There are few temptations harder to resist than the urge to pet a cute dog.
Though for varying reasons some dog owners prefer if strangers avoided petting or playing with their dogs.
In some cases, the dogs are service animals, and thus have a job to do when they’re out and about, making petting and playing with them inappropriate.
And occasionally, dogs simply don’t like to be petted and will react accordingly when people try to do so.
That certainly wasn’t the case with Redditor aubs2_0, who hoped that more people would stop and pet their rescue dog.
They even went so far as to give him an outfit which might encourage people to do so.
But after being scolded by a passer by, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for buying my rescue puppy a ‘pet me’ vest to wear on walks?”
The OP shared how the lack of attention their rescue dog was getting when they went out for walks seemed to have a negative affect on their disposition, prompting OP to come up with a sweet solution.
“My 10 month rescue puppy is a 50 lb pit terrier mix (looks more like a mini lab with brindle coat).”
“He’s actually pretty small and super friendly.”
“However, no one ever came up to pet him on our walks or when we took him out and he ended up really sad.”
“We were concerned that people thought he was aggressive or didn’t know if they could pet him…”
“So, we bought him a vest that says ‘please pet me’ on it so people know it’s okay to pet him and that he’s not going to be aggressive towards them.”
“He would lick your face with kisses before ever biting anyone.”
The vest seemed to do just the trick for the OP’s dog, though not everyone approved of the pup’s new wardrobe.
“We’ve has really great results with this, people read his vest and realize it’s okay to pet him and most people ask beforehand anyways.”
“However, we did have this one woman come up all upset saying ‘we’re confusing people and imitating service dogs’.”
“I responded that it wasn’t our intention to do that and just wanted people to know he’s okay to pet, he’s not aggressive and won’t bite because he’s friendly and loves meeting people.”
“She basically went on a 5 minute rant about how he (kept pointing at my dog) doesn’t need a vest then and to not disrespect service animals.”
“Poor pup kept wagging his tails and sitting nicely for pets from this lady.”
“I have the utmost respect for service animals and their owners, I personally know people who have them and they are great!”
“I even asked them for their opinions on this and they said it was ok to do.”
“So now I’m a little hesitant to put the vest on him and don’t want that to happen to him again… “
“But he actually does like wearing it and it actually helps walk him better vs. a different harness or just his collar.”
“AITA for wanting him to wear it so people know?”
“Should I just take the sign off?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
The Reddit community was firmly in agreement that the OP was not at all the a**hole for dressing their dog in a “pet me” vest.
Everyone agreed that the woman who scolded the OP was badly out of line, and had no business telling the OP what they can and can’t dress their dog in.
“I’m confused, what’s this got to do with service dogs?”
“You weren’t running around giving out vests to service dogs, you put something on your dog specifically.”
“Her reaction is super weird to me.”
“I would love to see a dog with this vest on, at least it’s clear.”
“It’s like saying because one restaurant is Italian, all restaurants are Italian.”
“I might be missing something because her logic is very confusing.”
“Just forget about her, she’s out of line and is being ridiculous.”
“You are NTA and are doing a good thing to help socialize your dog further.”-sashaopinion.
“NTA, I feel like this is super helpful for everyone involved.”
“Sounds like that woman just wanted someone to yell at.”
“Pup tax please!”- Interesting_Sea_7815.
“Service dog vests are clearly marked as ‘service dog’ or ‘working dog, do not pet’.”-SimplySam4210.
“This lady literally just needed to be mad at something, it’s honestly not personal even though she was trying to make it out to be that way.”
“There are lots of non-service dogs who wear vests.”
“Some say ‘don’t pet/feed me,’ some are just harnesses that are a little larger, and some are full-on hiking outfits.”
“They do not disrespect service dogs, lmao.”
“For what it’s worth, I think getting a pet me vest is fantastic.”
“Many people don’t want to stop and ask because it can be disruptive to the walker, but socializing your dog this way is a really great thing to do for your pup! “
“If that lady bothers you again, tell her flat out to write her petty complaints in a diary and leave you alone.”- aamfbta
“The vest doesn’t say ‘service dog’.”
“If it did that would be a different story.”- rage_r.
“Life would be a lot easier if more people used vests like this for their dogs, or leads that say things like ‘please don’t pet me’ or ‘in training’ etc.”
“Life would also be a lot easier if people like that lady had to wear vests that said ‘interfering busybody’ on them, or other helpful phrases, so other people could know to avoid them, or not engage them in conversation.”
“NTA, and neither is your lovely, friendly dog.”
“Our dogs are very friendly and gentle, and we often take the time to stop and tell young kids with their parents that it’s ok to come over and pet them, and we talk to them about how to approach dogs, and how you should always ask the owner first, let the dog sniff your hand, things like that.”
“We once did an accidental ‘dog awareness’ lesson with a class of infant school children in the park one day!”
“You’re doing great.”
“More dog vests, and well-socialized dogs.”- the_esjay.
“NTA and that woman needs some socializing work herself.”
“It’s really not her business and getting worked up about it is really OTT.”
“FWIW, I used to own a Bichon and no one would pet him on walks either.”
“He was 12 pounds and the sweetest boy ever.”
“He would be so sad, so like you I started asking people if they’d pet him (only people I knew, not strangers).”
“Even one pet would make him sooo happy.”-No-Intention1183.
“I think the vest is a great idea if you’re trying to socialize a puppy.”- SuLiaodai.
“Unless a real service animal owner comes up to you and complains, I think you can disregard this one woman’s opinion.”- SolutionLeading.
“Sounds like you found someone who just likes to complain.”
“Ignore her and keep the sign.”
“99.9% of people would LOVE to see a sign like that or even one that says please don’t approach, dog is skittish.”
“You can never know what type of dog you’re approaching and I think your vest idea is adorable.”-Kristen225t.
“There are all kinds of vests for dogs to wear, to help people know their temperament or how to approach them.”
“Some say ‘stay back, I’m shy’ or similar things, so people know not to approach and try to pet the dog.”
“It’s not disrespectful, you’re not imitating a service dog.”- QuackLikeMe
There were some who felt it might be in the OP’s best interest to ensure their dog’s vest doesn’t resemble one like a service dog’s, and others who cautioned them that they don’t know how their dog will react to all people.
“For context, people with service dogs have the opposite problem.”
“People keep trying to pet them when they’re busy working.”
“And it’s true that usually, people identify service dogs by a vest.”
“I think it was rude of this stranger to ‘educate’ you in the way she did, but I get what she was driving at.”
“If you’d like to avoid any confusion, perhaps make sure that your vest/leash clearly don’t look like a service dog’s.”
“For example, a knit sweater on a dog is typically taken to mean that the dog is snug in chill weather.”
“The sweater could read ‘Pet Me! 💖””.
“That said, I recognize that that’s a lot of effort and don’t blame you if you can’t be bothered.”
“But it would prevent future incidents like this if you find these lectures annoying.”-lasercatte.
“NTA – she has no idea what she’s talking about.”
“You’re not harming any one and you’re de-stigmatizing the breed.”
“Imo, cute sweaters work well too.”
“Be cautious though when introducing to new people.”
“A lot of people don’t know how to properly approach dogs and while your dog is sweet and non aggressive, things happen because of miscommunication.”
It does seem a shame that the OP was scolded, simply because they wanted to share a small portion of the joy their dog brings to them to other people.
Here’s hoping this experience didn’t dampen their excitement to share that joy.