Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm Sorry, But I Can't Help You

There are some things in life that people take for granted that just don't happen in my house.  One such thing is having a pet.  Many people have pets.  We have none.  It isn't because we don't want them because believe me, I would LOVE to have a dog.  It's because we can't have them.  I have two kids.  One has Autism.  And along with his Autism comes a very real, yet incredibly irrational, yet so intense fear of animals - especially dogs.

We don't have a dog.

We don't go where dogs go.

When we visit family that has dogs they literally send their dogs away for the duration of our stay.

His fear is that serious.

We've made attempts to work past it, but as of now nothing has worked.

These are the kinds of things, even though they seem so small, that many people just don't understand.  And today I ran into a person that just didn't understand - and well, I guess I didn't feel the need to explain it either.

Here's what happened...

It's gorgeous weather outside so I decided that today Bug and I would walk Bean to school.  As we were walking I heard someone yelling behind us.  I turned and looked and a dog (looked like a Border Collie, though very young) darted past and the lady yelled out, "Can you please help me call her?  Her name is Gracie.  She's a puppy."

I looked at my son.  Then I looked at the lady and answered, "I'm sorry, I can't do that."

She, as I suppose is normal, looked very shocked and yelled at me again, "Please help me get her.  She is a puppy.  Just help me call her."

To which I replied, "I'm really sorry, but I can't help you."  And while replying the kids and I kept walking.  I couldn't even see the dog anymore.

She gave me a very nasty look and flipped her hand at me in a way that screamed "screw you" and then she kept going.

I suppose I could have shouted back that I have an Autistic son and I just can't chase animals.  But I didn't.

I hope she caught up to her dog, I really do.  And I think she did because as we walked home she went by me again and she turned down my street so I am certain she lives near me.  Maybe one day we'll meet and I'll explain.  But I'm not going to seek her out.

I think the lesson here is that not all people are just being rude.  There is often a very real reason why people do what they do, and in our case my reason was my son and his comfort.  I'm just not willing to send him into hysterics to help a stranger.

And well, she was a stranger so this also served to teach my dog loving daughter that no matter what a stranger says - puppy, ice cream, candy, whatever - we don't just stop and do what they ask.


  1. Bugs fears aside it was quite rude of her to assume you would stop what you were doing to help her chase down her dog that she didn't keep proper track of.

  2. Just tell them that you have a fear of dogs. My grandmother was extremely afraid of dogs because she was bit by one as a child. I don't know why people have to take their dogs EVERYWHERE now a days. They never take into consideration if others are afraid of dogs.

  3. Ugh. I hate situations like that! I've been thinking about this sort of thing lately that I need to sort of think twice before being annoyed at other people sometimes because just like they don't know our situation (exactly how you described with the lady just expecting you to help and all the reasons why you couldn't) I probably don't know theirs. (I hope this makes sense!!)

    We don't have a fear of dogs over here- Daniel LOVES them and I'm trying to work with him that he can't just approach every dog he sees... but I DO understand the intense fear Bug has...only Daniel's is squirrels. It's awful and you have to be there and experience it to fully understand that it's not something you can tell them to just "get over".


  4. That's such a horrible situation - I mean, forgive me, but I can understand why the woman might have assumed you were being rude if she didn't know - but that's not your fault, it just shows you never know what's going on with people - it's great of your to write this to help make people more aware! xx

  5. Thank you everyone for your comments. Since this happened I have been thinking about it a lot. As a mom I just don't see much I could have done at that moment, but I understand her frustration and why she flipped her hand at me in such a way. It's really made me think about how we don't always know the full story of what's going on with people. I seriously think God often uses my son and situations with him to teach ME. :):)

  6. That lady with the puppy doesn't think. I can't believe she gave you the finger in front of your kids! :0


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