I normally stop and talk to and pet any dogs I meet while out walking. Its just what I do. I know not to do that with assistance dogs though and leave them alone. They are doing a job and do not need any distractions.
I have never personally known anyone with an assistance dog, so never had an opportunity to actually meet one until recently.
We have a volunteer at work who has a guide dog. She comes in with her dog every day and the dog lies at her feet on a blanket while she is doing her work. We all leave her alone, until she takes the harness off for a quick break. Suddenly the dog comes alive and is wagging her tail and bouncing at each of us.
We all get as excited as the dog does at these breaks. 🙂
The harness coming off is her cue that she is off duty and all the pent up energy is released. A few minutes later, the harness goes back on and she is back on duty.
It is amazing to think of the amount of training that goes into getting a dog to respond so instantly to the cue.
Apparently, many of the dogs that undergo the training as service dogs do not end up as service dogs because they never do learn to reliably respond instantly to the cues or situations.
The training varies greatly depending whether the person needs a guide dog, a hearing dog, or a service dog for a variety of illnesses including Autism, mobility issues, Parkinson’s Disease, MS or Epilepsy.
I found a page that lists many of the duties. You can check it out here if interested.
When not on duty, the dogs are pets, but some of the service dogs are on duty all the time. It is very interesting to think about how much responsibility these dogs carry.
As always, here is a link to Africam, so you can see what is going on in Africa. 🙂
We are still waiting for the first eggs to hatch on the Potted Plant Owl cam. These are Spotted Eagle Owls who nest in a potted plant on a balcony every year. She only laid 2 eggs this year, so we are hoping that both hatch into healthy little owlets.