Chase Grossman has loved dogs his whole life, but asking permission to pet a stranger’s furry friend has always given him anxiety.
That’s why Grossman, 22, recently decided to get a tattoo that simply reads: “Can I pet your dog?”
“I had joked around with some friends when I was in college and was like ‘Wouldn’t it be easier just to have people see that I want to pet their dog instead of having to interact with them?” Grossman told Insider.
At first glance, it might seem like just a lighthearted tattoo. But it means so much more to the Ohio native than just belly rubs and head pats.
“I deal with general anxiety, especially in social situations because I’m trans,” Grossman said. “Not everybody is comfortable with it, but dogs tend to bring people together in some cases.”
Grossman recently took a trip to Portland, which he described as a “dog-lover city.” It was there that he decided to finally turn his tattoo idea into something permanent.
“We were just walking down the street and there would be 20 dogs you’d see down the road — it was heaven,” Grossman said. “There were so many dogs that I was able to pet, and everyone I spoke to loved the idea of the tattoo when I told them about it. So finally I said, ‘You know what? I’m doing it.'”
Still, since he got the unique tattoo last week, Grossman said he has definitely pet more dogs and, incidentally, met more people as well.
“It’s helped me a lot with just approaching people,” he added.
Some people are so impressed by Grossman’s ink that they’ve expressed interest in getting their own version of the tattoo.
“I’m just surprised that it’s gotten so much attention, people even want the tattoo now,” Grossman said. “People who never wanted tattoos have said ‘If I get a tattoo, this is it.’ People have asked me if it’s okay to copy me and, yeah, absolutely.”
“It really brings people smiles,” Grossman added. “If it makes somebody’s day, it makes my day.”