Now for my top 5 things overheard or done while at a local mall:
1. Random people coming up to perform a drive-by pet or to pay a compliment to Amy that went something like this “what a beautiful dog.” At one point, there were so many people Amy’s mom joked with the trainer “Did you plan this?” We knew some of people were planted, as they looked too familiar to us, but even the trainer admitted that he could not have planned it the way it happened…For the second time in our six public access tests, Amy had someone come up to pet me just as I was about to pick up an object. This time, Amy was not afraid I would stop working, if I heard the word don’t. So, she politely said to the woman, “Please do not pet my dog, he is working right now.” The woman appeared shocked and Amy did not want to seem rude, but it had to be said.
2. (A customer saying to a cashier) “They can have dogs here? The cashier replying “Yes they can, if they need them, I think she must be blind.” (Yet, I’m pretty sure she saw Amy driving her motorized chair).
3. (A girl around 10) “Wow, you can bring a dog here? Mom, we should buy a puppy and bring it here.”
4. (A woman walking behind Amy, who didn’t know she was there, stating in a loud, boisterous voice) “You have a beautiful dog there.” Startled, Amy replied, “Thank you,” while trying to hide the fact that she nearly jumped out of her skin.
(CCI does train hearing dogs who alert partners to key sounds by making physical contact such as nudging the leg or arm. Doorbells, an alarm clock, someone calling a name or a smoke alarm are among the many sounds they are trained to recognize and respond to). Amy however, does not need this assistance.
5. (A dad saying to his son, as they walked by us) “The answer is no,” then looking to his wife to make sure she had his hand. Stating that it says right on my vest, “Please do not pet, Yazzen is working.” Kudos to that dad! Amy wishes more people would learn to read my vest before they conduct their drive-by pets.