A holidaymaker claims that a fellow plane passenger directed "snide comments" at him and accused him of having "ruined" her dog’s flight., all because he refused to pet the furry flyer.
While some people may love the idea of finding a dog as their seat neighbour, for others it's just an uncomfortable experience. This was the case for the unfortunate bloke who said he simply "didn’t like dogs" and certainly didn’t want to stroke one while relaxing on his flight.
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He posted on Reddit to complain about the nightmare flight to ask whether he was an "a**hole" for refusing to pet the pooch. The 35-year-old man explained that the journey was only two hours long, but he "hated" the "trend" of people flying with their dogs and disliked being subjecting to it. The dog was around 20lbs– which makes it fairly small but not a toy dog – and its owner claimed it was a service dog.
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The man said: "Flight was only supposed to be about two hours. I’ll put this out there, I do not like dogs. I hate this trend of flying with your dog. I don’t understand why you can’t just leave it at home. We take off, as soon as we get to altitude, a dog, say 20 pounds, comes walking down the aisle by itself. It's just walking around on its own and people up and down the aisle are petting it.
"It is going up to people and from what I can tell positively interacting with it. I get up, find a flight attendant, ask about the dog. She tells me they were told it’s a service dog, nothing we can do and also nothing they want to do this early into the flight. Frustrated, I take a seat. It’s been walking around for a decent amount of time and I have no idea who’s dog this is and there was nothing on it indicating it was a service dog."
Feeling nervous at the approaching dog the man described his discomfort. He noted: "It comes up to me. I move my legs away and it comes closer. It put its legs on me and looks up at me like its waiting for me to pet it. I lift my legs up onto my seat." However, the pooch was persistent in wanting a pet leading the man to call out for help.
He said: "I yell out, 'Can someone please come get their dog?'. I yell this twice. A lady in her 20’s comes over to take it away form about five rows up. I tell her to control her dog and keep her pet in its carrier. She essentially tells me to F off and that I ruined her dog's good time and that I’m the only one that had an issue. Throughout the flight a few people went up to her to tell her they enjoyed the dog. Each time she made snide comments about me."
The post quickly went viral as people offered various opinions on the situation at hand. Many agreed that it wasn’t fair on the man that he was subjected to the animal and others pointed out that it was not following service dog protocol. One person said: "Service animals are trained to perform tasks for disabled handlers. Service animals have to be under control at all times of the handler. I agree it is unlikely to be a service animal due to the lack of control and the failure of the handler to control their dog."
Others said they would be fine with a dog on board, but that it shouldn’t be allowed to wander around. One such commenter noted: "I love dogs, but letting them roam freely during a flight seems irresponsible. Also it seems weird that a service dogs does this. Those dogs are trained a lot."
Another person agreed that even if it was a service dog it wasn’t OK for him to have to pet it. They wrote: "Just because some people like dogs doesn't mean everyone has to. Not liking dogs, phobia of dogs, allergy to dogs, or just not wanting an unsupervised dog all up in your space are all valid reasons for your response."
However, some did think his reaction was unreasonable. One woman said: "I love dogs, and most people I know who don't are a bit of a jerk. Even feeling that way, I don't think you were out of line here. I would have asked the attendants to ask the dog's handler to keep it under control myself. Though I probably wouldn't have lifted my legs up and screamed. It's not a good way to behave around animals. You can provoke fear or aggression in a strange animal by not keeping calm."
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Another poster, who said their own mother would have panicked due to a dog phobia, said: "Those kind of pet owners are incredibly selfish and exploiting people's fondness for pets. If it had been a young child demanding hugs, I don't think the reception would've been as positive."
A flight attendant also added that even service animals, or emotional support animals, were "never permitted to roam the plane". They added: "It’s absolutely a safety issue".
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