A Woman’s Scary Experience Teaches Us How To Respond To Service Dogs

People can learn a thing or two from this woman with epilepsy after she tripped and fell, but her service dog thought she was having a seizure and sprang into his training: to find another human to assist her during epilepsy attacks.

“After I had dusted off my jeans and my ego, I found him trying to get the attention of a very annoyed woman. She was swatting him and telling him to go away,” wrote 20-year old Tessa Connaughton, a 20-year-old from California, referring to her English mastiff –bull mastiff mix Raider.

Through the experience, Connaughton realized that a lot of people probably don’t know how to respond to a service dog’s training to get peoples’ attention.

“If a service dog without a person approaches you, it means the person is down and in need of help,” reads her message, which she labeled as a public service announcement on Tumblr, then it soon found its way to Twitter, where it’s already been retweeted thousands of times.
“Don’t get scared, don’t get annoyed, follow the dog!”

According to HuffPost, who spoke with Connaughton about the incident, Raider was originally trained to help with her autism, applying deep pressure therapy whenever she got ‘antsy.’
But when she was experiencing epilepsy, Raider began training in how to assist her during an emergency.

“We want him to roll me onto my side, press an alert button that I’m going to keep with me, and protect my head,” Connaughton said.

But since the seizure training response is new to Raider, Connaughton opted for a temporary measure during seizures: he’s been taught to leave his human and find an adult if she has a seizure, rather than stand beside her barking for help.

“Loud noises are painful for me,” Connaughton wrote on Tumblr. “Especially when I’m already in distress.”

Her PSA has so far gotten plenty of positive reviews, but as it is the Internet, some people had something to say too about the dog’s training.
“There’s a thousand ways to train a service dog,” Connaughton told HuffPost. “I live in a small town with a lot of people, so my method works for me.”

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