Sunday, June 24, 2018

Raider is our June 24, 2018 Pup of the Week

We dogs always have something important to say.  Often it is because we thought we heard something outside or thought we saw something outside, or we are outside, and our parents tell us to be quiet, which goes against our motto “Freedom to Bark.”

A dog named Raider has turned the world upside down.   Thanks to him not only do our parents have to listen to us, but they are required to do so or be publicly shamed.  Hah! Sweet victory.
Here is how Raider started the movement that is turning “quiet down” to “how can I be of assistance?”

Raider is an English/Bull Mastiff who was taken from a shelter and trained as a service dog to help people with anxiety.  He was paired with the woman who would become his partner and best friend, Tessa Connaughton, an autistic adult who suffers from anxiety.  Raider recognizes when Tessa is getting overwhelmed and provides deep pressure therapy by laying on top of her.

After Raider became established as Tessa’s anxiety partner, Tessa began to suffer seizures.  Raider learned how to recognize the signs of a seizure and was being trained to perform the proper procedures.

Ironically, the situation that caused Raider to prove to humans why dogs should always be listened to was because of a mistake.

Connaughton was in a store when she lost her balance and fell to the floor.  Raider mistook the stumble for a seizure. He was supposed to roll his partner on her side, press an alert button Connaughton was wearing, and then protect her head.  Because Raider was not fully trained in seizure response he fell back on his second command: Get help.

Raider ran down the aisles looking for someone to help Tessa.  He found a woman who was shopping. Raider was wearing her service dog attire when she nosed the shopper. The woman, apparently believing Raider was trying to sell her perfume, kept telling the loyal dog to go away and leave her to her shopping.  

Connaughton was uninjured. She stood and saw Raider gently nudging the disinterested person’s knee.  She called to Raider who gleefully returned to her. When Connaughton got home, she was bothered by the woman’s unenthusiastic response to a trained and properly dressed service dog and shared her experience on Tumblr: “If a service dog without a person approaches you, it means the person is down and in need of help. Don’t get scared, don’t get annoyed, follow the dog! If it had been an emergency situation, I could have vomited and choked, I could have hit my head, I could have had so many things happen to me.” She also suggested if someone saw a service dog along to follow it.

Little did she know what she posted would be read, noted, and shared until it went viral.  Her readers had not considered what they should do if they encountered an unaccompanied service dog.  Now they know to do what we dogs have said for years. Listen to the dog! Follow the dog! The dog shall lead you!

Remember we will be watching to see if you follow the dog.  We have our own version of “What Would You Do?” called “Where Would You Bark?” so listen to the important information your dog is shouting at you dozens of times a day or face the wrath of cuddly angels.

And thank you to Raider for spreading the concept of a dog’s Freedom to Bark to the masses.


  1. That is very impawtent information to know! We will remember to pay attention when we see a service dog asking for help
    Hazel & Mabel

  2. We can't imagine anyone ignoring a dog trying to get their attention but we hope everone gets the message.

  3. Such a great message Raider, our peeps would never ever ignore a request from a service critter.