Your Daily PSA: What Do You Do When a Service Dog Approaches You?
Proper practices in general when it comes to a service dog are sometimes hard to remember. Why are they allowed in a grocery store but my pup isn't? Why can't I pet his sweet ears? You can't, of course, and service dogs are there to do a job...but still, it can be hard to remember what is right and what isn't.
It's easy enough to be respectful to the owner when they're with their dog and telling you what's okay and what's not. How about the flip side, though— the situation where they aren't with their service dog? What do you do then?
Today I came across an article that opened my eyes to what actually might be a very scary situation. The blog Scary Mommy describes a now-viral Twitter post that explains this scenario, and what you should do. Here's an excerpt from the original post, shared on Tumblr:
"So today I tripped. Fell flat on my face, it was awful but ultimately harmless. My service dog, however, is trained to go get an adult if I have a seizure, and he assumed this was a seizure (were training him to do more to care for me, but we didn’t learn I had epilepsy until a year after we got him)
I went after him after I had dusten off my jeans and my ego, and I found him trying to get the attention of a very annoyed woman. She was swatting him away and telling him to go away. So I feel like I need to make this heads up: If a service dog without a person approaches you, it means the person is down and in need of help
Don’t get scared, don’t get annoyed, follow the dog! " (Source)
You could save someone's life by following a service dog to its owner, so be alert and attentive...and follow that good boy.
The Today Show, in response to the viral post, interviewed a service dog trainer:
It's awesome that this information is going viral, since it could end up saving someone's life in the future.
Now you know: don't pet, don't whine...just follow the dog.