Saturday, May 12, 2012

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Destroyer of Souls

You might wonder by the title of this post whether I am talking about Jam or myself.  Well, rest assured, the sweet little Jam boy is not the destroyer of souls.  No, that designation goes to me.  I alone carry the power to crush joy from the hearts of men, women and small, little blonde girls.

Take last night for instance...

Michele and I were planning on attending the regional finals game of the boys baseball team (we ended up losing 6-1, boo! but it wasn't a shut out!).  We decided to go to dinner together to Seasons 52 before the game started.  I've started the South Beach diet and I'm in that irritating two week beginner phase where you can't have anything that tastes good or has a starch or sugar calorie in it.  I might as well have tasty veggies if veggies are all I can have!  So Seasons 52 it is. 

It was a little bit tense as Jam had his dinner at 4 and still hadn't had a poo and Seasons 52 is a little posh.    I was pretty confident that he wouldn't hunch over in the restaurant as we gave him ample opportunity outside to go.

Inside the hostess said there was a regular customer who has a Southeastern puppy who was much smaller/younger than Jam and they loved the puppies there.  (Yea!) We've taken Jam there several times and they've always been super nice.  

Jam's new thing is to position himself at the very front of the booth so that he can watch the traffic back and forth.  Sort of a watchdog thing.  He's checking everyone out.  So, he was the one to first see the lady approach our table, but he didn't get up.  He did move his head, which alerted me that something was up and I turned to see her making her way gingerly towards us.

Now there are generally two sorts of people who approach you with intent:
  1. Zombie hands: These are the people who are not going to ask, they just have their hands and arms outstretched like lifeless zombies lurching towards you ready to grab your guide dog puppy in training and pat him no matter what the rules are.
  2. Blurters or Oversharers: They are the ones who are approaching you, but not sure, might turn away, don't want to bother you, but are so drawn to the puppy that they ultimately can't help themselves and finally, just come out and share with you things that may or may not relate to the puppy, but occured to them and they had to share it with you.
This nice lady was an oversharer.  She approached as if walking a tightrope with her hands held out for balance and said, "He's working isn't he?  I can't pet him."

Then she looked up at me.  She had been staring at Jam the whole walk over.  Jam was looking back at her calmly.  I smiled, kindly (I hoped), "No.  I'm so sorry, but when the coat is on he is on duty and can't be petted."

"I knew that." She stared at Jam.  Then began to share: "We have a yellow lab.  They are such wonderful dogs."

"Yes, they are.  They are the best dogs."  I think this puppy raiser gig is part counselor to the public sometimes.

She sighed.  "He's beautiful."

We all returned to dinner and about five minutes later, Michele said, "Uh, oh.  Husband approaching."

I turned to find myself staring at a cellphone with the photo of a yellow lab who looked remarkably like Jam sitting by the side of a pool. "Wow.  That dog does look like Jam." I said.  The man beamed at me.

"I know!"  Then, having shared his photo, he went back to his dinner.

Jam sitting on the seatwell of the golfcart with Michele in the driver's seat.
 When we got to school, we decided to take the golf cart to the baseball field.  Jam got to experience Michele's driving. It made him a little nervous, but he got over it and settled down.
 Once we got to the game I put his jacket back on as I didn't want people coming up and petting him all night.  That's when I had to destroy a soul or two.
 For Jam was the only dog at the game.  And he was mighty attractive.  And just like at the Tampa Prep baseball game we went to, there were lots of small children running around.  Only this time, their parents seemed to have run off and left them to fend for themselves.  So when a small, blonde 4-5 year old girl ran up out of the blue and patted Jam on the head both Jam and I were a little taken aback.  Where did this small child come from?  Who did she belong to?  Where were her parents?

I'm thinking: Can I give them the "Look at the coat" look and then I don't have to be the destroyer of souls or am I actually going to have to do it?  Will she come back?  Perhaps it was a one off.
Jam looking at the Bucs standing out on the pitcher's mound getting instructions.

But no.  Here she comes.  She rushes up and she's a zombie hand.  I take her hand and say in my nicest voice, "Sweetie, I'm so sorry, but did you know, that when this puppy is wearing his blue coat, no one can pet him?  He's working?"

And her adorable little face just falls into despair.  I am officially the worst person in the world.  She says nothing but turns and runs away and never comes back.

Is there a counselor out there for me? Destroyer of souls is a heavy burden to bear.


  1. Let me lift you burden...

    We were at a basketball game and I brought my newest, then puppy, Ellie. a couple little kids (including a good friend of ours) came over to pet Ellie who was laying perfectly calm, quiet and content. A blonde-headed 4 year old cheerleader came over and was starting to poke Ellie's eyes with her megaphone. after warning the little girl, our friend looked up and said "Nana (my mom) she not being nice to Ellie". Mom looked at the little cheerleader and said, "you have to be gentle and nice to the puppy if you want to pet her". That little brat looked up and said with 4 year old attitude "Your not MY mommy". and my mom got about 3 deathly inches (I know from experience!) away from her face and said "but this is MY puppy and if your not nice to MY puppy, you will NOT be allowed to touch her".

    the little girl walked away. loosing the "let me gouge out the puppies eyes" battle. sheesh.

  2. The perfect comment for mother's day too! Go momma! 8-) Thanks for that.

  3. As both a guide dog user and puppy raiser, I get some of the strangest people come up to me. Some just want to ask about Cessna or the puppy we have. But, then there are the ones who you mentioned: "We have a black lab" (I just nod & smile), "I'm legally blind without my glasses" (I begrungently smile) or "Where can I get one of those cool leashes your dog is wearing?" (I explain that Cessna is a guide dog and that the "cool leash" she is wearing is a harness and that it was issued along with her). I like educating the public, but really wish the random crazy people would stay away.