What fun to get to have an afternoon to spend with my daughter! We enjoyed manicures - now I have festive, sparkly red nails for holiday parties - prior to us going out to the Festival of the Trees. This picture probably doesn't show the full effect of the crowds at this lovely event with rows and rows of Christmas trees. It is an event where a guide dog must be on her toes ... lots of popcorn and other treats on the floor, lots of children, lots of people stopping, walking in front of her, etc, etc! Throughout the time we would hear parents who would be telling their children - that is a working dog don't pet her - let her focus on her job. My daughter and I would tell them, THANK YOU! It not only helped Cricket do her job but also allowed us to enjoy our time together. At one point, a father walked over with his child as I overheard him say, let's go pet the dog. I smiled and explained she was working/serving as my eyes and please not pet her. (It was not the place to have a petting zoo - Cricket had enough to focus on.) He got a little huffy as he left. I felt bad about that -- in many settings I love to kneel down, talk to children, introduce Cricket and explain her work. With this large crowd it wasn't that type of setting.
There are certainly times where Cricket is allowed to have some attention even in harness. Steve and I just returned home from a Christmas dinner where at the end of the meal as we were getting up the couple sitting across from us asked if they could say hi to Cricket before she got up. We had spent the evening having a nice conversation, and I was happy to let them say hi to Cricket before I picked up her harness.
All I can take from the brief, unfortunate earlier experience is - thankfully, they are few and far between. I hope in the end he learned that a guide dog is a working dog -- important to ask first and if the harness is on and she is walking - she has a very important job to do serving as my eyes. Even if he didn't learn, its still the way it is! Okay, I feel better :).