Psychiatric Service Dogs A dog trained to complete, on command, at least three tasks that mitigate the symptoms of the handler’s mental disability. Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSDs) are legally categorized with Seeing Eye Dogs, Hearing Ear Dogs, and Service Dogs for people with physical disabilities. They are not the same as companion animals, which serve handlers by simply providing a soothing or calming presence, or therapy animals, which are certified to visit certain public venues to serve others besides their handler with their soothing presence.
What disabilities can PSDs help with?
What kinds of tasks can PSDs perform?
Psychiatric Service Dogs can assist individuals suffering from autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, seizure disorders, and traumatic brain injury. However, the usefulness of a service dog and the tasks it can perform are only limited by the creativity and insight of the handler, so dogs may be able to assist many other disorders in addition to those listed here.
Deep pressure therapy Reminders based on the dog’s biological clock (i.e. to take medication) to aid memory loss Use K-9 emergency phone to call 911 Bring a portable emergency phone to handler Bring medications and beverage to handler, or just beverages to combat dry mouth, a common side effect of medications Provide stimulation to return handler to alert state during or after dissociation or nightmares
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Do PSDs provide any additional benefits to their handlers?
Are PSDs protected by the Are there dogs specifically Americans with Disabilities raised or trained for the job? Psychiatric Service Dogs are Act (1990)?
Yes, sociological and psychological research indicates that the presence of and interaction with dogs has a positive effect on the human psyche. Petting a dog often makes people happier. The additional independence achieved with the assistance of a Psychiatric Service Dog gives handlers additional confidence. The Psychiatric Service Dog often acts as a social bridge between a person with disabilities and other people by providing an exterior point of focus in c o n v e r s a t i o n .
Yes, Psychiatric Service Dogs are protected under the same laws as Seeing Eye Dogs, Hearing Ear Dogs, or Service Dogs for people with physical disabilities. The Psychiatric Service Dogs are allowed into businesses, restaurants, government buildings, and all other establishments. They are allowed in no-pet or restricted-pet housing. Although they can be asked to leave an establishment under extreme circumstances involving danger to others, they may not be turned away under normal circumstances. These dogs have more legal protections than companion or therapy animals.
usually adopted from shelters and are chosen based on an aptitude for learning and human interaction. Training is provided, usually on a case-by-case basis, for specific tasks to help the intended handler.
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Image courtesy of servicedoggear.com Image courtesy of aspieweb.net
LOCAL PET ADOPTION CONTACTS:
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES:
Pets Come First Lemont, PA 814-359-7150 petscomefirst.com
Centre Cty. Office of Mental Health Bellefonte, PA 814-355-6782 co.centre.pa.us/561.asp
Psychiatric Service Dog Society psychdog.org
Centre Cty. PAWS State College, PA 814-237-5067 centrecountypaws.org
Susquehanna Service Dogs Harrisburg, PA 717-599-5920
PSPCA Centre Hall, PA 814-364-1725 pspca.org
New Life Assistance Dogs Lancaster, PA 800-995-9581 Image courtesy of psychscoop.files.wordpress.com
By Caitlin Adams
For additional information, please see: https://sites.google.com/site/PsychServiceDogsInfo/