I‘m a “people watcher”, but I’m also an “animal watcher.” I always notice when someone has a service dog. I tend to watch them to try to pick up ques to see if they seem happy. I wonder if anyone else notices them. If anyone else worries about their well-being as much as the person’s well-being.
This topic came to me when I was at the grocery store tonight. I passed a woman with a service dog. I watched him. It’s probably because they are working, but they always look sad to me. This dog looked like he was walking funny on his back legs. Maybe he was older and it was arthritis. Maybe it’s just the way he walks. I don’t know. But I said a prayer for him, that HIS needs were being met as well. After all, he is helping the woman live her life, he should get what he needs and deserves in return.
Then isles down there was a couple with a service dog. I can’t remember the last time I saw someone at this store with a service dog and tonight, two! So again, I watched. This dog also seemed sad to me. But the couple seemed happier than the woman I saw earlier. The man noticed a little girl looking at the dog, so he asked her if she wanted to pet him. This man and his wife were smiling, so to me they seemed nice. Somehow this comforted me in regards to their service dog.
But I’ll never forget one particular service dog. When I worked at a hotel, I was checking in a woman with a dog. Being the animal lover that I am, I was talking to to her about the dog and mentioned petting it. She told me that he was “working.” I said “oh, well I bet when you get to the room, you’ll be able to give him some petting.” She said “No, he is always working.” “But there must be some time that you are able to give him some petting and relaxing time.” “No, he is always working. No need to confuse him with getting out of the routine.” What?! This poor dog was never getting any affection. It broke my heart.
I have nothing against dogs as service dogs, I am just thinking and wondering if anyone notices them in the way I do? I am almost certain most people walked by those people with the dogs and maybe thought a few things like…”what a cute dog” or “why is there a dog in the store” or “I wonder what’s wrong with that person that they need a dog?” Then they finished shopping, paid, and walked out to their car thinking about what they are going to do when they get home. Then there is me. I walked by them, observed them, prayed for them, and was thinking about them through the parking lot and at home…hence the post.