Personal Boundaries

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Personal Boundaries

Everyone has their own personal boundaries, which are rules we set for ourselves within other people. However, the thing is, there are quite of few boundaries many people feel the same about, such as not going through personal belongings, not making negative comments about a person's appearance, and always keeping your hands to yourself. Now, the last one is what brings us to our story today.

Our friend, "Ruth" suffers from severe anxiety, so to provide emotional support, she got a service dog, "Buddy." And the one rule that comes hand in hand with a service is not to touch it. At this point of age, we should know by now it's never okay to touch a service dog, especially without permission. However, of course, we have those entitled pricks who think otherwise. And one day, Ruth came across one of them. And let's just say, "keeping your hands to yourself" wasn't a boundary this entitled parent valued.

The Purpose Of A Service Dog

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The Purpose Of A Service Dog

It was finally open house for the college where Ruth attended, which gave her the opportunity to promote her club to prospective students and possibly find new members to join. Since she is a very anxious person, she wasn’t alone at her club table, she had her friend and fellow club member, “Diamond” and of course, Buddy, who was laying down under their table, keeping a close watch on Ruth.

Now Diamond is fully aware of Ruth’s anxiety, and because they would be in tight quarters with not only tons of incoming students, but also their families, she knew the importance of Buddy and the boundary Ruth set for not wanting anyone to touch him while he was working.

The reason why a person shouldn’t pet a service dog or seek their attention is it will distract them from doing their job, which in this case, to keep Ruth calm and to be on alert for any anxiety attacks. When explaining this to other people, Diamond likes to use the analogy of a person in a wheelchair.

She says, “Distracting a service dog is like pulling out someone’s wheelchair from underneath them.”

Basically, Ruth would be losing her support system if Buddy got distracted by someone wanting to pet him. Especially since he was still in training.

Unfortunately, when some people see a dog, they automatically have this urge to pet it, which happened almost immediately when people started arriving in the gym. At first, Ruth allowed it, but then realized it was the sole reason why so many people were approaching their table. After a while, it got pretty overwhelming for her, so she decided to put up a sign, telling people to leave Buddy alone and not pet him. She hoped her sign, as well as Buddy's service dog vest, would do the trick. It did for a while until a little boy and his mother approached them. And that's when things got even more overwhelming.

Entitled Mother

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Entitled Mother

Since putting up the sign, fewer people were stopping by the girls’ table. It sucked no one was interested in their table but at least no one was touching Buddy, but then all of a sudden, they heard a squeaky voice yell out, “Puppy!”

They turned their attention towards the direction of the voice when they saw a young boy running towards them or more specifically towards Buddy. Diamond took a quick glance at Ruth to get a sign of what she was going to do, but instead, she saw Ruth completely frozen. You see the thing with Ruth, she has difficulty standing her ground and confronting others, which might be due to her anxiety even when it comes to a three or possibly four-year-old. I mean how could she say no to the kid?

So Diamond quickly went in front of Buddy, blocking the young kid from petting him. Seeing no adults nearby, she then bent down and kindly told the kid that Buddy was a service dog and he was busy working, so no one could pet him or touch him. Being as young as he was, the little guy somewhat got the gist of what Diamond was telling him. That was a good sign, however, she then heard a not-so-pleasant voice behind her.

“What are you saying to my son?” the mother said.

As she stood up straight and turned her focus on the so-called mother, Diamond said. “Ma'am, I was just explaining to your son the dog here is a service dog, and why he can’t pet her."

“Well, why can’t he pet her?” She said, raising her voice.

Diamond hesitated at first, but then she went over her spiel again about Buddy being a service dog and why not to touch him. Since she was speaking with an adult versus a toddler, she knew her message would get across to her, but oh boy was she wrong.

In the most classic Karen tone, she said, “Well that’s a dog, and dogs are meant to be pet.”

Diamond replied, “Ma'am, if you distract the service dog, it's the same thing as asking someone to get out of their wheelchair.”

She thought that would emphasize the importance of not petting the service dog and the mother would understand, but again, she thought wrong. The conversation then led to a full-on argument between Diamond and the entitled mother, and neither ladies were backing down.

"Inappropriate Behavior"

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"Inappropriate Behavior"

Without putting in any thought to what Diamond just said, the mother replied, “But your friend can walk fine.”

Diamond said, “That’s not the point.”

Did she really have to go through her whole spiel on the wheelchair analogy? Why couldn’t the entitled mom just respect the girls’ wishes about not petting the dog? Maybe the further explanation will make it clearer for the mother’s little brain to understand. But before Diamond could say anything else, the mother cut her off.

