In the UK it is volunteers who usually bring dogs to wards. The benefits are undisputed. The main difficulty is a shortage of dogs who have been certified as suitable/safe and a shortage of people willing to bring them on to wards.
It is really a pity that it is not a wide spread practice.
I didnt know that it was recognised that docs had a benificial effect on mental health sufferers. In my psych hosp my dh brought my dog up every other day and she got to go round all the 'in mates' everyone loved her. a few poeple had their dogs in.
i think animals are great for many people. i sometimes wish dogs were allowed more places. abroad they are better with pets and they can go to shops etc
i would find my dog a great help to go shopping when i have high anxiety. x
op.cit that sort of dog is called a therapy dog , they are used to help people in hospital care homes etc . they also have less commonly known dogs that go into schools to help children to read , reading to the dog helps them to build confidence since dogs are none critical of speed , intonation and mistakes .
a psychiatric service dog , is the same as other kinds of assistance dogs , they accompany there owners everywhere , one of the main differences is that a lot of there work is invisible to onlookers . many of them work like dogs that are trained to alert to seizures, instead these dogs can alert to symptons such as oncoming anxiety and panic attacks as well as the mood swings caused by polar.
the dogs work for one individual and the bond to that person is very strong , the dog learns the natural baseline for their owner. and subsequently learns to recognise the beginning of a change from that . this is the reason that the majority of psychiatric service dogs are trained by there owners as opposed to programms . few people understand the concept or the need for them , but there numbers are growing and rightly so .
in my opinion dogs are much under appreciated resource for people with disabilities of all kinds , not just the obvious disabilities but especially for those suffering with mental health illnesses .
toonafish a psychiatric service dog , is an absolute life saver for people with anxiety . the impact of severe anxiety is unrecognised by the general public and it can be a truly devestating illness , in my opinion sufferes recieve little to no support and the number of people whose lives can be greatly improved( or even saved) is enormous . it is a tragedy that so little effort is put into the care of anxiety sufferes and one of the best help out there is ignored.
I suffer with Bi-polar and agrophobia.
I have 3 wonderful staffies, one of which is a qualified P.A.T dog.
The one who is qualified as a P.A.T dog, visits nursing homes and hospitals, but when she is not working, I have trained her to recognise changes in my condition before I even know they are happening.
I suffer with severe panic attacks, both whilst awake and asleep. She knows when they are coming on and if we are walking in public she moves me somewhere quiet and calms me down. If I am asleep she wakes me so that I am able to regain normal breathing before settling back to sleep. She also knows when my condition is at its worst where it could be possible to self harm if left un noticed.
I am in the process of trying to find an organisation to help me get her qualified as an assistance dog due to my mental health and how she has learnt my condition and how it changes frequently. But unfortunatly so far no luck. I dont know if this is because people think mental health is 'all in the mind' (which it is not) or if it is because of her breed, but Pysc Dogs in USA are known for using Pit Bulls which people own and train to their requirements with help from the Psyc Dog trainers.
I know 'Pysc Dogs' are recognised in the USA but there is currently nothing like this in the UK. I am trying to find an organisation who will support mental health service dogs so if any one can help me or point me in the right direction I would be very grateful of the help and will pass on further information as I find it
I know the benefits of having a dog when mentally ill..unfortunately for me when I was sectioned and in a psychiatric unit for 10 months my beautiful dog was 'in care' privately and the CPN I had at the time said I could not see her because she was not 'insured' to ferry dogs around....I was not even told where my dog was 'placed'. I was further told I could see her if I put her in 'kennels'...I thought it best for her to stay with the family she was placed with.
When I was discharged Pebbles came back to me and we re-established a r/ship..sadly, I was still very ill and it was not the same..I subsequently became psychotic and asked a friend to look after Pebbles...she ran away...by this time I was sectioned again and in no fit state to comprehend what had happened. To this day I cry for her and feel so guilty for not being able to take care of her. I had her from being a puppy and she was my best friend and the sweetest natured dog I have ever known..she was 7when I lost her and its been 7 years since then..yet one more casualty of this crap illness.
I now have a little dog called Peanut and although he can never replace Pebbles he is a little character and I love him so, he keeps me going. Sadly, due mainly to the depression I have had for 7 years I have not trained him and so he cannot do all the things Pebbles could, but he is my little mate and is now nearly 4 years old he is a pomeranian/yorkshire terrier cross..so is a strange looking little man!
Service dogs however sound a brilliant idea especially if there is help with training...due to the nature of Bipolar and many other mental illnesses I would hope that proper care facilities are provided for the dog if the owner needs to go into hospital/ or is too ill to provide care...and that regular contact between dog and owner is maintained throughout.