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If looks could kill, I think my maid may have been a new arrival in the morgue in this sterile smelling building. I may be the only dog in this waiting room, but all menacing eyes are all on her as she sits there without a mask on. It seems rather pointless though as she cannot even see them looking at her and if it were not for the friend that we brought with us telling her that she is under surveillance, she would not have known. Being exempt from wearing a mask on medical and disability grounds obviously means only one thing to these not so friendly bunch. Unapologetic judgment has clearly replaced the kindness movement from only a few months ago. Humans eh? Go figure.

My rather fragrant anal exhale which only seems to rile them up even more in hindsight may not have helped matters. The puffing out of their masked mouths alerts me that I have now entered their bad books too. I am not sure if this hospital visit can get any worse. Sitting in the corner away from everyone, I think the plan of the maid and our masked friend we had with us was that we would not be in anyone’s way. I think however that this Feng Shui faux pas meant that we were in the direct line of sighted people’s vision. From the tutting sounds around, this may not have been the Feng Shui love corner. The maskless maid however was totally oblivious of this as she chatted away to me and our third Musketeer.

As I sashayed my curvaceous body towards the nurses’ room with the maid in tow, I crossed my padded paws that things would get a little friendlier in there. Escorting the maid to her chair, we sat together and waited for the nurse to begin the consultation. She was far less frosty and even complemented me on my good looks and melting puppy dog eyes. One of the perks of being a guide dog is that you never really go long without someone falling in love with you at the most random of places. All was going well until a face shield wearing, masked plastic covered less hairy two-legged race (a.k.a human) came in. That is where I lost my bottle and went to cower behind the maid’s battered chair.

You see, I have not mentioned up until now that masks really scare me. Not just me but many of my canine colleagues. We know you all must wear them due to Government guidelines but that does not make it any less scary. We are getting used to it slowly but please be patient with us. The thing is, we love looking at your fascinating faces. We learn to read your cues and emotions as much as you learn to read ours. Eye to eye contact alone can be scary for us. Most dogs may only see their owners or people on their walks in masks but us working dogs go into ever imaginable public place and it is taking us a little time to adjust.

I wish I could have communicated this to the slightly stroppy newly arrived nurse in the room who barked at me that “I will have to get used to the look” when she queried why I had gone to cower behind my maid. I was surprised that the maid only rolled her eyes and managed to bite her tongue and not reply to her. We need voices to speak on our behalf, but I trust the maid to fight the battles that need to be fought and leave others go unchallenged. The slammng of the door behind her was a welcomed sound as we carried on the consultation with the nice one.

It is not just us dogs that are having a hard time with this new mask wearing community that we find ourselves in. We have a family friend with an Autistic child who is petrified of going out at present due to fearing all these new changes they are encountering. I think I may currently be this child’s safety blanket as I am still the same maskless dog as I have always been which is helping the transition process of helping the child get used to the new normal. A deaf friend of my maid’s is also having a hard time of things as lip reading others is impossible now due to being in a world that she can no longer communicate in. Not all people not wearing masks are doing it to cause conflict.

If I could give you less hairy two-legged race humans some advice at this moment in time it would be…

Be kind.

The person you see Infront of you without a mask is still a person with feelings. Barking out insults to them says far more about you than it does about them.

Be sociable.

 I know social distancing rules don’t at the moment allow you all to go and sniff each other’s body parts to find out where you have been (you really don’t know what you are missing), but you can still talk to one another and communicate safely.

Be compassionate.

You only know your own life story, do not let your ego trick you into thinking that you know theirs. Meet each new person with a waggy tail regardless of if they have a face covering or not.

Be thankful.

Give gratitude that despite not wanting to really wear a mask, that you can. Not everyone is blessed with the level of health and physical ability that you have. We as dogs see you all as equal so try and do the same to each other.

Be Autonomous.

You do you and let others do themselves. What Missy the Labrador or Eric the Terrier does is their business, what I do as the best Labradoodle I can be is my own business. We can still be friends and respect each other even if we act differently.

Just a quick heads up, if I see you with a mask or face shield on and cower away from you, I am not doing it to offend you, I am just adjusting to all the changes that we are all going through  at this tough time. We are all the same people that we were before the pandemic and after all of this is over we will fall out less, love more and have more compassionate get togethers to pick up where we left off and pee on lamp posts in unity. Okay maybe you less hairy two-legged race want to skip the last part, but we are all in this together.

I cannot wait to see the whole of those beautiful faces again soon to cover with my doggy kisses.