A Stranger Decided To Pet Her Service Dog Without Permission. And Then Something Terrible Happened.
Hailey and Flynn go everywhere together. He is her literal life-saver.
Hayley Ashmore has struggled with several conditions throughout her life, including epilepsy, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, and reactive hypoglycemia. The 16-year-old often has seizures that can be extremely dangerous.
That’s where her service dog, Flynn, comes into the picture. He is essential to her well-being, and is very good at his job. Except there is one thing that happened recently that absolutely everyone should know.
She and Flynn were brought together when he was just a little puppy.
One look and you can tell, it was love at first sight.
Due to her many health conditions, Hailey needs Flynn. He has been trained to detect when one of her seizures is about to happen.
This incredible skill gives them time to find a safe place for her to be, in order to avoid hurting herself.
Unfortunately, he’s so adorable that it can often be hard to keep people away from him. Recently, while visiting her father at his office, an employee was unable to resist – and Flynn became distracted at the worst possible time.
The employee ignored the red “STOP” sign that Flynn wears and it nearly cost Hailey her life. Normally Flynn gives her a 10 minute warning, but since he had been distracted, he hadn’t given her as much time to prepare.
She fell hard to the floor and hit her head. It could have been much worse, but it also could have been avoided entirely.
Flynn is Hailey’s lifeline and without his full attention, she could be seriously injured – or worse.
Hailey was lucky this time. Now, she wants everyone to know: “Do not pet service dogs.”
Hailey also had this to say on her Instagram:
“The only time somebody should ever approach Flynn and I is if I am unconscious and/or having a seizure. Besides that, nobody should try to pet or get near him. I wish people could understand that’s what the giant stop sign patch means. If somebody distracts him I can get seriously hurt. If you see a service dog in public please educate your children, your friends, your family, anybody else that they are doing a really important job. Thank you.”
This was a close one, but people need to be more educated and know to never distract a service animal. Please share Hailey and Flynn’s story and help spread the word.
To all of my readers, please keep the above experience of Hailey in mind if you are ever tempted to pet a service animal. Disabled people have these animals because they are medically necessary to aid the person in their daily lives, and to help to keep them alive. Hailey was very lucky that she only received minor abrasions to her face and forehead. This situation could have ended up in her death, if when she hit her head she had hit it in just the right spot.
I know that some people, when asked if their animal may be petted, do allow the animal to be petted with a very gentle and fast pat on the head. When the person is asked before the animal is petted, at least the person knows that the animal is going to be distracted. This allows the person to be a little more alert to their body for just a few seconds.
The problem arises if the individual is not aware of the fact that someone is being rude and petting their animal without permission. The individual has no idea that the animal is being distracted in any way, so they are confident in the fact that the animal will alert, if there is a problem, like they have been trained. But if they are being petted, there is no way that the animal is able to alert. They are not paying attention to the individual. They are paying attention to the person that is petting them.
So, please refrain from petting any service animals. If you have to do anything to let the individual know that you like their animal, simple tell them that their animal is a pretty animal, a beautiful animal, well behaved, or whatever the case may be. It could mean the individual’s life if you distract the animal in any way.