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.
“To get a service dog you must be disabled to the point where you can no longer function at 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.
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A picture of service dog Flynn and his best friend Hailey.
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Flynn was with Hailey since he was a wee tiny puppy.
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Beyond helping Hailey, Flynn provides a lot of love as well. According to Hailey, it was “love at first sight.”
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Hailey’s conditions include, epilepsy, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, reactive hypoglycemia, severe allergies, gastroparesis, and asthma.
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Flynn helps with one of Haileys common problems, which is seizures. The dog can actually detect when she is about to have one and this provides Hailey the chance to find a safe spot and get help.
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While visiting her dad at work, a co-worker found the dog to be very cute and proceeded to pet Flynn, despite the giant “stop” sign that Flynn wears on his vest which warns people to not pet a service dog, as they are working. Hailey herself told the person to stop petting the dog as well.
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Hailey wants to provide the following message to strangers who may not be aware that petting a service dog is a no-no. She says, “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.”
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Flynn indeed became distracted from the petting. He then realized Hailey was going to have a seizure so he warned her. Normally Flynn’s warnings come with a 10 minute window for her to prepare. But this time, because of the petting distraction, the window was greatly diminished and she went into a seizure immediately. She woke up with Flynn at her legs, and her father holding her head.
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Rug burns laced her head from the seizure.
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Hailey wants to stress how her dog is literally her life support system. She wrote on instagram, ““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.”
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I think we all can learn something here. Our impulses with dogs are to pet them. But we have to remember that service dogs are different, and we should treat them as serious support systems that cannot be interrupted as they are always working and need to focus.
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