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Author Topic: Service animals  (Read 152 times)

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Offline AudreyNicolle

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Service animals
« on: March 06, 2014, 06:26:38 AM »
Does anyone have a service animal for their anxiety? I am seriously considering getting my dog certified to be a service animal. He is a schnauzer/boston terrier mix and he is my whole world. When I have anxiety or panic attacks and he is near me he helps bring my anxiety down a lot. Usually I take him with me to the drive through or to the local flea market or if Ive just got to run inside for a quick second atthe dollar store or gas station, but I'm also in cosmetology school I think it would help me a lot if I could bring him with me and Tennessee state cosmetology laws state that you can only have an animal in a salon if it's a service animal. Also big grocery stores really give me anxiety and it would be really helpful if I could bring him with me. So I'm just curious if anyone else has looked into this or actually has a service animal for their anxiety.
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:) AudreyNicolle

Offline kconnors

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Re: Service animals
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 07:15:05 AM »
I do not have direct experience with service animals but my friend does have one . . . .

The only issue and if it is a certified service animal then the legislation, if it exists where you live, will protect you is the attitude of some people but there are strategies . . .

For example, on public transportation, folks might have an allergy to dogs (well, any animal) so that you do have to manage your reactions / anxiety if someone makes a comment. The strategy around this is that she has a cloth sign in yellow with big letters that states that this dog is a service dog . . . .so people know that it has a right to be with you . . .this may not stop glances or comments so . . .you need to be able to go past that . . . . if you drive, this may not be a problem but sometimes it translates into other venues.

Some people are afraid of animals . . . so, if your dog reacts with barking in unfamiliar situations, this may be problematic . . . . when an animal is certified here, it has to go through performance testing to ensure that it does not growl or bark or snap at other people or other animals . . . .the strategy here is to ensure that the dog is well trained and responds to your commands . . . .if my friend is taking her service dog with her to events where there will be the potential for an unusual situation, she makes sure the dog is always under control . . . in the beginning this was difficult for the dog to ensure that she did not bark (the dog, not my friend) but she did invest in professional training and the dog was fairly young and responded very well . . . . the strategy around this is to take the dog, once it is certified, into new situations a bit at a time . . . my friend actually rewarded the dog with mini treats to re-enforce good behaviour rather than to reprimand it when it was doing bad behaviour . . . she was concerned about the number of treats but at that time the vet suggested some type of treat with extremely low calories . . . .I only wish they made them for me because they did smell fantastic . . .

The other issue is doggie hygiene and ensuring that the dog does not leave calling cards . . . and that, if in a convenience store where there is low hanging temptations that it does not nuzzle or take a bite out of candy bars, etc.

All in all, the experience of my friend is very positive with a few adjustments along the way . . . .I also have a friend who is completely without vision and he has had many service dogs over the years and he would not be without one as much for the guidance the dog provides as for the feeling of safety and security . . .. anxiety is another health condition that would probably respond effectively to a service dog also . . . let us know what you decide and your experience . . .take care, kc
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Offline floridaguy65

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Re: Service animals
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 08:25:49 AM »
Hi A:) There was a story this week in the local newspaper about controversy over a particular case of a service animal which lead to discussions overall about service animals and their usage. Anybody can slap on a vest that says service dog and try to skirt around the system of laws. There seems to be a good deal of 'abuse' of the system designed to help people who actually need it. Of course there are many people who couldn't really function without a service dog....and it is surely is a needed service. With the ADA continuing to help (and expand) more and more I would look into the laws that would apply to your case. State and local laws, too, though the federal ADA laws hold tremendous power against discrimination. In the case of 'mental health issues', I don't know what would be required for you to get a service dog for this measure. Keep in mind that without an 'apparent' reason to have a service dog (blindness is apparent) that there could be the issues of what other people might do or say when you try to take your dog into certain places. It could become a hassle and create anxiety...perhaps more than the 'safety' that your dog would provide. Having to provide documentation upon request. I do not know...I would hope not:)

Kconnors gave you a great reply, as well!

I would do more research on your part. Perhaps contact your local VA, as I have heard that some vets have used service dogs to help with PTSD and this would be considered a disability under mental health....so maybe you can glean some info about how to go about your case, if you choose to move forward:)

Peace and Feel Well:)
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Offline floridaguy65

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Re: Service animals
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 08:31:37 AM »
Also, as I hit send, I thought of something else. The ultimate goal for anxiety peeps is to not have to depend on too many things (except themselves and their own techniques) to 'get by' on a daily basis. You are currently in cosmetology school now.....so that means you are getting out and about and doing things without your dog right now. My point would be for you to just consider your longterm goals (your lasting healing path) for anxiety while you determine your possible need for a service dog for your anxiety:)

Peace and Feel Well:)
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Offline CarrieAnn

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Re: Service animals
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 06:06:06 PM »
I saw a lady in Home Depot the other day carrying a little dog (not sure what breed it was). Seeing her with the dog reminded me of a show that was on tv a couple of years ago....it was a show about anxiety, and the everyday struggles of the sufferer.  Well, there was a woman who brought her dog with her wherever she went, because the dog helped keep her anxiety down.  Without her dog she may have been unable to leave her home.  And I do believe the dog became a certified service dog. 

Sounds like a wonderful thing to me...if it helps a person live their life more fully I'm all for it :) .....and I love dogs!
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