What To Do If A Service Dog Approaches You Without An Owner

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Western pop culture is often littered with heroic household pets, particularly dogs. We have characters such as Lassie, Beethoven and Shadow from the Homeward Bound movies. Dogs who will do anything to serve and protect their human masters, even risking their lives to save the day. And although these dogs exist without our media, we often forget that there are real dogs in our world trained and ready to do the same thing. In fact, it was recently revealed that many people did not understand the purpose of a service dog, as was the case when this story came to light.


Recently a service dog owner experienced people’s ignorance to the purpose of a service dog.

The owner was just walking down the road when he accidentally tripped and fell to the floor.

But don’t worry they were not harmed or injured in anyway.

The owner wrote that they ‘Fell flat on my face, it was awful but ultimately harmless.’

But of course, the service dog did not know this.

However, the owner’s service dog did not realise the harmlessness of the situation.

He thought it was much worse.

The owner wrote that not long after receiving their service dog, they discovered that they were epileptic and therefore prone to seizures.

He had been trained for moments like this.

The service dog had been trained to assume that his owner stumbling, could be seizure related and therefore he went off in search of someone to help.

So he did what he did what he was meant to do.

The dog managed to find a passing woman.

But he wasn’t treated kindly.

However, the woman he found was not alarmed by the service dog’s presence.

Apparently many people don’t understand what a service dog does

Instead, she was annoyed at the dog’s presence and was not alarmed that someone could be in danger.

Luckily it wasn’t as bad as the dog thought

Of course the owner was ultimately okay, but they were shocked at the response that the dog had gotten from simply doing its job.

As the owner wrote:

‘If a service dog without a person approaches you, it means the person is down and in need of help.’

The owner also explained the importance of following this rule

‘Don’t get scared, don’t get annoyed, follow the dog!.’

Because it could have been so much worse for the owner

‘If it bad been an emergency situation, I could have vomited and choked….I could have had so many things happen to me.’

Let’s face it, you would follow Lassie

‘If what’s-his-face could understand that Lassie wanted him to go to the well, you can figure out that a dog in a vest proclaiming it’s a service dog wants you to follow him.’

The owner wanted to help make this information known

To make sure more people knew about this, the owner took to social media to voice the importance of the issue.

And was rewarded for doing so

The post immediately became popular, with many voicing their opinion on the need and significance of service dogs.

Some even shared their own stories.

One response was from a person who spoke about their own experience with a service dog.

This is what they said:

‘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 protect her.’

Showing just how important this heroic dogs are

‘I had no idea that I was supposed to follow a service dog if it approaches me by itself. I am happy I know this now.’

The importance of service dogs was also brought up on TODAY

TODAY even ran a story about the significance of service dogs and they even spoke to a service dog trainer.

She told them how important it is to identify a service dog looking for help

‘What they’re going to do is take their nose and nudge your leg. If you see a dog in a vest without a person – follow it.’

The trainer (Olivia) also told the reporter what to do in the situation vocally

‘The verbal clue is not going to be a secret password.’

Just do what the dog wants you to do.

‘You can say “what?” or “where?” or just start walking wherever the dog leads.’

Recently service dogs have been a divisive topic on social media

Service dogs have also been in the public eye recently with the death of former president George H. W. Bush, who died on November 30th2018.

The former president also had a service dog

The former politician and president also had the company of a service dog named Sully.

Some people admired the dog for his dedication

Sully has been the subject of much positive feedback since his owner’s death, as he remained by Bush’s side until the very end.

But some people still didn’t understand.

However, some people took to social media to voice their confusion over the need of service dogs.

Because they haven’t been given the correct information

Some believed that Sully’s short time with the ex-president did not warrant the admiration. Not knowing that service dogs can do so much for their owner’s well-being in such a small amount of time.

Showing how important this caring canines are

Service dogs can help those suffering from mental disabilities, but they can also help people going through serious trauma. Those suffering from PTSD have spoken about how much having a service dog helped their mental health.

And they really are important

So if you see a dog in a vest without an owner, you now know what to do.  

Follow the dog!

Make sure you follow the dog and support service dogs in any way you can. Because they are important carers to a lot of good and kind people.