Author Topic: Looking into a PSD?  (Read 2871 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline WNCoati

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 21
  • college student
  • Location: NC / CA
  • Mood: Exhausted
  • SDC interest: ESA owner
Looking into a PSD?
« on: March 22, 2017, 06:29:41 PM »
Hi there, I've posted on here before but it's been a long while!

Last time I was here I had an ESA I'd just adopted name Athena, but I ended up returning her to the shelter as she was diagnosed with advanced hip dysplasia that the rescue hadn't noticed in the time she was there. I was looking for a dog to be active with outside of my home (in areas that were dog friendly, of course, as she wasn't an SD), but minor walks had her in pain and I couldn't succeed with her in my care.

I've since decided to start medication to help with my depression and anxiety, though I've been through three different medications since January and every one of them made things 300 times worse than being off. I'm talking paranoid out my butt and so depressed I was having suicidal thoughts (aka the end of the last two).

I'm really hesitant to even try another medication and my psychiatrist understands this, especially being in school and having the side effects negatively impact my academics. I was thinking about bringing up a service dog at my next appointment with my therapist, who is a different lady that originally prescribed me an ESA under the premise I would attempt meds as well. She's mentioned SDs once before but I thought I wasn't qualified enough for one. Now, it's quite a different story.

I can't leave my residence without absolute paranoia following me everywhere I go, so I only leave if I absolutely have to unless someone is with me. That doesn't seem too bad until you realize I can't physically bring myself to go buy food or essentials because I'm so high-strung when I leave. The depression just amplifies the pressure to stay inside, and it's starting to get really bad. How is this all disabling? I'm a college student, and I've missed more class this semester than I would have thought imaginable. I do have a case with my campus' DSO due to my diagnoses, though my professors have to stick to the university attendance policy most of the time. My grades are slipping and it's getting harder and harder to function and actually learn when I have a million things going on in my head a minute but at the same time feel like a void.

I know when I'm at home that I function very well with my old dog, Freckles, as he's the reason I get up in the morning and get out of the house. There are several dog-friendly stores I take him with me to, and several places near me know me by now and just let me bring him in (ones a sport store I get supplies at sometimes, and they don't mind him since he's nearly invisible due to being well trained). Of course he's not a service dog and I can't go a lot of places with him, but I've found that if I have something whose ears are 100x better than mine with me, it reduces my anxiety by a whole lot since if he's calm with a noise, so am I.

I'm sorry for rambling so much but I would love your opinions..?

I would be getting a SD prospect if so, as my dog is nearing 14 and wouldn't be too happy with me taking his arthritic joints everywhere everyday, versus the once or twice a week I do otherwise.

- Coadi
~ Freckles - companion dog - lazy and old, but as good as gold ~

Offline Summertime.and.Azkaban

  • Resident Terrier Wrangler
  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1948
  • Holli and Azkaban
  • Location: North Carolina USA
  • Mood: Tired
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: Looking into a PSD?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2017, 07:17:30 PM »
What could you train a dog to do for you? What are some things a robot or another human could do to help you that a dog could also do?

In looking at psychiatric service dogs you have to differentiate between what helps you objectively and what helps you because it's comforting.
-Azkaban, Rayner, and Chewy-
"I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights" -Desmond Tutu
PM me about being pen pals or receiving a holiday card in the mail!

Offline EverConfused

  • Loquacious Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 950
  • Mood: Okay
  • SDC interest: curious
Re: Looking into a PSD?
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2017, 08:25:02 PM »
I would've found training a dog while I was in college extremely difficult, especially when I was already struggling to keep up. You might not find it so difficult though.
she/her/hers

I sometimes use speech-to-text software. If something in my post does not make sense, please ask.

Offline Kirsten

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 39435
  • Have a flufftastic day!
  • Location: Missouri, USA
  • Mood: Okay
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: Looking into a PSD?
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2017, 08:36:47 PM »
In addition to the requirement that a service dog must be trained to do things for you that your disability prevents you from doing for yourself, it will typically take 2-3 years to get a functioning service dog in place.  What will you do in the meanwhile, while you wait? 

Please don't trick yourself into using a prospect for a work around for a public access emotional support animal.  I mean I do understand the appeal but I've never seen it end well.  Never.  When you're training a dog for a specific purpose, that training needs to come above everything else when you are with your dog.  So when you tell yourself that an outing is for training, but really it's to use the dog for companionship in public places his training is going to deteriorate rapidly and the dog will develop bad habits from insufficient focus, overfacing, and not being removed instantly when behavior is inappropriate.  It's so darned easy to trick yourself into thinking it can be fixed later or that it isn't that big of a deal. Especially without prior experience with advanced training to have a firm grasp of the consequences.  Then what happens when it becomes apparent the dog isn't able to do the job and is never going to legally qualify but then how do you deal with stopping the habit of taking the dog with you for companionship and how do you explain it to everyone, and then what happens to the dog?  It's just a huge huge mess that ends with even worse stress than when it started.
Kirsten and Tardis
In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

Offline WNCoati

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 21
  • college student
  • Location: NC / CA
  • Mood: Exhausted
  • SDC interest: ESA owner
Re: Looking into a PSD?
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2017, 08:47:06 PM »
In high school I was training my current dog with just general things he knows and I was in the IB program which, honestly, was a lot more stressful of a work load than college currently is.

