Many people seemed to enjoy my post the other day where I ranted about how people act around my service dog, Celeste. While I try not to rant too much about things, I find myself doing it a lot. It's because I've been diagnosed with a low tolerance for stupid people. That doesn't mean that if a person is simply unable to learn due to either a disability or lack of resources available I'll hold it against them. The "stupid people" I'm talking about are those who choose not to use either their education or the common sense with which they should have been born.
Today is one of those days. This afternoon, Husband, Youngest Son and I decided to go out for lunch. We've been to many restaurants in our local area and most are very accepting of Celeste because she has the legal right as a service dog to accompany me. For some reason, the places I have the most difficulty are Chinese restaurants. I'm not sure if they're simply worried someone will call the health department for them allowing a dog in their restaurant or if they're worried I'm there to check the immigration status of their employees. Because of the hassle trying to explain to someone who barely speaks English that she is legally allowed to stay with me and they can't make me sit away from everyone else or not go to the buffet because they don't want her close to the food (even though she completely ignores it), I usually avoid those places.
Our restaurant of choice today was a locally-owned Mexican restaurant where the first time I took Celeste there they weren't too sure about her but now they know she'll stay quietly under the table until we're done and never disturbs others or eats anything dropped on the floor. They, along with most of the restaurants I frequent, forget that she's with me during my dining experience because she's so quiet and well-behaved. Of course she is -- she's a trained and certified service dog.
The problem is even though the restaurants know that she's allowed to be there, other patrons do not. And when out in public, I know there are people who are allergic to dogs (those with serious allergies, not just the sniffles) and those who are afraid of dogs. Today, we were walking into the restaurant as a group of people were walking out. As I told the hostess how many people were in our party, I suddenly began to hear screeching to my left. Apparently, a teenage girl on her way out with her family saw Celeste and decided to let everyone within a one-mile radius know that she didn't want to be near a dog.
For those of you who don't personally know me, let me give you a bit of information about Celeste. She's a Beauceron -- a rare breed here in America but a very popular French herding dog breed that has in the past been used as a police dog and was used during World Wars I and II by the Allies. The breed dates back to the 1500's and the Doberman Pinscher and many shepherd breeds were created from the Beauceron's bloodline. She's an AKC Champion and weighs about 85 pounds. Basically, she is an imposing figure for anyone not familiar with her and though she's not trained for aggressiveness or "protection," all she needs to do is look someone in the eye and they usually give her a wide berth.
The girl began to squeal in a very annoyingly high pitch while jumping up-and-down next to Celeste. The rest of the group she was with was trying to shuffle her out the door, but she continued to jump while muttering something about, "Don't let the dog look at me!" So badly I wanted to turn around and say, "Hey! If you'd stop acting like a lunatic she wouldn't have even noticed you!" Youngest Son was incredibly embarrassed when we sat down. I asked what the problem was and he mentioned that the girl who was screeching is in his 7th hour class this year and that she acts that way at school, too.
It completely baffles me how people act around a service dog. The most outrageous scene we've experienced (so far, anyway) was when we were at a shopping mall and Celeste and I entered the elevator because (1) I wanted to visit a store on a different level and (2) dogs can navigate escalators but not easily and it's very dangerous if they're distracted. As we entered a teenage girl began to scream at the top of her lungs. The pitch of her voice went higher and higher as she began to crouch in the floor and scream, "It's a dog! It's a dog in here!" Then she followed that up with just higher and higher screams of varying lengths. I tried to explain to her that if she would stop screaming, Celeste would stop looking at her. Even her friends began to back away as if they were trying to deny they ever knew her. I told her that if she didn't want to ride with a dog that she was welcome to leave and held the door open for her. Nothing was going to stop her from her hysterical attention-grabbing act. Even a small child standing with her mother in the elevator said, "What a big baby" in the teen's direction.
What is it with attention-seeking idiots who feel that their sophomoric actions will improve their standing in others' opinions? I hear people talk on television and social media about "drama queens" and can only imagine that these people are auditioning for the title. Why in the world they'd want to be known for that completely escapes me.
But, rest assured, as I find more examples I'll be sure to document them. This isn't a challenge for those of you who know me to try to make the blog. If you do, I can pretend that I've never met you just as well as those other gals in the elevator did.