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does this count as a service dog?

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.

  
Diesel

if i want it,- it's mine
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 29, '05 5:24pm PST 
since i can remember i have had personal boundary issues and bein in close proximity to older men( don't ask why i have no clue). i've noticed that when i have my dog(s) with me i don't have these issues and can interact much more normal than if i were alone. i was just wondering if this could count as a service dog role or if i'm just wierd. any insight from the experts would be greatly appreciated.
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 29, '05 5:36pm PST 
That is an interesting question!

It is obvious that Diesel helps you feel more confident around men, that is not at issue.

Here is what a service dog is:

"Service animal means any guide dog, signal dog or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability including, but not limited to guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items.

Reference: 28 CFR 36.104; (CFR = Code of Federal Regulations);

Website: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/index.html



The key part of the definition that I am not sure if you fall under is the disability part. Do you have a medical disabilitly? For instance, if you feel uncomfortable around men but you can function rather normally, aren't taking medication for this, etc, then you probably don't have a disability. However, if this fear of men makes it so that you take medication to be able to function in society, and if you're life is affected by this fear (like you can't go to sporting goods stores even if you need to because you're afraid there will be too many men) then that qualifies as a disability (at least in my mind).

Are you seeing a psychologist/psychiatrist about this problem? If so, discuss this with them. You will need one anyway to get a letter saying you need a SD which you will need if you every fly. Also, visit www.psychdog.org which is the Psychiatric Service Dog society and read their FAQs about who needs and who doesn't need a service dog.

It does seem to me that your dogs might qualify as emotional support animals. This does not mean your dogs can go with you everywhere. However it does mean that you would be allowed to have them in housing that doesn't allow pets. Emotional support animals help their dogs with emotional/psychological issues that are just issues, not disabilities. Like they help relieve lonliness and depression or they make a person able to sleep better at night etc. Emotional support animals are super new, though, so it might be much easier to just live in places that allow pets so you don't have to deal with a lawsuit etc!

Hope that helps!
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Diesel

if i want it,- it's mine
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 29, '05 5:51pm PST 
thanks Sabrina that helps. i am not currently in therapy and have yet to go to one, though i'm sure i need too! i tend to stay away from places with large crowds, though i have been forced, or maybe a better word is guilted, by family events in the past to places like amusment parks. i find it is worse when people get too close or actually touch me, it makes my skin crawl and i want to curl into a ball. i have suffered from slight anxiety when i didn't have any pets in middle school so i am now almost over that since i got my dogs.

lol i just realized that i feel more comfortable when i'm with Diesel and he's such a big scaredy dog with strangers, i guess i feel better when i comfort him!
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Nolte (Retired Guide Dog)

Guide dog work- is a joyous- thing!
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 29, '05 5:52pm PST 
Sabrina's mom gave some good info. I'd just add that it sounds like your dogs are acting as emotional support, not performing tasks that would qualify them as service dogs.

Emotional support dogs are not covered under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) which basically means you can't legally bring them into public places. But, emotional support dogs can be considered exempt from things such as pet deposits in housing facilities, so long as you have a doctor's statement to attest to the fact they provide emotional support.

But no, if you do not have a medically defined disability your dogs would not be considered service dogs.

Karen Ann
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Diesel

if i want it,- it's mine
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 29, '05 5:55pm PST 
thanks Nolte's mom. you all are so helpful!

i've also noticed i haven't been crying as much since i got Diesel, i used to break down ever few weeks before. but again being in a room with a total stranger is a bit...daunting and i don't know if i could deal with it...
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 29, '05 5:57pm PST 
Oh, yeah, another thing I forgot is that a SD must be trained (or innately do) tasks to help your disability. Like bring you medicine, alert you to panic attacks/mood swings, know what to do to comfort you when you are having a panic attack/mood swing or whatever etc for psychiatric service dogs. Or in Nolte's case he has to know how to lead his handler around.

You really should go to a therapist about these issues. Because who knows, they might be able to help you get over them, or at least get a little better, on your own!

Believe me, I know the feeling of crawling skin in public with lots of people. Not fun! Before I got Sabrina I had developed other coping mechanisms that helped somewhat alleviate these problems, or at least hide them so that I could interact with friends/family while in these situations. Good luck!
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Diesel

if i want it,- it's mine
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 29, '05 6:17pm PST 
again thank you all. i know i should at least go once to see if i need to, and my friend's all joke about my "bubble" but it's understandable. if anyone knows a good one in VA that would help, i really wouldn't know the first place to look.
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 29, '05 6:32pm PST 
Here's how I found my psychologist:

I looked up the ones my insurance would cover most of the costs with (you can do this online or call the insurance company). I called the closest few to my house (since I don't drive) and asked them a series of questions. The first time I called all of them I made sure it was after hours. If I didn't like the sound of the voice on the answer machine then I didn't leave a message or call back again. When I talked to them I first gave a brief (2-3 sentances) description of my problem. I asked if they had experience in these types of issues. I asked what methods they use to get a feel for what it would be like to deal with them. From the first conversation I ruled out all but 1 lady (for when I'm in CA). I had my first visit with her and luckily it went well so I'm still seeing her. If after the first visit you're not happy with any aspect of it (even if it's something as silly as the room color), try someone else. A good psychologist wants you to find the person best for you, even if it's not them.

My psychiatrist is super excellent and really really awesome. I lucked out with her and was assigned to her through Student Health. However she doesn't believe in psychiatric service dogs, so that is a little wierd. But with the meds she is the best.

I've gone through plenty of bad psychiatrists and psychologists, though. You have to just keep trying until you get a good one. My first psychologist believed in "guided meditation" which is nice for relaxing but didn't help a whit with my problems. Unfortuately I didn't really know at that time that I could go to another person, so I just dealt with it for about 6 months until I just quit going (a bad idea, but oh well).

Also, most insurance companies require a referral so you may have to visit your regular doctor to get the referral and forms etc. Call the number on your insurance card and they can explain all this to you, or you can usually find the info online.

Isn't it amazing what pets can do for us? I remember that even after just getting the cats (they were my first animals when I was supporting myself) I felt a lot less alone and sad. For a while we said "pets are cheaper than medication" and that is how we ended up with 6 of them (that, and we volunteered at the animal shelter)!

Good luck with everything!
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Diesel

if i want it,- it's mine
 
 
Barked: Thu Dec 1, '05 6:24pm PST 
thanks again Sabrina. i am actually getting some help with all oh my issues, some a bit to sensitive to talk about right now. you have all been a great asset and have always been a place for advice and support. thanks again

Rachel and the pack
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