Entitled Mom Asks If Her Child Can Pet Service Dogs, Cant Take No For An Answer

People get into petty arguments with strangers all the time. They are usually brief and quickly forgotten about, and everyone just gets on with their lives. However these days, with pretty much everyone wielding easy access to a camera phone, these minor altercations can suddenly take on a life of their own.

This argument at a mall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a classic example of this. Misplaced anger and petty vindictiveness over a refused request to pet a service dog escalated a simple misunderstanding into a viral video, that has thousands of people weighing in with their own opinions on the matter. The video was originally shared to Facebook by service dog handler Megan Stoff and has been viewed over 2 million times, with people shocked by the aggression of the mother. It is (or at least should be) a well-known fact that service dogs are there to assist people with special circumstances or requirements, and shouldn’t be interfered with while working. Sure, a polite request can be made, but no means no, and this mom didn’t seem to understand that.

Had this crazy experience yesterday at the mall where some lady asked if she could pet the dogs. People ask us all the time so I just said, “no.” All the dogs are working so it’s my go to answer. And they walked away. No big deal right? This lady went out of her way to come back with her child and yell at us for saying “no” and for not saying, “nO iM sOrRy ThEy’Re TrAiNiNg.” And we should “have a sign or something.” You mean the 20 patches on my dog that say don’t pet?

24 Replies to “Entitled Mom Asks If Her Child Can Pet Service Dogs, Cant Take No For An Answer

  1. Faults on both sides. True, as a general rule I understand why making a fuss of service dogs is discouraged. But this was a very small child – encouraging her to have a rapport with animals is surely not a bad thing – and the mother’s original request was perfectly polite. Sure, the dog owner was entitled to refuse – but surely some gentle explanation – “I’m very sorry, and don’t want to upset your little girl, but my dog is in training and it just wouldn’t be good for her/him. I do hope you understand. Thanks for your interest in working dogs” would surely have defused the situation. Biting the mom’s head off like she did was quite uncalled for. Having said that, the mother was more greatly at fault for losing it, and should just have controlled her hurt feelings and walked away from the situation.

    Bluntly, a rather dismal lack of courtesy or empathy from the dog owner and a lack of maturity from the mother. Both at fault, I guess the mother more so for not controlling her feelings – but I can’t help disliking the way everyone is ganging up on her for this brief over-reaction in a rather self-righteous way.

    1. So Michael, every time someone asks the handler if they can pet the dog, the handler has to recite a 37 word (I counted it) monologue so the requester won’t feel bad. Each and every time. And when did saying “no” become biting a head off?

      1. If they didn’t like the response and then get all butt-hurt about it, there’s nothing you can do. You are now dealing with a liberal snowflake asshole that doesn’t understand a universal, short and sweet answer that is not subject to interpretation. They are so used to getting their way in all things, and the word “no” is not in their lexicon. Way to go for teaching your kid that “no” is negotiable, too. Great lesson for a young girl who will grow up to be a woman. “NO” must be I violate!

    2. No is a complete sentence. No one owes you an explanation why you can’t do something in regards to their pet or anything else they own. Stop being entitled.

      1. Yep. No absolutely means no. That broad is either bi polar or is going through menopause! I feel sorry for her child. Having to grow up with a mother like that. Eeks

    3. I wonder what the outraged woman would have said if I had come up and asked if I could pet her cute little daughter?

      Probably more than just “NO”, I’ll grant you that.

    4. I agree that the handler could’ve been more polite but, I imagine the handler has been asked that same questions millions of times and giving that long of an answer would be tiresome even for the most polite handlers (hell for most human beings!)

    5. Sorry but there is a sense of entitlement for even feeling an explanation is necessary. If the dog belonged to the mom, yes she can have an explanation but as it does not, a simple “no” is perfect enough.

    6. Being that we live in a country where we have a right to free speech… You are wrong wright. It is truly sad your mentality exists and yours is no different than the entitled mother teaching her daughter; if you don’t get what you want throw a tantrum.

      I had a similar experience: A woman, after telling me that I had a handsome dog, asked me if she could pet my dog, I said no. No sooner did the words leave my mouth, she reached to pet my dog, my dog snapped at her. She left hastily, accusing me of having a viscous beast. NO means NO! No matter the reason.

      However, I must give kudos to Tantrum Lady; she was able to make the situation a teaching moment for the trainer, who then made it a teaching moment for the public. Maybe, just maybe it was staged just for that purpose. …Just call it “Public Education”

    7. My family have been puppy-walking Guide-Dogs for the Blind for almost 5 years and on a day out to a shopping centre, we can easily be asked upwards of 20 times about touching the dogs, or people just touch them anyway. It’s quite frankly exhausting and often we leave without the majority of items on our shopping list because constant quick interactions make the dogs snappish. People appear to think that a dog in a shopping centre in a coat is somehow different to a family pet, but they aren’t. What would you do if someone walked up to your garden gate and asked to stroke your dog? It’s no different.

  2. No means NO! There is no need for further explanation when the dog obviously has numerous signs to indicate that he is a service dog. Also Most people are aware that service dogs are not to be touched. The man did need to give a comprehensive answer every time someone asks. Otherwise, there will be no time to work as he’s wasted time explaining himself and the dog’s job.
    Please also people and animals to do their jobs in peace.

  3. My husband has a service dog and generally kids do have the urge to pet her at work. But… no does me no, he doesn’t have to waste the extra time explaining himself. It’s a dog, it’s at work or as the mom put “training” don’t disrespect my space and continue your day.

  4. Simple female entitlement from someone who _used_ to be good looking and having their way with every man.
    She can’t take a “no” from anyone- yet alone a guy.
    Logic, reason and the law have no bearing on this sort of individual, no matter the sex.

  5. It doesn’t even make a difference that the dog was a service dog, though it makes the reasons for saying no more blatant. If anyone has any pet anywhere they have the right to say no to strangers wanting to physically handle them. No signs required. That there are signs just makes it worse.

  6. dogs or any animals involved with humans learn about “space”, This is a working dog leave its space alone. I learned this the hard way My grandfather raised blue ticks for hunting birds, best dogs in the western USA. one day I was in pen petting one and the shyt hit the fan, It was several years later before I was allowed back at the compound. People have a safe zone and so do dogs Yearly the dogs he sells go back to the compound for retraining, usually with complaints ” the dog just dont hunt like it used to.” usually from too many humans involved and makes confusion
    Now, I have 4 Malinois and the kids dont talk touch or have anything to do with them, They have a job, we also have 2 Rottys their job is to keep the kids safe likewise I dont feed them.

  7. I have a service dog, and usually I am fine with people petting them, but prefer to be asked first. Not everyone does ask, but I don’t make a scene if they pet without permission if it’s not interfering with me or her going about our day..

    Sometimes we are in a hurry, and I need my dog to focus or the dog is having a bad day.and needs to have fewer distractions from strangers so that she can learn a new skill.

    It’s exhausting to always have to explain that it’s not a good time to distract the dog. Sometimes there are so many requests to pet that it is a distraction, and it can send the wrong message that it’s okay for the dog to solicit attention from strangers. It isn’t.

    The woman was wrong to make a big scene about it, she should have just accepted ‘no’ for an answer without need for complicated explanations beyond that, in my view.

  8. No means no! Sure, but at least we have to deliver it with an accommodating facial expressions like a simple smile especially there was this little girl who may have been feeling so excited about trying to pet that cutie-dog she just spotted at the mall. That mom was just disappointed about that downright no answer with her kid listening! Just leave her alone guys!

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