She said, “It’s just a dog. It’s not like petting it will hurt anyone. Go on son, you can pet the dog.”

Not only was Diamond taken aback by what the mother just said, but also the fact when she turned her head to see what the son was going to do, he just stared at his mom. He didn’t move an inch towards Buddy. It seemed like Diamond’s lecture was more effective towards him than his mother.

Seeing her son had no interest in petting the dog anymore, she then proceeded to push him towards the dog which instead, made him run away from her. He went straight into the crowd of prospective students and their families in search of possibly other family members. You would think the mother would immediately run after her son, but no, she of course had to say something else.

She said, "Now look, you ruined this fair for my son. I hope you're happy you, low life. I bet you just love to ruin children’s fun, Don’t you?”

At this point, Diamond was beyond ticked off, and she was done being nice. This was not a fair for children to pet random pets. This was an institution's open house to educate students about club activities. But it seemed like she was doing more educating to this middle-aged, entitled woman on why her kid wasn't allowed to pet a service dog and ultimately, putting her in her place and her entitlement behavior wasn't going to work on her.

She responded, “Well at least it’s not my job to suck the life out of everyone. You must be really good at that.”

Not the best response, but that was the first thing that popped in her head. But it seemed it did the job because the entitled mother’s face turned cherry red and stomped away.

That encounter left the girls absolutely appalled but thought it was the last they would hear from the lady. It wasn’t until a couple of days after the open house was over Diamond found out she was reported for inappropriate behavior to the student government. They were the ones who were in charge of all clubs on campus, but since it was college, there wasn’t anything they really could do. Diamond and the student government club just laughed about how ironic it was how Diamond was reported for inappropriate behavior when in reality it was the entitled mother who was.

How did the mother think she was in the right in that situation? Diamond disagrees, but I'm curious about what online readers think.

Online Viewers

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Online Viewers

There were a few online readers who thought Ruth was in the wrong in the beginning.

One commented, "While I understand Karen was in no way in the right at all, but she [Ruth] really shouldn't have allowed anyone at all to pet the service dog - especially if it's still in training."

Another commenter went on to say, "I don't think letting people pet the dog at all sends a good message. You can't really tell people it's wrong to pet a service animal after having been "OK" with it before. I got the impression from the story she [Ruth] allowed the dog to be pet until they became annoyed at people only coming for the dog."

Even though there were some readers who thought Ruth was in the wrong, they were plenty who thought the entitled mother was in the wrong to think her kid could pet Buddy, ignoring Ruth's wishes.

An online reader commented, "'Dogs are meant to be pet?' I love dogs and even if one runs up to me, I'll ask the owner if it's ok to pet. I'm baffled someone would allow their child to run up to a dog without checking with the owner first. There are so many factors that come into play even if it wasn't a service dog, (though I'll admit that's probably the worst.) What if the owner simply doesn't want to be held liable if anything were to happen? It's no one but the owner's decision."

Another one commented, "I don't understand why people can't follow simple rules anymore. [Entitled] mothers always have to question rules and think they don't apply to them. What are you teaching your kids?"

Overall, no one thought the entitled mother was right in this encounter.

Thoughts From The Author

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Thoughts From The Author

After reading the story, I disagree with the mother's behavior and she was definitely in the wrong. I’m just shocked how there are people out there, who are grown but still can’t comprehend simple rules or respect other people's boundaries. It’s not hard to keep your hands to yourself and not pet a dog.

Unforunately, but for the entitled mother, she saw it more as a challenge. It's not her dog, so why did she think she had the right to argue on why her kid could pet it? And it wasn't even a regular dog, it was an anxiety-related service dog. Buddy was there to focus on his job, but the entitled mother only elevated the situation. I think she usually got away with not obeying rules/ boundaries by arguing or making a fuss, and she thought she could do the same in this situation, but Diamond wasn't going to allow it. Her entitlement didn't win this argument.

I’m glad Diamond stood up for her friend and the little boy didn’t listen to his mom. Maybe this wasn't the first time he saw his mother act up in public or maybe he felt the tension in the air and just wanted to get away from it? Either way, he behaved better than his middle-aged mother that day.

The highlight moment was when she thought she was in the right and reported her to the student government like she was going to get justice. But in the end, she didn't and everyone saw her as a joke.

Overall, I think this story shows the importance to respect other’s boundaries, even though you might not fully understand it. Everyone has a reason for it.