Hailey Ashmore is 16-years-old and from Dallas. She always had service dog Flynn at her side, and the pup is imperative for her to get through the day.
That’s because, unfortunately, Hailey suffers from a long list of diseases, including epilepsy, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, reactive hypoglycemia, severe allergies, and asthma.
And sometimes having a service dog like Flynn can literally be the difference between life and death.
Image SourceThey’ve known each other since Flynn was a puppy. Hailey has trained him for countless hours on his journey to becoming a service dog.
Image SourceNowadays, Hailey and Flynn socialize around the clock and have formed a great love for each other.
Image SourceBecause Hailey struggles with so many severe diseases, Flynn’s presence can actually be the difference between life and death.
Image SourceFlynn can sense when Hailey is about to have an epileptic fit, and this lets Hailey call for help and get into a safe position.
Image SourceBut one day while Hailey was visiting her father at work, one of his colleagues couldn’t resist Flynn’s charm and began to pet him despite the large “STOP” sign that adorns his back.
Image SourceHailey 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. 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.“
Image SourceWhile Flynn was distracted Hailey was struck with an epilepsy attack. “I am used to him giving me 10 minute warnings, so when he alerted that’s what I thought I had,” explained Hailey. “Out of nowhere I remember the world going black. I woke up with Flynn on top of my legs and my father cradling my head. On the whole left side of my face there was a terrible sting that made me tear up.”
Image SourceThe sores on her forehead came from burns from the carpet.
Image Source“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,” she wrote on Instagram.
Image SourceThe most important thing is that we learn something from the man’s mistake.Never disturb a service dog at work. It can mean the difference of life and death.
Image SourcePlease share to spread awareness about the important work that service dogs do – and that one should refrain from distracting them!