Service dog Sally is the nickname given to a woman who recently went viral for shouting at a service dog’s handler after she was told her daughter couldn’t pet the dog, who was being trained as as service animal at the time.
The woman who recorded the incident, Megan Stoff, was with a group of people training the service dogs at a busy Pittsburgh shopping mall on December 19, when ‘Service Dog Sally’ approached Stoff and her golden retriever, Nala. The woman asked Stoff if her daughter could pet Nala, to which Stoff replied a short, simple “no.”
According to Stoff, the woman was angry and accused Stoff of being rude. She started berating Stoff and her co-workers, so Stoff decided to start filming the encounter. The video has been viewed over 5 million times since Stoff uploaded it to her Facebook page.
The Mother Accused Stoff of Being Unnecessarily Rude After Asking Stoff if Her Daughter Could Pet Her Service Dog
In the video that can be viewed above, the angry mother demands to speak to somebody “higher up,” after Stoff informs her that she is the owner of the service dog business.
“That was definitely very rude how she talked to me,” the mother says to another handler. “Firstly you should have a sign [saying not to touch the dog], and secondly she should not have said ‘no,’ she could’ve said ‘sorry the dog is in training,’ that would’ve been nicer.”
Stoff tells the woman to walk away, and points out that Nala’s vest has the words ‘please do not pet me I’m working’ written on both sides of it, along with ‘do not touch’ and ‘do not pet’ patches. She also adds that it’s illegal to “harass a service dog.”
Once the woman realizes she is being recorded, she tells Stoff that she was illegally filming her and walks away to “call [her] lawyer.”
Stoff Called The Woman “Entitled” & Wants People to Know How Dangerous it is to Distract a Service Dog
Stoff posted the video on her Facebook page, writing: “Had this crazy experience yesterday at the mall where some lady asked if she could pet the dogs. People ask us all the time so I just said, ‘no.’ All the dogs are working so it’s my go to answer. And they walked away. No big deal right? This lady went out of her way to come back with her child and yell at us for saying ‘no’ and for not saying, ‘nO iM sOrRy ThEy’Re TrAiNiNg.’ And we should ‘have a sign or something.’ You mean the 20 patches on my dog that say don’t pet? Entitlement these days is real. They even got mall security because we said they couldn’t pet the working dogs. Security said that the lady was crying. So much harassment for just saying no. This video is public and is shareable. There was no common sense here.”
Stoff told Pittsburgh Action News 4 that she deals with people trying to pet her service dogs almost daily, and that she wants to educate the public on why it’s dangerous to distract service dogs.
“They don’t know they’re not supposed to talk to them and distract them,” she told Pittsburgh News 4. “They think they can go, hi puppy, hi doggy, and get in their face, and that can also distract them even though we’ve trained them to hopefully ignore that.”
In an interview with Bored Panda, Stoff said that told the woman “no” because she doesn’t always “have the energy to explain what [Nala] is doing or why she can’t be petted.” She also mentioned that she is autistic, so she sometimes struggles to communicate, especially with strangers.
“I’m autistic and sometimes just can’t speak very efficiently at all so I can’t explain even if I wanted to. I might shake my head no, or indicate in some other short way not to pet her or talk to her, and I just want to have that respected. People also often take pictures of us without asking and that makes me really super uncomfortable, I don’t want people to do that at all.”
The Woman Says She Wasn’t Angry That Stoff Told Her ‘No,’ She Claims That One of the Handlers Told Her to “F–k Off”
The woman in the video told News 4 that she wasn’t angry that Stoff wouldn’t let her daughter pet the dog, but that one of the handlers said “f–k off” in front of her child.
“We accepted the answer of NO and was proceeding to Starbucks line for coffee when my friend and I heard a woman from the group tell us to f–k off,” she told Pittsburgh News 4 in a written statement. “My daughter was being held by me when she used profanity. I left the Starbucks line to discuss my concerns of her profanity and clarification. After that the woman started recording me as shown.”
The mother has said that since the video went viral, she’s received several hate messages on Facebook.