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Psychiatric service animals - September 22nd 2017, 03:31 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of self harm, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread might therefore not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

There is going to be two parts to this...one part is going to be a vent and the other part is going to be a question.

First, the vent:

I was replying to this thread on facebook about someone who got a letter from their doctor about an ESA. I was trying to inform people that 1) you don't need a certificate and 2) even with the letter/documentation complexes can still give you crap. Anyway, I got to talking to this person that has a child who has a service dog. While, anyway I mentioned that one of the main reasons I have considered a service dog is because of my dissociation. Someone commented back and said that that wasn't a good enough reason for a service dog...which was frustrating especially because...my dissociation is severe...to the point that I have unintentionally harmed myself and 'woke up' with cuts etc....I didn't feel comfortable specifying that my dissociation is that bad because I am not certain if the group is closed and I also don't really feel like going into detail about my dissociation with people who are ignorant. Also, I didn't specify that I had also considered getting a service dog because my therapist/psychiatrist suggested it....and that a big reason for it would be due to my PTSD ...Which is one of the biggest reasons people end up getting service dogs.

That being said, this just kind of gave me proof that a service dog is not for me because people would make assumptions based on the fact that my disability is 'invisible' and would assume that I was faking it or didn't have a good enough reason. So, I am irritated but I think my response to the woman was relatively good. I basically told her that since she doesn't know me or the mental health issues I have she doesn't get to tell me what a good enough reason is. Especially since both my mental health practitioners are the ones that suggested it as a way to help me cope.

Anyway, I am also curious if anyone has a legit website where I could look into cost of training for a psychiatric service dog. I am interested in trying to, possibly, pursue that at a later date in time.


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Re: Psychiatric service animals - September 26th 2017, 07:31 PM

Some people really don't understand the meaning of a service dog. A lot seem to think it's for people who are in a wheelchair or otherwise unable to walk or move. On the flip side, some get a "certificate" online claiming their dog is a service dog when it was a complete scam.

Nobody should ask you why you need a service dog and if they do, they should be supportive. I am supportive of those who need them because at one point I wanted a service dog and looked into it, I quickly backed out because of many factors limiting me in pursuing a therapy dog.

When I did research for myself, I read many websites within Canada. The cost was basically the same, $10,000 and it takes, I believe 2-3 years to train a service dog. Then, other factors I found like, I am responsbile for all medical bills of the pet, renting the equipment, etc., so fourth. Those things didn't bother me, what did was the amount of legal documents and medical documents they wanted. They listed a wait time. Most were geared towards first responders and not mental health.

I am not sure if it is the same where you are, I did research in my area and that is what I found. I brought it up with a doctor, but nothing came out of it.

I really think services dogs are meant for the right person including mental health that impacts your daily life. If a dog is able to pull you out of situations like, dissociation, then it is effective and you are able to continue with the aide of a dog. It's all about having people be able to go about their day but having extra support there to help.

I am unsure if this website would be benefical: http://servicedogcenter.org/ it seems to be a non-profit which is really good. This website, https://usaservicedogregistration.com/ also has a bunch of information on therapy dogs and so fourth. I hope this is helpful in some way.


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Re: Psychiatric service animals - September 27th 2017, 12:24 PM

Thank you for the links. I've looked through them and bookmarked them.

One of the reasons I have been hesitant to look into a service dog more is the cost of training. I don't know that it's $10,000 here but I did look into it a bit and it was expensive and would have required traveling. However, I might be able to find a local trainer, I suppose.

Anyway, thank you for taking the time to comment.


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Re: Psychiatric service animals - September 27th 2017, 07:24 PM

As the therapist I didn't like said "Facebook is not real life." Don't feel the need to tell anyone on social media your personal issues or defend yourself against their misinformed opinions. They have no ability to decide anything for you and you don't have to listen to them.

Anyway, having a service dog will draw attention to you, especially for an invisible illness, but it's up to you how to handle that. People are going to be judgmental and ignorant no matter what you do. Don't base your decision on that.


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Re: Psychiatric service animals - September 28th 2017, 04:46 AM

Thank you Kate. I am not currently in a place where I could afford a service dog but it is something I might consider later on down the line.. If I end up determining that it would help me stay safe etc.

I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to get past the fear of judgment though so it might be something I never do. But, I agree, it isnt anyone's business and I don't have to explain myself. That's actually why I ended up disengaging from the conversation. I had no desire to get into too much detail especially not with someone who would not have been understanding.


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