Last weekend was finally a beautiful break of the summer heat that we’ve been having. A day when it wasn’t 90+ has been a bit of a rarity so my SO and I wmade plans with a friend to hit two of the large outdoor art fairs in town. We were heading out around 10am so it was still early and with a doggy canteen on my side, I brought one of our dogs with. (The pug can handle long walks, the bulldog wouldn’t.)
Now, I adopted the pug when he was 6 months old and he’s a great dog and has really come out of his shell in the year and a half I’ve had him. He used to be afraid of strangers, if someone was walking towards him on the sidewalk, he would freeze until they passed. When I reached down to pet him and he’d duck out of the way. To put it frankly, I sadly think he was abused. So better life for him now, he no longer freezes, he doesn’t duck out of the way when I reach down to pet him. In other words, he’s building up trust. This summer, he’s actually gone up to people on his own to say hi at the doggy park. As long as he initiates contact, he lets them pet him, any petting by strangers without his consent makes him run away. So, baby steps here, but I’m happy with the progress.
Back to the story:
So we’re going through the crowds at the art fair and Spoon the pug is doing great. We stop for water, a little treat, etc but he’s keeping up and having a good time being out of the house. When we stopped at one place, one of the artists comes up and asks to put him, I agree and Spoon shied away. So I figured he was not in a mood to be petted that day. As we progress, several children and adults come up and ask to pet him. I reply “sorry, no” which apparently People. Don’t. Do.
At one point, I get chastised by a mother after her 8 year old daughter complains that she asked but was denied. “Why won’t you let my daughter pet your dog? She asked nicely!”
In my mind I wanted to reply “because Veruca Salt doesn’t always get what she wants when she wants it”. But I didn’t and just said “he doesn’t like children, sorry.”
So the question is, do I have some societal duty to let anyone pet my dog that asks?