Claremore woman: Don't pet, interfere with service dogs
CLAREMORE, Okla. (KTUL) —
A Claremore woman is asking those who see service dogs out in the public not to try and pet them.
“I don’t want anyone touching my dog [because] I want him focused on me," said Chyanne Smith.
At first glance, you might not know why Smith needs a service dog. But she says the reason is no one's business but her own.
“Service animals need to be focused on their owner," Smith said.
That's not easy when there are distractions. Smith says she was recently shopping at a Claremore grocery store when her dog Meeko became a target.
“Some lady asked if [her] daughter could pet Meeko," Smith said. "I said no, he’s working."
This scenario happens quite often for the former U.S. Marine Corps sergeant. She said she suffers from PTSD, and Meeko helps keep her from having panic attacks.
“I don’t see it as beneficial for people to come up and pet my service dog while he’s working," Smith said.
Marjorie Satterfield, who owns Glad Wags and trains service dogs in Tulsa, says Smiths's situation is not uncommon.
“It’s hard for a lot of people to ask you not to pet their dog," Satterfield said. “It’s really hard to tell a little kid no you can’t pet my dog."
Satterfield says sometimes it’s not as apparent someone with a service dog has a disability. But nonetheless, she says most dogs wear a vest if they're certified.
“If they’re out in public, then they’re working and they need to concentrate on their job," Satterfield said.
If you see someone out with their dog, Satterfield suggests staying at least a foot away. In some states, she says you can receive a fine for interfering with a service dog while they’re working.