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Darky is Male
02-02-2009, 12:41 PM   #1

Service Dogs For Anxiety / Depression / Agoraphobia?


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02-02-2009, 12:46 PM   #2

Re: Service Dogs For Anxiety / Depression / Agoraphobia?


I have a pal with 2 weims who used to be severely agoraphobic, she still is without the dogs but is a lot better with the dogs and they have really helped as being typical weims if they don't get out she KNOWS about it, so she HAS to take them out and it's done he so much good.

However because they are 'just pets' (albeit a LOT more to her but she bought them off her own accord) they are not allowed in shops and places a guide dog could go for e.g. So she still has trouble going shopping and such. I'm unaware of anyone who could help her to get her own dogs recognised as assistance dogs that she could take one into Tesco and get her own shopping? I have no idea. I read about dogs being used to help children with Autism but not sure what all the rules were or who ran the scheme?



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02-02-2009, 01:02 PM   #3

Re: Service Dogs For Anxiety / Depression / Agoraphobia?


Hi Darky,

I wentthrough a really rough period and looked into this I know 2 people who have trianed (to differing degrees) their dogs to assist them in this manner.

Another good site is

http://www.psychdog.org/index.html.

In the states a peron does not have to prove their disability as such but there are far more readily available training schemes for such assitance dogs. One of my friends who has trained her dog to a fairly high degree in this country ie her dog can recognise the onset of a panic attack before she does and can then stay with her and offer reassurance etc until the attack subsides, has been met with ignorance in a lot of places.

HOWEVER

She contacted a disability rights organisation, who have provided her with a letter stating that it is illegal to discriminate against her and her needs as a disbled person, she NEEDS her dog to function normally in the same way that a blind person NEEDS a guide dog etc etc. She has subsequently been allowed in a lot of places which had previously not permitted her. It is not even permissable to say to someone, say for example in a restaurant there is only a table left near a door, that the "disabled" person can't have the table as the dog may be a trip hazard, the owner should ensure the dog sits quietly under the table therefore it not being a trip hazard.

I do however state her dog is trained to a very high degree and thereforew does not cause a disturbance or danger. It is an area I am VERY interested in and I really think its an area that deserves funding and research in this country. There is also a great deal of research going into assistance dogs for people with severe autism and aspergers. It's fascinating

A good book to read is A doog thats always welcome by Lorie Long ( it is American but is an interesting and informative read about the training and qualities etc required by such dogs)

Great thread - thanks for posting it



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02-02-2009, 01:12 PM   #4

Re: Service Dogs For Anxiety / Depression / Agoraphobia?


my mum suffers from anxiety/agrophobia and her dog is currently being assessed to be a disability dog for her. but the organisation stated that she must be registered disabled to qualify-which she is as she is almost blind(she cant geta guide do as they do not train own dogs) she can do most things but lacks confidence when walking on her own as she cant see to well. the dog will hopefully jsut be trained to behave in public places and do the basics if she gets through the assessment. but to my knowledge no organisation in the uk will help with 'mental' illness



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02-02-2009, 01:30 PM   #5

Re: Service Dogs For Anxiety / Depression / Agoraphobia?


Unfortunately the Mental Health Services in the UK are seriously under-funded and under-resourced, and `Care in the Community` is a lip service option where the service user may rarely see any health professional.
However, if the person with a (mental) health assistance dog could be supported by a dedicated organisation that would be brilliant - and of course the dog will be of immense benefit in most cases.



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02-02-2009, 02:13 PM   #6

Re: Service Dogs For Anxiety / Depression / Agoraphobia?


I periodically have very dark times and have been signed of work on a couple of occasions for severe depression... Selkie is always very much my assistance dog, I am training Kismet to take over and she is actually so far proving to be better than Selkie at many of the things I need her to do. But I have been unable to be registered as having a mental illness because I am self managing and rarely have to resort to medical or chemical assistance. Usually I can get through an attack in just a couple of days these days with the help and support of my other half and the dogs.

