Dogs are amazing there is no doubt about it, but a lot more than that, they can learn to do things that are just so much more than incredible too. Some dogs are able to tell when type 1 diabetics have low blood sugar and support us through many difficult illnesses.
Service dogs like the one in this story can also help us do many things, like get help when there is no one else there to get help.
Hailey Ashmore is 16-years-old and has a service dog because she suffers from epilepsy, among other many other conditions she has, just to complicate life even more for the poor girl.
She suffers from severe allergies, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, reactive hypoglycemia, gastroparesis, and asthma.
Her service dog is called Flynn and he has an important job to do, a job he has been very carefully trained to do, and he is a very special companion!
Flynn has been trained to recognize when she is about to have a seizure and to warn her, she usually gets about 10 mins warning, she then takes her medication and gets to a safe place, and calls for help!
Flynn is a lovely and very cute dog, so we can see why people want to pet him, but this is not a good thing for Flynn, as his job is not to get distracted so he can watch Hailey and give her the warning she needs before a seizure.
To help stop this bad situation though Flynn wears a bright blue harness with “STOP” boldly written on his back, and though most people take notice of the warning, there are some that just don’t!
When Hailey visited her dad at work something happened, one of her dad’s co-workers didn’t respect the warning and petted Flynn, even though Hailey asked him not to do it…
It just took a moment of distraction for Flynn to miss one of the signs for Hailey’s seizures and Flynn realized too late about what was going to happen…
“I thought I had 10 minutes to get safe, take medication and call somebody for help …Unfortunately, I didn’t and ended up getting a nasty rug burn.”
Flynn was a trainee so even though had had a lot of rigorous training, he still struggled a little with ignoring affections from other people, it would be something that got better with age, he was only 7 months old after all and still having training…
Hailey was quite understanding she started to explain:
“We understand our dogs are super cute, but they are really important for our safety and health”
Jessica Reiss, of Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) said:
“The dog is part of a team …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.”
“They’re not a piece of equipment …They can be distracted.” And this distraction can have devastating consequences!”
Hailey hopes her story will raise awareness to everyone about the importance of a service dog and how incredibly important it is to not distract them at all, ever, for any reason at all!
Service dogs are not a pet for fun, they are a very important companion with a crucial and super important job to do, a job they are very happy to do, but we must respect them and let them do their job without any distractions at all!
Hailey’s message is extremely clear:
“If you wouldn’t do it to a wheelchair, please don’t do it to our dogs.”
Please ‘SHARE’ this story with all your friends and family and help Hailey spread the message far and wide!