If An Unattended Service Dog Approaches You, This Is What You Must Do


Most people know by now what to do when they see a service dog–leave it be. Service dogs have important jobs to do, and petting, talking, or otherwise trying to get their attention will distract them from whatever service they’re trained to perform. But what happens when a service dog approaches you without their handler? Some people assume the dog is neglecting their duties by wandering away from their handler, and other people that don’t like dogs get annoyed by a service animal’s attention. One woman’s story is setting the record straight about the right way to react.

Over the weekend, a PSA post about service dogs started circulating the internet. Twenty-year-old Tessa Connaughton turned to Tumblr to share an experience she had with her service dog named Raider. It was eventually passed around Twitter where it got even more attention.

Tessa first got Raider two and a half years ago to help with her autism. When she was later diagnosed with epilepsy, she started training him to help during her seizures. One day when out shopping, Tessa tripped and fell down. She was unharmed, but one of the tasks she trained Raider to do is run off and find an adult when she has a seizure. When Raider saw his owner fall to the ground, he assumed she was having a seizure. He ran off to do exactly what he was trained to do.

Raider found a woman nearby and tried to get her attention. Not understanding the dog’s intentions, the woman quickly got annoyed. She tried swatting the dog and telling him to go away. It was at this point that Tessa picked herself up and tracked down her service dog. She assured Raider she was okay, and the pair quickly left the annoyed woman alone. But after the incident was over, Tessa started thinking about what would have happened if she was actually in trouble and needed human help.

She decided to share her experience in hopes of helping other people in real emergency situations. She explained that many service dogs are trained to leave their handlers’ sides to look for emergency help. In many cases, it’s a life or death situation, and how a person responds to the dog is extremely important.

Tessa wrote in her post that instead of ignoring or getting annoyed at the dog, the right thing to do is follow them. She wrote,



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *