Do the most counter-intuitive thing for any dog lover on the planet: ignore them.

During the World Wars, dogs were found to be incredibly useful beyond their capacity for companionship and what they were initially bred for. Since then, schools across the U.S. have opened in an effort to provide people with a necessary medical service.  While service dogs are most commonly associated with the blind, they have proven exceedingly useful for veterans across the U.S. for various reasons, epileptics, diabetics and many more.

When a lot of people spot a service animal, be it in a mall or at a park, their first reaction is to smother it with love, like they do with their own dogs every day at home.  They often run up to the dog saying, “I know I’m not supposed to do this, but…” and then they continue to do exactly what they’re not supposed to.  Or they don’t even know to ignore the dog in the first place.  There are a few reasons why this is not acceptable.

First of all, the dog is working, and like anyone who works he or she needs to concentrate.  People generally don’t (or shouldn’t) get service dogs for reasons that aren’t serious, and these dogs are legitimately there for their health.  They’re there to keep a blind person from stepping into traffic, or to alert their owner of low/high blood sugar.  Taking this dog away from these imperative tasks, even if just for a second, can be life threatening.  Sure, there might not be life threatening consequences every time you break these rules, but why risk the handler (person who needs the dog) in such a way?