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973741 tn?1342342773

What do you think of the big trend of service animals for anxiety?

This idea of service animals for mental health has gotten huge!  My nephew tells me that his dorm floor has about 8 dogs on it that are various residents service animals.  So many places you go, people are with their animals with the identifying pet vest on.  I love my dog, she is of great comfort to me.  But how hard is it to certify your pet a service animal (which makes them no longer a pet) and do all of these people really need this?  Or is this just a way to bring your dog or cat to school with you?  Or work or whatever?  I'm truly curious.  I also have a son with anxiety who will be off to college in a few years.  Wondering about him and this current trend.  
1 Responses
242912 tn?1402543492
I think it's a great idea.  I suffer from anxiety and have arthritis in my feet (among other chronic pain issues), and now that my Mom passed away (3yrs ago), and my husband can no longer drive (horrific accident left him a paraplegic 4½ yrs ago), I more often than not, find myself out driving/running errands alone, and think a service dog would be a great help with distraction.  For your son, as well!

I try not to wonder if a person needs their service animal, as no one ever knows what another person's story really is.  MAYBE they are taking advantage, but what are we going to do, walk up and confront them? lol  

I know *I* look perfectly normal in public, but trying to appear 'normal' is very stressful and  I'm always relieved when I get home.  My husband is an angel and will go with me if I ask, but that would require me driving our handicap van (the bottom is lowered for a wheel chair along with heavy duty tie-downs anchored to the floor that hook to the bottom of his chair to keep him in place).  Then after we've been out, the van has to be back up 'just so', so it's parked directly in front of our ramp to the porch.  The point of this long explanation is for me, it's infinitely easier to drive the Honda.  And I would love to have a service dog with me so I don't feel alone.

Oh.  Are you wondering how hard it is to certify the pet as a service animal?  I haven't a clue, but I'm sure one needs to go thru some sort of mental health tests to prove they aren't faking.  Although maybe not, maybe one can simply order that vest for their animal off Amazon! lol  
4 Comments
In all seriousness, I hope I would never judge anyone in a careless way. I'll say that.  My hardest thing when I see people with service animals is remembering that I'm not supposed to make love eyes at them or pet them!  Never met a dog I didn't want to be friends with immediately so that's hard for me. :>))  You know, what about getting a service dog, Jade? This isn't just getting your own dog and training them as that is hard and would be one more burden for you but rather, there are places that match the animal to the person and they come to you trained.  Yes, I guess you'd have to let them out and the whole clean up of the yard thing and feeding . . .   still something to care for but the joy.  And if it is through a service, they may help with some of these things. I don't know.  I've never looked into it.  But maybe that would be a great thing for my son!  I always worry about him because he feels very alone in the world. Going off to college seems daunting.  And that would be security for him.  Not as in the dog would protect him (although that would be okay) but emotional security.  

I did have one person say something that I wondered about in terms of so many service animals in a dorm and that was about allergies. I guess that would have to be considered.  I know that if you are looking at apartments, you inform the potential landlord that you have a service pet and they can't charge you a pet fee, can't tell you no because you have the service animal as they are not listed as pets.  There are laws protecting the right to have them!  We live in an evolving world, don't we?  
I'm assuming there's some research on this, but as with everything in the US it could just be another good idea to make money selling and training the animals.  I'm guessing that, and this includes me, given the huge number of pet owners in the US and the also huge number of people with mental illness, it would seem having a pet hasn't helped with the problem.  But I'm always being too logical, looking at how people actually live.  So, if pets were a solution, why haven't we all gotten better?  Personally, I don't really care about it, if it makes people happy, but it's also a problem for others because people are taking these animals everywhere.  Saw a TV segment about a woman who has a companion small horse and therefore had to be allowed to bring it on an airplane.  Didn't work so well for everyone else, so she had to ride in the bulkhead with it.  
A companion horse.  Trying not to judge.  I also read about a man who had a companion snake that he wore around his neck to work at Home Depot  because it was like he was getting a constant hug.  (insert emoji with big bulged out eyes).  But yet, I can see it.  Animals can be a great comfort.  I saw a video of a woman with panic and a dog trained to calm her. My son's therapist brings his dog to the office with him and the dog sits on the couch next to my son.  My son LOVES it.  If it bothers anyone, the dog goes behind the couch. Dog went behind the couch when my husband and I met with the therapist without our son to discuss things which I've never seen but my husband is loud.  lol  I'm not sure what that meant but maybe a special note went into my son's file about his dad for scaring off the dog.  (insert whatever emoji you think fits).

Anyway, I think it is an interesting concept.  I never really thought much about the expense of it but when I looked it up, ya.  It is really expensive!  A bit shocked to be honest.  But they receive specialized training.   I guess that is why it is really stressed that these animals are NOT pets and shouldn't be treated as such.  Which again, would be REALLY hard for me.
I agree.  Whenever I see a service dog I'm such a dog lover and they seem to also really like something about me I just want to pet it and say hi but I know I can't.  
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