I wish there was anything I could do to get one of them a jacket to allow me to take them shopping. I could shop if I could take them with me, I know I could. If I feel a 'bout' coming on, I have to send my other half out to shop and stock up on essentials, because when it hits I can't face leaving the dogs to go to the shops or face someone coming to my house to deliver. Once I am in the darkness, I think my OH is talking about me to the shop assistants and wont let him shop... I know... weird... But if it was normal it wouldn't be a 'problem' would it ... When I'm in my good times like now. It just seems so strange the things I think and do...



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02-02-2009, 02:29 PM   #7

Re: Service Dogs For Anxiety / Depression / Agoraphobia?


I did hear something going on a while ago in regards to mental health assistance dogs... i think it was called the wilby campaign? I knew some US people on another forum who had service dogs for their anxiety problems and they were like a lifeline. but of course if you cant see it then its not a real illness over here
magpye, you can buy service & support dog jackets online http://www.lonewolfdogwear.com/#servicedogvests It would probably still fall down to the individual shop as to whether they'd let them in with you though...



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03-02-2009, 12:09 PM   #8

Re: Service Dogs For Anxiety / Depression / Agoraphobia?


I think it is a good idea, but for it to work there would HAVE to be some kind of training establishment (like Guide Dogs for the Blind, Dogs for the Disabled, etc.) and certification system. Without those, it would be far too complicated -- in the eyes of the law a 'self trained' service dog probably wouldn't go down too well. Also, if it was unregulated, any Average Joe could potentially abuse the system and pass off their pet dog as a service dog.



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03-02-2009, 12:43 PM   #9

Re: Service Dogs For Anxiety / Depression / Agoraphobia?


I'm hoping to address this when we get some public attention through Friends For Life.

Takara is one of these service dogs for me (okay, not fully socialised yet so I wouldn't be taking her into some of those situations but I've looked into it and she is the reason I get out of the house and actually have any friends) and I hope that by making the public aware of what Takara's done for me, I can approach people like Dogs for the Disabled etc. and hopefully get something sorted.

Takara helps me physically and emotionally and she goes to everywhere that people will allow her but she's not been trained by an organisation so she can't be recognised as a service dog. I had the opportunity to enroll her with DFTD and get her qualified, but as she's also such an emotional support for me I didn't feel I could manage without her for the time it took to do it.

And so, we never got there. It needs to be done very carefully, but it needs to be done. Dogs aren't just a help for physical problems.



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03-02-2009, 12:50 PM   #10

Re: Service Dogs For Anxiety / Depression / Agoraphobia?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lottie
I'm hoping to address this when we get some public attention through Friends For Life.

Takara is one of these service dogs for me (okay, not fully socialised yet so I wouldn't be taking her into some of those situations but I've looked into it and she is the reason I get out of the house and actually have any friends) and I hope that by making the public aware of what Takara's done for me, I can approach people like Dogs for the Disabled etc. and hopefully get something sorted.

Takara helps me physically and emotionally and she goes to everywhere that people will allow her but she's not been trained by an organisation so she can't be recognised as a service dog. I had the opportunity to enroll her with DFTD and get her qualified, but as she's also such an emotional support for me I didn't feel I could manage without her for the time it took to do it.

And so, we never got there. It needs to be done very carefully, but it needs to be done. Dogs aren't just a help for physical problems.
I know exactly what you mean Lottie.

I think a way to go with this may be a criteria that people who feel they can can train their own dogs (this is done succesfully in the states) and then have the dogs and handlers pass certyain exams to obtain service dog status.

This could be at regional centres, maybeeven existing Guide dog centres or Seizure alert dog centres, or even a charity like the dogs trust. Butalso have examiners who can attend the homes of the handlers who at that point are unable to get out due to their disability.

It is a long way away yet but is BADLY needed and if you can get any publicity for the cause it would be fantastic. If you think back to even when Guide dogs started I bet they didn't see a time that dogs would be hearing or seizure alert dogs. So this is just the next step as I see it. I agree it does have to be regulated to stop unscrupulous people claiming a disability ( it could also possibly be done by showing a DLA award letter or similar to prove the disability - I am against HAVING to prove an unseen disability, however if it is a wat forward then so be it).



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