Or worse, accept treats from someone you don’t know.
This was instilled into me as a kid, and something I passed on to any child in my care.
As an adult, I tend to greet strangers with a smile, seeing some as potential friends, others just people passing by.
However, have you ever thought how it affects our pets?
I had to go to the bank today, and as Hubby had a little job to do, I walked up into town with the dog.
I met up with several people I knew and stopped to chat, Maggie content to sit or lie at my feet waiting patiently for me to move on.
Although you’re not supposed to take dogs (unless assistant dogs) into the bank, I am lucky in that the staff know me and realise that Maggie is an old dog, so don’t mind as long as she’s quiet and tucks herself out of the way of any customers. It’s not that often as usually Hubby and I are together or in the car so she can stay outside.
Walking back, I decided to go into the T word (a supermarket that we do not frequent all that often for a variety of reasons) to get some fruit which was on special offer at 49p a punnet. Naturally, she could not come in with me this time, so I secured her to a bench, patted her on the head and told her to wait.
I bought apricots (3 of the seven were badly bruised which I hadn’t noticed) and some nectarines, but it took me over five minutes to pay due to the queues at the auto tills and only one cashier on the manned ones.
By the time I came out, Maggie was lying on the ground and a guy was bending over close to her.
There was an elderly man in a mobility scooter watching them both, and when Maggie started to wag her tail when she saw me, he grinned at me.
‘She wouldn’t take it, you know,’ he said.
I greeted the man tying his shoe by name, and Maggie wagged her tail even harder.
I asked him if she’d had her biscuit, and he said he’d offered it to her, but she wouldn’t take it.
As if on cue, she was on her feet, nose nudging the biscuit pocket.
Laughing, he dug his hand in and she got her reward.
We struck up a conversation with this particular man shortly after we arrived here and he had recently lost his border collie. Since then, we always stop to chat should we see each other, and Maggie always makes a fuss of him, as he does her. He is one of the few people she will accept treats from, but obviously only when we are present!