Hailey Ashmore has several conditions, including epilepsy, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, reactive hypoglycemia, severe allergies, gastroparesis, and asthma.
The 16-year-old from Dallas, TX relies on the help of her service dog, Flynn.
According to Fetching Apparel, Hailey was once a dancer on the varsity drill team, student council member, violinist and at the top of her class. However, with her conditions progressing, Hailey can only take classes online.
She is dependent on her parents, nurse, medications, and Flynn. The condition she grapples with the most is epilepsy, which causes seizures. Seizures are very serious; in another instance, a mom had a seizure and was unable to tend to her infant at the mall.
“To get a service dog you must be disabled to the point where you can no longer function as a normal quality of life without the assistance of service dogs,” said Hailey.
“It takes around two years of intense training and thousands of dollars (if you owner train) to actually be able to call your dog a service dog. A service dog can go anywhere its handler goes, with the exception of a sterile environment such as an operating room or burn unit, a religious building — such as a church, or some federal buildings,” she said.
The job of a service dog is very important to its human. See why Hailey is pleading with strangers to get them to stop petting her dog without permission.
This is Hailey Ashmore and her service dog, Flynn.
Hailey has had Flynn since he was an itty-bitty puppy.
Needless to say, it was love at first sight.
Hailey also struggles with several conditions. “I have epilepsy, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, reactive hypoglycemia, severe allergies, gastroparesis, asthma, and more,” Hailey told Fetching Apparel.
Flynn isn’t just a friend — he is Hailey’s service dog. Flynn can sense when Hailey is going to have a seizure before it happens. This gives Hailey time to respond, get help, and find a safe place.
One day, Hailey was visiting her dad at work. When she arrived with Flynn, a staff member could not resist how adorable he is. They began to pet him, ignoring the giant “STOP” sign he wears. “I immediately told him to stop [petting Flyyn],” Hailey told the Dodo.
“The only time somebody should ever approach Flynn and I is if I am unconscious and/or having a seizure. Besides that, nobody should try to pet or get near him. I wish people could understand that’s what the giant stop sign patch means. If somebody distracts him I can get seriously hurt. If you see a service dog in public please educate your children, your friends, your family, anybody else that they are doing a really important job. Thank you.”
While Flynn was distracted from the petting, Hailey had a seizure. “I am used to him giving me 10-minute warnings, so when he alerted that’s what I thought I had,” explained Hailey. “Out of nowhere, I remember the world going black. I woke up with Flynn on top of my legs and my father cradling my head. On the whole left side of my face, there was a terrible sting that made me tear up.”
Hailey woke up with rug burns on her head.
“My service dog is my lifeline. I don’t say that to be cute. He helps keep me alive just like life support. If he gets distracted this happens. If he gets distracted I can die. Do not pet service dogs. Do not call to service dogs. Do not taunt service dogs. Do not talk to service dogs. Do not do anything to service dogs. Thank you,” she wrote on Instagram.
Many of us are so eager to connect with animals, we often forget that they are protecting their human. Let’s learn something from another’s mistake and be more mindful of other people’s animals!
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