An recent incident shows why you should never pet a service dog.
Knowing about the amazing things service dogs do for their humans, strangers can’t help but give them a loving pats on the head for the amazing jobs they do. It may be tempting to stroke a calm and obedient dog at work, but this doesn’t mean you should do it.
Flynn, an Australian Shepherd,does his best to help his human, Hailey Ashmore. The awesome service dog helps Hailey in her everyday life -he can open and close doors,fetch her parents and, most importantly, alert her to oncoming seizures.
Hailey has had Flynn since November 2014 –when the Australian Shepherd puppy started his training with her as a medical alert dog.
But when Flynn was only 7 months old, a stranger unknowingly put Hailey’s life at risk by stopping to pet Flynn. That specific incidentshows exactly why working dogs should never be distracted while they’re at work.
During a visit to her dad, a stranger began petting Flynn.
“I immediately told him to stop,” Hailey said.
But in just thatvery short moment of distraction, the Australian Shepherd service dogfailed to warn Hailey about an oncoming seizure. When he did warn her, it was too late.
“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.”
“The dog is part of a team,” Jessica Reiss, of Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) says. “It becomes almost an extension of that person, just like someone’s wheelchair … besides the fact that the dog is part of who you are, that touching can distract the dog from what they need to do.”
Source: The Dodo