Arizona SDiT

Psychiatric Service Dog? Want other PSD handler/owners opinions about if the bias behind a mental disability is worth it

I was diagnosed with PTSD & Bipolar Disorder as a teen. After years of hospitalizations & trying different therapies & medicine I've kind of given up on traditional treatment & have just been dealing with my issues on my own. I work for an animal shelter & after bottle raising a puppy last year I decided to keep her (Arizona, the dog on my page), & we've been near inseparable. I'm lucky enough to be able to bring her to work with me daily and she has a natural ability to "ground" me when irritable/manic, she paws me when I'm about to have panic attacks, and will lay on me when I'm having night terrors. All without training. But with the hot summer weather I've been forced to leave her home when I have to run errands after work for fear of her over heating in the car & I find my moods unmanageable without her on some days but I don't know how I feel about being classified as "mentally disabled" in order to have her with me to run errands, though I would feel safer at night.

Asked by Arizona SDiT on May 31st 2012 in Service & Therapy Dogs
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I'm Bipolar and go through anxiety attacks and manic phases as well. I'm currently training my dog Sarge to be my Psychiatric Service dog. One of the things I'm training him for is to remind me to take my meds and help me before I get into a manic phase (snap me out by touch). My Doctors have been really supportive of me having him as a service dog. She can see the improvements. He just passed his AKC Canine Good Citizenship test so I decided to start really getting into his public training. I have been asked by random strangers what he's being trained for since his vest says he's in training. It is uncomfortable. One thing to remember is that you don't have to tell them what kind of service dog he is. That's your business. Just make sure she's very well trained and have your Doctor also document if they feel it would be beneficial for you. And Train, Train, Train. Check online for Psychiatric Service Dog Society.

Sarge answered on 5/31/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer

Kali earned her wings 10/21/14

I think in general everyone has some degree of issues they have to deal with. So, if anyone judges you for your disability, then I would say they are the one with the problem. As for your dog, you are very kind in thinking of her welfare in the heat. As for the help she gives you, it's a rare thing to find that one dog that is completely in-tune with you, that has a connection with you like no other. You are truly lucky that you found her and apparently, she is lucky she found you. Good Luck with her.

Kali earned her wings 10/21/14 answered on 6/1/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


I also have a mental disability and have a 4mo pup that is starting her process to being a psd. I think that its like any other disability if you couldn't walk and needed a dog to help it would still be a disability.I think what you should really ask yourself is are you better off with your dog? and if its a substantial improvement then its worth the "mental disabled" label. that is a decision that only you can make. for me my dog is a must and thus i have no choice but to take the label, especially if i get to bring my dog everywhere i go. also psd are tax deductible since they are considered a medical expense, so that helps too.

COCO answered on 6/4/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer