Training a service dog takes lots of hard work! Hailey Ashmore relies on her service dog Flynn everyday to help alert her to oncoming seizures.
When he was just 7-months-old, he was distracted by a person who stopped to pet Flynn but accidentally caused harm to Hailey as a result. Her experience is a reminder that service dogs should not be petted or played with while they work, unless their human gives permission.
“We are a team. Where I go, he goes,” she says. That’s because Hailey depends on Flynn to alert her and others if she’s in trouble.
Hailey, who is 16, has several conditions that can endanger her life including: epilepsy, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, reactive hypoglycemia, severe allergies, gastroparesis, and asthma.
According to Fetching Apparel, Hailey once was active dancing on the varsity drill team, on student council and a violinist in the orchestra. But because of her health conditions, she now takes classes online and is dependent on caregivers. That’s where Flynn comes in.
He is being trained to sense when Hailey is going to have a seizure before it happens. This gives Hailey time to react and get help and find a safe place where she won’t hurt herself.
But that didn’t happen on one particular day, because someone stopped to pet Flynn. Hailey was visiting her father at work, and a well-meaning person stopped to say “hi” to Flynn.
They began to pet him, ignoring the vest he wears that has a giant “STOP” patch.
“I immediately told him to stop,” Hailey told the Dodo. “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.”
Hailey passed out and she woke up to find her face covered in scrapes from where she fell…
Flynn was still too young at the time and still learning to ignore people petting him.
“My service dog is my lifeline. I don’t say that to be cute. He helps keep me alive just like life support. If he gets distracted this happens. If he gets distracted I can die. Do not pet service dogs. Do not call to service dogs. Do not taunt service dogs. Do not talk to service dogs. Do not do anything to service dogs. Thank you,” Hailey writes on 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,” explains Hailey.
“I wish people could understand that’s what the giant stop sign patch means,” she says. “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.”
“This dog is my hero. Need a pillow? He’s there. Need something to protect your head during a seizure? He’s there. Need a friend? He’s there.”
Image Sources: Instagram