While attending the job fair held in Williston recently, there was an extremely well mannered dog that was sticking pretty close to his owner, Emily. Anyone who knows me knows that I love animals, especially dogs. I saw this dog and moved in to immediately start petting him, as most people do, but I was not expecting to see what I did next. This dog had a vest on with a patch that read, "Do not pet, service dog." I noticed another patch on this well-dressed K9 that read, "In case of emergency, do not separate from the owner." I knew this guy was a pretty special dog.

Allow me to introduce you to Bentley, the service dog.


Emily is quite pleased with Bentley, a service dog who is six years old and has been with her for a while. Despite the fact that you might believe that this is simply another dog, that is not the case. During the course of several months of extensive training, Bentley was able to perfect his abilities to recognize an impending seizure. In addition to being a handsome pup, he is also a working dog.

Submitted Photo
Submitted Photo
Bentley's Vest & Patches
KEYZ AM 660 logo
Get our free mobile app

Here's where I went wrong when I met Bentley: I didn't understand what his role was for Emily. I didn't take into consideration that he was actually working.

Understanding and Interacting with Seizure Alert Dogs: A Guide to Approaching Bentley

Seizure-alert dogs, like Bentley, play a crucial role in the lives of individuals with epilepsy, offering not only companionship but also life-saving support by detecting seizures before they occur. Interacting with a service dog like Bentley requires sensitivity and understanding to ensure both the dog and their owner feel comfortable and supported. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to approach Bennett and his owner, drawing insights from experts and organizations specializing in service dog training and epilepsy management.

1. Understanding Bentley's Role: Service dogs like Bentley are highly trained to recognize the subtle changes in their owner's behavior or scent that precede a seizure. These dogs undergo rigorous training to develop this unique ability, which can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with epilepsy. It's essential to acknowledge Bennett's role as a medical aid and respect his responsibilities.

2. Respecting Boundaries: When approaching Bentley and his owner, it's crucial to respect their personal space and boundaries. Remember that Bentley is working and should not be distracted unless given permission by his owner. Avoid petting or engaging with Bentley without first seeking approval from his handler. Always approach from the front to ensure Bentley can see you coming, reducing the risk of startling him.

3. Communicating with the Owner: Before interacting with Bentley, engage in a polite conversation with the owner. Inquire about Bentley's role and any specific guidelines for interaction. Some owners may prefer not to have their service dog approached while working, while others may be more open to brief interactions. Respect their preferences and follow any instructions they provide regarding interacting with Bentley.

4. Recognizing Signs of Distress: Despite their extensive training, service dogs like Bentley can experience stress or discomfort in certain situations. Learn to recognize signs of distress in dogs, such as panting, pacing, or avoiding eye contact. If Bentley displays any of these behaviors, it's best to give him and his owner space and avoid further interaction.

5. Supporting Inclusive Environments: Creating an inclusive environment for individuals with service dogs like Bentley is essential for promoting accessibility and understanding. Educate others about the role of service dogs in assisting individuals with disabilities, including their ability to detect seizures. Encourage respectful behavior and discourage any attempts to distract or interfere with Bentley while he's working.

Interacting with a service dog like Bentley requires empathy, respect, and awareness of his role as a medical aid. By understanding Bentley's responsibilities, respecting boundaries, and supporting inclusive environments, we can ensure that both Bentley and his owner feel valued and respected in their community. Through collaboration and education, we can promote greater understanding and acceptance of service dogs and the invaluable support they provide to individuals with epilepsy.

As a result of all this, I have a greater grasp of how to interact with these animals, and I hope that you have gained a similar level of knowledge. In addition to sharing Bentley with us at the job fair, we would like to express our gratitude to Emily, the owner of Bentley, for taking the time to explain her situation and walking us through Bentley's role in helping her.

For further guidance on interacting with service dogs and supporting individuals with epilepsy, consider consulting reputable sources such as:

LOOK: Longest-living dog breeds

To find out the longest-living dog breeds, Stacker examined data from the journal Genetics and American Kennel Club's 2023 breed popularity rankings. 

Gallery Credit: Sophia June

LOOK: The most popular dog names of 2022 in every state

Hey dog lovers, check out this awesome list of the most popular dog names in 2022 for every state, and get ready for some serious cuteness overload.

Gallery Credit: Amber Spencer-Knowles

More From KEYZ AM 660