It’s hard to resist going up to a stranger’s cute dog on the street to give it a pet. It’s something we’ve all been guilty of at some point, however, one teenager is warning others about how dangerous that can be if that dog is a service dog.
17-year-old Hailey Ashmore’s dog Flynn isn’t just a pet, he’s a trained medical alert dog who has been trained to warn Hailey about seizures before they hit, and can even go get her parents if something goes wrong. Normally, when the Australian Shepherd senses an oncoming seizure, Hailey has just enough time to get to a safe place, take her medicine, and call someone for help.
However, when Flynn was just 7 months old, a stranger started playing with him while they were out and distracted him from his job. “I immediately told him to stop,” Hailey explained, but it was already too late. While Flynn was distracted, he didn’t notice Hailey was about to have a seizure, and when he did alert her, there wasn’t enough time to get to safety.
“I thought I had 10 minutes to get safe, take medication and call somebody for help,” Hailey said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t and ended up getting a nasty rug burn.”
“Since Flynn was only about 7 months at the time of the accident, he was, and still is, learning to ignore people petting him,” Hailey said. “We understand our dogs are super cute, but they are really important for our safety and health.”
Service dogs aren’t robots. They can get distracted from their life-saving jobs, which is why people need to be more careful around service dogs and let them focus while wearing their vests. “If you wouldn’t do it to a wheelchair, please don’t do it to our dogs,” Hailey said.
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[Featured image: Hailey Ashmore]