Henry has always been very gentle with kids when they pet him. One time a young girl was gently petting his head and telling me a story. As she got excited her hand stopped petting and started patting. As she got even more excited she stopped patting and started hitting Henry on the head. Henry simply looked at me as if to say, "Do you see this? Do you see what I am putting up with? Are you going to do anything to stop this?"
A couple of days ago, Henry was especially popular on our walk. A gentleman asked to pet Henry and he kept saying, "Oh, you are a good boy. I can tell you are such a good boy." We received several more smiles, comments and waves. But don't think that this walk was just heavenly, we did have a small obstacle course of horse poop, barking dogs, and one leash-less, human-less chihuahua that did not like Henry. I did not want to see how Henry felt about this chihuahua so we swung wide and quickly escaped the situation--despite the chihuahua chasing us. But the obstacle course was quickly forgotten.
Two very darling children asked to pet Henry. I had Henry sit and the pet fest commenced. I noticed the children doing some no-nos: pulling on his tail and ears, putting their arms around Henry's neck, teasing him with treats. Henry is pretty tolerant of all of these things but I know that with another dog this could cause a bite. So, I turn into "annoying adult" and give them a little lesson on when it is ok to pet a dog (only with owners permission, no petting stray dogs) and what not to do with a dog (tail pulling, ear tugging, etc). They listen very well and repeat everything back to me after I am done.
It's not all 'Boring Lecture by Christina.' I show them Henry's bag of tricks (sit, down, bang, up, say hi, speak, ask nice, shake, spin, and twirl). The kids get very excited and start giving the commands and treats. We all end up sitting on the sidewalk. After a couple of minutes sitting, Henry lays down and rests his head on the boy's lap. All three (Henry, the boy and the girl) are very fond of "kisses," which I am trying to discourage because of the run in with the horse poop earlier. After 15 or 20 minutes, I say goodbye. The kids tell me that they love Henry and that they are going to miss him. Henry pulls at the leash, he would rather stay with the kids then continue the walk home, but I insist we go. As we walk away, I hear the little boy say the sweetest thing to his sister:
"I'll never forget Henry!"