The video, which was posted by Haylee (@jakethes.d), a TikToker and proud dog mom to a service dog named Jake, went viral with over 38 million views. The clip, which features actual footage that Haylee captured in a grocery store, starts with an example of how not to approach a service dog, followed by an example that shows the proper way to approach a service dog.
The clip begins with the caption “How not to let your kids act around service dogs.” Haylee is standing with Jake, who is wearing his black service dog vest, in a grocery store aisle, when a little girl runs up and starts to pet Jake without asking. As soon as the girl pets Jake, Haylee pulls Jake away, and kindly asks the little girl to please not pet Jake. Meanwhile, Haylee notes that the girl’s dad is just standing there, not doing anything.
Next, Haylee shows an example of “the correct way to teach your kids about service dogs.” Still in the grocery store, Haylee records a conversation she had with a parent. “Can she pet your dog? I know it’s a service dog,” asks the parent. Haylee explains that Jake is working right now, so the girl can’t pet him. Hearing this, the parent clearly explains to her child, “He’s working right now so you can’t pet him, ok?”
While the girl wasn’t able to pet Jake, Haylee tells her that she’s more than welcome to look at him. Next, the understanding parent helps to explain the situation to the child. “See, he’s busy working, he’s taking care of her. So just in case something happens, he knows how to protect her.”
Viewers jumped into the comments to show appreciation for the important tips, and many felt that these guidelines should apply to all dogs, not just service dogs.
“My parents taught me to always ask—no matter if it’s a service dog or not,” wrote one viewer.
“I told my niece about service dogs. She was worried that the dog didn’t get any pets at all. I told her I’m sure they get lots when they’re finished working,” mentioned another TikToker.
“My dog isn’t a service dog but he has bad anxiety and HATES when other people touch him. I wish more people would just ask,” wrote a frustrated pet owner.
Based on the response to the viral clip, whether or not a dog is a service dog, it’s always smart to ask the owner for permission before you or your kids pet it.
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