People love dogs, and meeting a new pooch and sharing a moment of touch can offer great joy. But service dogs are not regular dogs because they often have important jobs to do; if we distract them from their task, it can cause real problems. The story of young Hailey Ashmore and her dog, Flynn, illustrates why even we great dog lovers need to resist the urge to pet:
Hailey was visiting her dad at work when someone began petting Flynn like he was just a regular pup. “I immediately told him to stop,” Hailey told The Dodo. But in just a moment of distraction Flynn had missed a crucial opportunity to warn Hailey about an oncoming seizure. When he did warn her, it was too late.
As Jessica Reiss, of Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) explains, “They’re not a piece of equipment,” Reiss said. “They can be distracted.”