Forgive me as this might be a bit of a rant.
Most of the time I shrug this off, smile, and allow you to operate under your assumptions, but deep down, this makes me nuts. And it happens at minimum twice anytime I go anywhere.
Truth is, I don’t want to hear about how you have a dog just like that! A. Because I just don’t freaking care. and B. because NO you absolutely don’t.
You don’t because A. Despite your assumption, my dog is not a black labrador. Just like you have at home. And B. Even if he was, your dog still won’t be just like mine because your dog isn’t a highly trained, incredibly well bred public access trained guide dog.
How about this G.P (1), how about instead I give you a short list of more appropriate ways to engage with me, a complete stranger to you, should you care to when I’m out trying to get my every day life accomplished (like enjoy a family outing, or eat a nice meal out with my husband, or go to the movies, or get the mail, or go grocery shopping, or visit my gram at the hospital, or any other of the myriad of routine tasks that require I leave my home with my four legged, tail wagging, very smart mobility device also known as TOM.)
Instead of vocalizing completely unprompted to a stranger who has shown no inclination to engage with you (ie me), you could:
- Smile to yourself as you think of your own dog at home and think about how you would love if he/she was as well trained at that lady’s guide dog and that maybe you will sign up for that obedience and manners class you’ve been meaning to.
- Smile to yourself and think, “Yea, I do love my labrador. S/he is the best dog.”
- Smile to yourself and promise to take your dog for a walk later that day when you get home.
Or if you absolutely feel the need to engage with a complete stranger trying to go about her day (again: me), here are some other suggestions:
Instead of making assumptions, you could ask: “Is that a black labrador? I have one at home!” See what I did there? Instead of automatically making the conversation more ‘confrontational’ (because when assuming my dog is a lab and you have one too I then have the quandary of ‘do I correct this complete stranger and tell him or her that they are wrong, my dog isn’t a black lab? or do I let them continue on their assumptions?’), there is actually room for conversation and discourse without confrontation.
Or if you’re heck bent on making a statement instead of actual engagement and discourse a simple, “Your dog is gorgeous.” Or “Your dog is so well trained.” Will suffice. Both of those are truths. And both of those allow me to smile and continue about my routine or tasks without any further thought or concern of distraction.
If you are still struggling to grasp why this is an issue, imagine a body part of yours. Any body part will suffice. And now imagine 2 out of every 10 complete strangers you run into at the grocery store yell out as you walk past unprompted, “I have a hand/ear/hair/foot/genital just like that!” Weird, right? Uncomfortable, right? Yea. That’s what I mean.
- General Public