Woman Asks Lone Service Dog “Where’s Your Mom” Realizing Urgent Problem Moment Dog Takes Off
Kristin Danley 6/29/2018
Tessa Connaughton popped into the grocery store to grab a couple of items. She was accompanied by her best bud and constant companion, her service dog Raider.
Raider is an English mastiff and bull mastiff mix -- not real hard to miss considering his stocky size. Tessa, 20, brought Raider into her life a few years ago to help her when she's having seizures or experiencing troubles relating to her autism.
"Layman's terms: He lays on me if I get antsy."
When Tessa has a seizure, Raider has been trained to leave her side long enough to get help. He has been trained to urgently yet gently nudge people's legs and arms to capture their attention and hopefully lead them back to Tessa.
Sadly, not everyone responds positively to Raider. Some people are pestered by Raider or completely ignore him, which delays Tessa from receiving the medical care she desperately needs.
On this particular outing to the store, Tessa embarrassingly tripped. She fell face-first onto the floor in the grocery store, prompting Raider to believe she was having a seizure so he hustled to find her help.
Because loud noises are actually painful, Connaughton said, especially when she's already in distress, so Raider silently seeks help from strangers. This time he made a beeline straight for a woman, but she brushed him off and wouldn't help.
“She was swatting at his nose and telling him to leave her alone while she was shopping."
Even though this time Tessa hadn't collapsed from a seizure, she felt compelled to pen a PSA for service dogs on Tumblr to inform people what they should do if a service dog approaches them without its owner. The stranger Raider targeted at the store likely had no idea that there was an emergency unfolding, Tessa said.
“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. 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!”
Twitter user Gretchen had a similar experience she shared. But thankfully, Gretchen knew what to do.
"My classmate's service dog came up to me alone outside and I said, 'Where's your mom?' He ran off and I ran with him. His mom was having a seizure on the sidewalk and I was there to put my sweater under her head to protect her."
Tessa and others who rely on service dogs urge people to pay close attention to any service dog running around alone. Your response just might save a person's life.