I know that people are often saying things about the weird questions they are asked about their service dogs, or service dogs in training. However, I think some of the encounters I have had need their own category of stupid.
They started back when I was workign Sterling. I was in a coffee shop, just waiting for my order, when a gentleman walked up to me. He then waved his hand right in front of my face and said, "Are you blind?" Since I was looking at him, and when he walked up to me had been reading a text on my phone, I really was at a loss for words. I informed him that there are many types of service dogs, and that Sterling was not a guide dog yet. He walked off in a huff.
Another time I was walking to my car at school, keys in hand, Sterling at my side. A group of kids were getting out of a car with their parents. As I walked past them, and opened my car to get in, the mom tells her kids that "Now you should not bother that doggie, because he is showing that blind lady where to go" While I appreciate her telling her kids not to bother service dogs, WHAT?! Since when do visually impaired individuals drive...?
With Sterling, I have been doing a lot of socilization work down at the ski resort base. It has lots of people and smells, but if he has an accident it isn't a huge deal. (He hasn't had any yet though!) This resort has avalanche search and rescue dogs, and many of the skiers are aware of them. However, they wear red vests with a white cross on them, and Sterling's is green and says "guide dog puppy in training" on it, along with the Guide Dogs for the Blind logo.
I was walking up the plaza the other day, when a guy stops me and says "We could have really used that dog [at the Canyons] yesterday. (There had been an avalanche). Two things...one, guide dog means guide people, not finds people. Second, he is 4 months old!!! When was the last time 4 month old puppies were used for search and rescue? Think before you speak...
I was out with Sterling at the base of Park City Mountain Resort, just doing some crowd work. This guy comes up to me and asks, "Is that a Lab?" I am very used to this question, as Sterling is an English Lab, and most people are used to seeing American Labs. So I say yes, he is a lab. The guy then asks, "A black Lab?" I just don't know what to say...maybe..."No he is purple..." I mean, if he is a lab, and you can see he is black, then wouldn't it make sense that he is a black lab? Lord, I just smiled and walked away. Next time I will say the purple thing.
The final one is this...again at PCMR. A father and his daughter come up to me (daughter is my age or a little older), and the father reads Sterling's vest and says, "So he is a search and rescue dog?" The daughter gives her dad a look, and says, "No, see it says right here, guide dog for the blind." Then the dad looks at her and says "I am glad that college education is working." I thanked the girl for her ability to read and comprehend, something I do not seem to encounter much when out with the dogs.
That's all I have for now. I am positive I will have more stories of this nature to share as the weeks go on.