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Service Dog Shows Up Alone, Woman Asks 'Where's Your Mommy?' Dog Rushes to Owner Having Seizure

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When dogs are separated from their owners, it usually means they simply lost them and need to be relocated to their home.

But service dogs are trained to stay by the sides of those they are meant to help.

Service dogs, from the time they are puppies, are trained to help others in need. Their instincts are instilled for detecting danger and helping their owners.

When 20-year-old Tessa Connaughton from California fell face-first in a grocery store, her service dog knew exactly what to do.

Connaughton got her service dog named Raider, an English mastiff and bull mastiff mix, almost three years ago to help with her autism and seizures. When she needs pressure, he lays on top of her to calm her down.

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“Layman’s terms: He lays on me if I get antsy,” Connaughton said.

Since being diagnosed with epilepsy just a few months ago, Connaughton has added an extra level of training to her service dog.

Raider is trained to actively go seek out help from others with the use of his nose — nudging people’s legs or arms.

Because Connaughton is not accustomed to loud noises, her dog instead silently seeks help from outsiders so they can seek emergency personnel.

“Loud noises are painful for me,” Connaughton wrote. “Especially when I’m already in distress.”

So when Connaughton actually fell in the grocery store when she was trying to pick up coffee creamer and sweetener, Raider believed it to be a seizure and sought out a woman. When Connaughton got up and looked for Raider, she saw that the woman he sought out simply nudged the dog away and didn’t understand what the dog needed.

“She was swatting at his nose and telling him to leave her alone while she was shopping,” Connaughton said.

That’s when Connaughton wrote a Service Dog Public Service Announcement on Tumblr, sharing her story and what people should do if they encounter a service dog without its owner.

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“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,” Connaughton said.

On Saturday, June 16, her Tumblr 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!”

While there were critics of her PSA, many people are sharing their enlightenment on the subject and posting their positive outlook on the subject.

But Connaughton has responded to this criticism in the most practical way:

“There’s a thousand ways to train a service dog,” she said. “I live in a small town with a lot of people, so my method works for me.”

Next time you see a service dog traveling to you without its owner, take a second and follow the dog. It may save someone’s life.

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Erin Shortall is an editorial intern for The Western Journal. She is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree at Grove City College. She has a passion for homeless ministry in her home city of Philadelphia, PA.
Erin Shortall is an editorial intern for The Western Journal. She is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree at Grove City College. She has a major in English, minors in both Writing and Communication Studies, and a Technical Writing concentration. She is currently working on designing and writing a book of poetry to financially support a new homeless ministry of Grove City, PA called Beloved Mercy Ministry. In her spare time, she loves to sing, play piano, exercise, traverse cities, and find the cutest coffee shops. She also has a passion for homeless ministry in her home city of Philadelphia, PA.
Birthplace
Philadelphia, PA
Honors/Awards
Scholarship of Academic Achievement and Moral Character
Education
Grove City College
Location
Grove City, PA
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
Visual Design, Document Design, Technical Communication, Literature, Computer Ethics




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