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Random Lady Approaches Woman To Ask If Her Service Dog Is 'Clean' Enough To Be In A Grocery Store

Photo: Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock
service dog with vest on city street

Countless people go grocery shopping every day. Most of them are able to do so without being bothered by random strangers.

However, one woman had to experience a hurtful encounter that had her health and service dog questioned while already struggling to buy groceries due to her chronic illness.

A woman was asked if it was appropriate for her service dog to be in a grocery store.

Katie, who runs the TikTok account @serviceaussiebailey, shared a recent experience she had while shopping for groceries at Target.

The video, which has garnered over 5 million views, featured a confrontation between Katie and a random stranger who questioned the appropriateness of having a dog in the grocery section, even though it was a service dog. 

   

   

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“Are you worried about, like, his hair and things getting into the food?” the woman asked. “Like, you know, are you allowed to bring him into places that sell food like that?”

“Yes, he’s a service dog,” Katie replied, sounding perplexed as to why someone would ask such a thing.

Still, the woman persisted, and asked Katie, “Does he get bathed every day? Like, how am I supposed to know that he’s clean?”

The situation was becoming very uncomfortable for Katie. Meanwhile, her service dog Bailey, the subject of the conversation, sat right beside her on the store’s floor, bothering no one.

Despite Katie’s insistence that Bailey was permitted in the store, the woman took things even further.

“Does he have registration you can show, or like papers or anything?” the woman asked.

   

   

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Although Katie remained remarkably calm, it was clear that she was getting very frustrated at this point. She responded, “One, there is no such thing as registration for service dogs in the United States, and two, I don’t have to show you anything.”

Katie was not backing down, but neither was the woman. She questioned Katie regarding her disability, said she did not believe her and insisted on finding a manager. According to the caption of the video, Katie said, “After this, she literally followed me through the store until an apparent ‘manager’ could help her.”

Other TikTok users applauded Katie for her composure and kindness. “You were far too nice. I’d have absolutely lost it,” said one person. “You don’t need to explain anything to her,” said another.

One person pointed out how well-behaved Bailey was during the encounter, despite the woman’s complaints. “And then there he is, being quite literally the goodest boy,” they said.

   

   

Some people thought the stranger's questioning was justified.

Not everyone was so complimentary, though. Katie made a follow-up video to respond to one of these comments, which stated, “You can get food curbside or delivered. You don’t need to bring a dog into a store. I’m just saying.”

“You’re also what’s wrong with people nowadays,” Katie said. “I shouldn’t have to order my groceries curbside or deliver, which typically also costs extra money, because I suffer through chronic illness

Katie also took the opportunity to remind people of just how important a service dog is. “Regardless of if people like it or not, he is just as useful as a wheelchair or oxygen tank,” she said. “Would you expect people to go without their wheelchairs?”

Service dogs can be life-altering companions for some disabled people.

According to Katie’s TikTok bio, she has a chronic illness called POTS, or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. The Cleveland Clinic says this “is a condition that causes a number of symptoms when you transition from lying down to standing up, such as a fast heart rate, dizziness, and fatigue.” 

According to U.S. Service Animals, many POTS patients can benefit from service dogs: “POTS can be a challenging condition to manage on your own, which is why service dogs are a great treatment method.” Service animals can help POTS patients with fainting, a common symptom of the illness, as well as other things, like grabbing certain items when it is too difficult for a patient to do so themselves.

Katie is disabled and needs the help that a service dog provides. However, even if that disability is not obvious to someone else, they have no right to question someone’s health or need for a service animal. Furthermore, questioning anyone’s access to a service animal is simply not right.

They are, as Katie pointed out, just as important as a wheelchair.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news, and human interest topics.