Most people are furmiliar with service dogs. Those are good dogs that assist people who live with disabilities, such as visual impairments, seizure disorders, diabetes, etc. & therapy dogs who provide comfort & affection to people in hospice, disaster areas, retirement homes, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, but did you nose that dogs also assist humans who live with mental health issues such as Phobias, PTSD, Anxiety, & Depression? Hi, CEO Olivia here to yap about this impawtant subject.
So many of our humans live with emotional, or psychological health issues. Nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness (52.9 million in 2020). In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental illness. By the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, 1 in 2 have or have had a mental illness. Thank dog we dogs are there to help.
Firstly, I should clarify the difference between an ESD (Emotional Support Dog) & PSD (Psychiatric Support Dog). ESDs pawvide their humans with therapeutic benefits through companionship. They do not require training, but their human may be screened by a mental health professional to see if they qualify for an ESD especially if a letter in required for travelling or housing. While PSDs receive vigorous training dogpending on the type of support they will pawvide. PSDs can pawrform several tasks such as respond to severe health issues by dogtecting changes in breathing patterns or behavior. Then they take action to stop the problem from pawrgressing or by bringing it to someone else’s attention. PSDs can pawrvide calming relief through the reassurance of touch & physical contact. They can help someone who is experiencing a panic attack or a dissociative disorder regain self composure. Many humans diagnosed with a mental health disorders can struggle to maintain a regular & healthy routine. PSDs can help humans by reminding them when it is time to eat, take medication, or when it’s time to go to bed. The simple act of taking care of a dog can help a human to maintain a healthy routine. When humans show love & compassion to another it can often help in dogveloping a sense of self, self care & self compassion.
As I yipped above, Emotional Support Animals are not trained but are expected to have basic training & behave well in public. ESAs are technically not legally allowed to venture everywhere in public with their humans (only service animals have that right). However with a therapist’s letter, your human may move into an animal-free apartment or dormitory, & fly with their ESD in a plane’s cabin for free.
When it comes to PSDs federal law offers some pawtections. However, many individual establishments may have their own rules regarding service animal access. Business’ must allow PSDs access, & it is illegal for someone to ask about your disability. However, this does not stop them from asking if the dog is required due to a disability or what tasks the service dog is able to perform.
Both Emotional Support Dogs & Psychiatric Support Dogs pawvide humans with life changing support. It’s impawtant that your human research the laws & requirements as well as support networks (financial or otherwise) in their locality as they may change from state to state or province to province.
Coincidently, we planned to write about this subject when we were contacted by a human named Marisa Probst, ZocDoc Outreach Coordinator with a complete guide to psychiatric support dogs which we have added to our Resource page. ZocDoc is a New York City-based company pawffering an online service that allows people to find & book in-person or telemedicine appointments for medical or dental care. The platform also functions as a physician & dentist rating & comparison database.
For more information on ESDs or PSDs in Canada paw Badge of Life or The Service Dogs. You can also strut over to CertaPet Canada or if in the States paw CertaPet . For more information in USA paw ZocDoc’s Complete guide to Psychiatric Support Dogs, National Network’s Service Animal Resource Hub or Medical Mutts.
As pawfect companions for our huMom Dot, Jerry Underfoot & I wanted to remind all fur leggers, the winged, the scaly skinned or the finned, that you are pawsitively impawtant in your human’s well being & we want to thank you for the service, love, companionship & support you give them.
Remember, if you have a question we love to pawvide you with answers. Reach out to us here, through Instagram, Facebook, email or call us. If you don’t have long distance calling contact us online & let us call you.
Have a pawsome week, CEO Olivia, Dot & Jerry Underfoot 💜
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