A Service Dog for Claire

A Service Dog for Claire

From Claire Skipworth

I am raising money for a service dog. A service dog will help me live independently with my psychiatric disabilities. The challenges I face every day include OCD, social anxiety, PTSD, depression, and more.

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My Story:

Hello, my name is Claire! I have struggled with mental illnesses as long as I can remember, and it has been especially hard the last 5 years. Some of my illnesses are Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, and Major Depressive Disorder. I have done several years of treatment, varying from weekly counseling sessions to residential and inpatient care, combined with taking medications. While some of those treatments really did help, I still struggle everyday with basic daily tasks needed to live independently. I will be 18 in 2021, so independence is becoming very important for me. I will adopt a dog and train it myself with professional help.

What is a service dog?

A service dog is a dog specifically trained to perform work/tasks to mitigate (help) their human's disability. A Psychiatric Service Dog (PSD) is trained to provide service to those with anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, panic and anxiety attacks, dissociation. Not everyone with these illnesses will need, or want, a service dog though. How it affects an individual's life is what determines if it is a disability or not. The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) website  can provide more information. I will include a link here...

https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.pdf

You may be wondering, how will a service dog help her?

I'll tell you! Service dogs go through rigorous training to learn tasks for their human. I will include a few articles at the bottom explaining Psychiatric Service Dogs and how they work to help their handler. 

Here are common tasks a PSD can be trained to do, many of which I will put to use.

  • -Alert to panic or anxiety attack, episodes of rage or strong emotion, dissociation, anxious behaviors

    -Alert to alarm

  • -Routine reminders (feed dog, eat meals, go to sleep, wake up, etc.)

  • -Interrupt crying, self harm, dissociation, flashback, freezing behavior, harmful behaviors

  • -Interrupt nightmares, panic/anxiety attacks, repetitive behaviors, scratching/skin + picking

  • -Lick face/hands for grounding and tactile sensory input

  • -Create barrier for extra personal space (Cover + Block) + Crowd control (circling)

  • -Guide to specific person or to a safe place + Check the room for danger

  • -Provide distraction, reason to leave uncomfortable situation

  • -(LPT) Light pressure therapy, (DPT) Deep pressure therapy

Now you know more about what a Psychiatric Service Dog is and why I am raising money for one.  Getting a dog is a huge commitment and responsibility- for anyone, whether if it's service dog or not! On top of all the necessary items needed to welcome a new dog in, the training fees add up quickly. Here are the ways your donations will be used! 

Your donation, of any amount, will be used wisely for the dog adoption fee, food, vet care, training fees, grooming tools, gear (including a leash, harness, etc) and any other essential items needed for welcoming a new dog into my life. Your donation will never be used for anything other than these purposes. Any donations "left-over" will be put into savings for costs in the future.

Thank you so much!

Helpful Links:

https://www.theatomichound.com/how-to-get-service-dog-practical-helpful-guide/

https://www.theatomichound.com/gigantic-list-of-the-top-150-service-dog-tasks/

https://www.caninejournal.com/psychiatric-service-dog/

This is a video by a handler demonstrating tasks that she uses:

 https://youtu.be/HUqYfnLKmF4

Endless videos can be found on YouTube by other Service Dog handlers! Here are a couple that have really helped me.

https://youtu.be/skJbYO2K6v0

https://youtu.be/BZaZLvCedRE

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