family. Barbara Lee
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I am amazed at what comes out of people’s mouths. They just do not think or have the ability to think. You handled this well inspite of what this woman said which I feel was rather offensive and cruel. Kindness and patience is rarity these days so pat yourself on the back and say, yeah I got out of this one and hopefully will never have to encounter this person or persons like her again.
And Casper, you did a good job of not biting her for being so offensive. Good Boy.
Dan, you have the patience of a saint (and I can say that after 16 years of Catholic school). WOW. I have always firmly believed that ignorance comes in all kinds of packages and this just reaffirms that. Thank you for going ahead and posting this. So proud that Secret Service Dog Casper didn’t chew her leg off…… LOL. Hugs to you, Lauri and Casper.
Great blog. You meet all kinds, good or bad, wherever you go. I sometimes have to tell myself to keep my mouth shut & just smile. Maybe next time shopping will be better.
Bless you Dan for showing such patience in a frustrating encounter. many of us could take a few lessons from you.Give both of your partners hugs and kisses. 🙂 😉
It truly baffles me how incredibly stupid and classless people are at times! Obviously her opinions are so one-sided due to her lack of knowledge of so many of life’s things. You were so patient trying to explain to her, yet she chose to remain in her closed one-sided mind. Kudos to you for trying to change the world one idiot at a time! Keep up the great work; you and Casper are a wonderful team and I love your blog!
I think our blog has a new motto: “Changing the world one idiot at a time!” lol
I agree with that. Glad you have such a great sense of humor or else it would drive you crazy
Holy crap… that’s all I can say. I give older people a little leeway sometimes, but this was off the charts.
OMD….I cannot believe the pure … … … (I’m at a loss for words)…. rudeness, self absorbsion … still cannot find the words. I can only congratulate you on holding it together….I sure couldn’t have. May your life be filled w/blessings for your patience and kindness. Hugs to you and please give my Little Ghost a hug.
I thought you handled that rather well. This woman really had you cornered….no where to run, no where to hide (I remember that song….) Perhaps Lauri and the girls should have a plan to rescue you after five minutes (when this happens again, and we know it will, unfortunately.) I’m sure if Casper could speak, he would have given her a piece of his mind. Hopefully, (fingers crossed) this woman has been educated, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Just keep doing what you’re doing; educating and keeping your composure and patience, even through gritted teeth. You are the better person for it…..Love you, Casper… ❤
Thank you, Dan, remarkable endurance in the face of ignorance! (Joking: that’ll teach you to shop in a place that sells 40-pound packages of Oreos…) Seriously, “those” people are everywhere, and you handled her beautifully — hey, you shoulda run over her with your wheelchair!…)
We actually had been joking about a huge package of double stuff oreos while we were there. Dan would not touch them, but I probably could have finished off the whole giant pack!! LOL
Dan, you win the ‘Patience Award’! I certainly would not have! Bless your heart – you are a very kind man!!!
In this instance yes. To be honest, he is not the most patient man! LOL He put up with a lot of insanity from the girls and me, though, so I think he is a saint.
Whew! That sweet looking lady’s ignorance is “on beyond zebra,” to quote Dr. Seuss. From this report, you handled it better than most mortals would have. May your patience, kindness, and fortitude be much rewarded – in this life! Many blessings to you.
thank you for the great story. In my profession I have encounters daily with a lot of people that make you go WOW. LOL You affirmed and reminded me to stop, take a deep breath and smile until I hang up the phone or leave the area and then go crazy. Kiss and hug Casper for me I still think he is adorable.
Much love and prayers == an avid Casper the friendly dane fan!