I have been told that one should not touch or engage with a service dog when they are working because it can be distracting and stressful for the dog, but in situations like this I break all of the rules.
I was in a store with Alex when this very young child spotted Alex, broke away from his parents and ran as fast as he could towards him with an expression of joy on his face. When he reached Alex he immediately wrapped his arms around Alex’s head and buried his face in Alex’s fur.
In that moment, I could feel Alex soften and let the child fall into him. At the same time, his parents began running towards Alex and their son. When they reached us, they took their child’s hand, apologized, and walked away.
Seconds later, the child ran back to Alex and wrapped his arms around him again. This time Alex became amazingly still. The parents once again took their child by the hand, apologized, and walked away again. When the child broke away and ran towards Alex a third time, I squatted down next to Alex and asked him if this was okay with him. He just leaned against me, smiled, and opened his heart wider.
When the child reached out to hug Alex this time, I handed my cell phone to his mom and asked her to take a picture of them together. Then this tiny child leaned in and kissed Alex.
It is moments like this that my faith in the Universe is restored.
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