A dog wandering alone with a collar and tag usually means that dog has got separated from its owner.
Our reaction to that dog would depend on so many different factors but most of us wouldn’t think to follow the dog.
But what if you spot a service dog wandering alone? One woman issued a warning to never ignore a dog alone that they believe to be a service dog, as it could save someone’s life.
Tessa Connaughton got her service dog to help with her autism and seizures.
When the 20-year-old is struggling her dog Raider lays on top of her to calm her down.
“Layman’s terms: He lays on me if I get antsy,” Tessa told Liftable.
Tessa was later diagnosed with epilepsy and so her English mastiff and bull mastiff mix had to get extra training.
Raider nudged people to get their attention
But when Tessa fell face-first in a grocery store over three years ago, Raider ran for help.
Service dogs are trained from puppies to remain by the side of their owners at all times. They need to be there to help them.
Raider did what he was trained to do, find help with the use of his nose, nudging people’s legs or arms.
Do you know what to do if a service dog approaches you without a person?
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 19, 2018
He’s also trained to seek out help without making a noise as this will distress his owner even more, so he doesn’t bark.
“Loud noises are painful for me,” Tessa wrote on Tumblr. “Especially when I’m already in distress.”
The first person Raider found didn’t understand what the dog needed and told the dog to leave her alone while she was shopping, according to Tessa.
‘Don’t get annoyed, follow the dog!’
After the incident Tessa wrote a Service Dog Public Service Announcement on Tumblr, to educate others on encountering a service dog without its owner.
“It stood out to me that if she didn’t realize what he was trying to get at, there were probably a lot more people who didn’t know,” Tessa said.
Her story was shared on Twitter and received over 187,000 likes and 159,000 retweets.
“If a service dog without a person approaches you, it means the person is down and in need of help,” the announcement said. “Don’t get scared, don’t get annoyed, follow the dog!”
It’s important that we all remember to never ignore a service dog alone, it could save a person’s life.
Please share this important reminder with all your family and friends.