I do know the time it takes to train a fully-functioning service dog, and I'm not looking for an ESA work around for companionship in public. If it's solely for comfort that defeats the purpose, I feel, of having a dog that's supposed to mitigate your disability.

Also this is a little long, but it's what I would be wanting to train a service dog to do. Some things I would want sooner than others, but I do understand that it takes a long time to train these guys. I'm not ignoring your comments at all, I just typed this up before I received the latest two replies, and I'd love to hear your thoughts since I'm new to all of this and I just really want to be able to live life like my friends can without being held back so much by my disorders. ):

For me there are two places where a service dog would help me lead a life that was less affected by my mental disorders: the dependency of caring for a dog would get me out of bed and outside in my daily routine, as currently I stagnate and seclude myself in my residence because I cannot bring myself to leave. This is partially also due to back / rib pain that makes breathing and moving rather painful, though numerous trips to the doctor's have left me with no explanation. Increased exercise truly helps alleviate the pain, as laying in bed just stiffens everything up. So not only would a service dog be helping mitigate the depression, but also the pain. And, yes, I do take medication (anti-inflammatory) for my back and ribs, but it only makes it just bearable to get up. If I forget a dose, it makes my day very difficult. Part of this would be having something that helps me practice getting back into a routine, but also I would want to train a dog to "wake me up" to the alarm clock, such as bugging me at the sound of the alarm so I actually get up instead of just hitting "stop" or "snooze".  This works at home with my companion dog, so I feel it would be easy enough to train a service dog to do the same.

The second place a service dog would mitigate a disability is through my anxiety. I rely on my boyfriend, the one time he's over per month, to be my, for lack of better terms, "service human," but he's not always available for me to depend on if I need something. The last time I went to the store I started panicking in line because people kept getting too close to me, and each time this happens the less likely I am to set foot in a place where I'm caught in a line. I've talked to one of the service dog trainers around my area just in interest of how she trains and what she's trained dogs to do (she was a guest lecturer and talking to her was nerve-wracking since I have, fantasically, social anxiety in the mix), and she mentioned blocking where you have the dog stand in place and give you some room while you're in line at a store.

THIS would NOT be for comfort, but rather it would make it so I would be able to actually practice being in a store and staying relatively less panicked than without the dog there. Over time my ability to handle myself in the store would grow, especially compared to the once every other month, /maybe/, that my boyfriend is in the mood to walk to the store with me.

Additionally for anxiety, I would train the dog to alert for specific behaviours that people have semi-noticed about me when I'm becoming more anxious. Yes, like you said, a human could do this, but I live alone. I don't have someone who can watch me for what I do when the anxiety is building, and most of the time I don't notice it unless either they point it out or I'm panicked/dissociating. This happens in both class and at home. I would want to train a dog to alert to leg bouncing, nail biting, and scratching, as two are self-destructive behaviours I stop if someone mentions it, but most of the time I don't until my fingers are bloodied or my arms are raw. The leg bouncing tends to be when I'm somewhere anxiety0inducing, like a lecture hall, and unless the nail biting / leg bouncing is mentioned, I'll start to dissociate in the middle of class and lose half a class worht of instruction because I keep "zoning out" due to anxious thoughts. Generally this would be in the form of a nudge or pawing at my leg or other body part.

As for the hearing better comment, I would want to train for a dog to nudge my hand or lick it even when I freeze up after someone has yelled / called something out loudly. I freeze up and start to panic simply due to it being a trauma trigger from my childhood, so it would be really helpful to have something break me from the frozen behaviour to continue on to a safe place, even if they weren't calling to me.
~ Freckles - companion dog - lazy and old, but as good as gold ~

Offline WNCoati

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 21
  • college student
  • Location: NC / CA
  • Mood: Exhausted
  • SDC interest: ESA owner
Re: Looking into a PSD?
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2017, 09:05:24 PM »
Also forgot to mention that the time is takes to train a service dog, to me, would be worth it because I've been in and out of therapy for the past 3, nearly 4 years and honestly my treatment has stagnated. I feel I would truly benefit from training a service dog, as I wouldn't be taking them out into public space until I knew they were well-behaved and had worked well with tasks at home, and out in public for training runs I know from experience with my dog in dog friendly places when to get out of there to discourage a behaviour if I cannot correct it immediately and have to do more training outside of that place., wherever it was.
~ Freckles - companion dog - lazy and old, but as good as gold ~

Offline Magesteff

  • Eater of books
  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 12008
  • I want to be a mysterious Woman...
  • Location: Palm Springs, FL, USA
  • Mood: Annoyed
  • SDC interest: waiting
Re: Looking into a PSD?
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2017, 07:52:44 PM »
...because I've been in and out of therapy for the past 3, nearly 4 years and honestly my treatment has stagnated

This statement worries me. One could argue that the times you are not in therapy, you are not disabled and do not require a service dog for that reason. Note: I am not suggesting you are not disabled, I am pointing out that if you end up in a court case where you must defend your use of an SD, and were not in treatment for your disability, you could end up losing your public access rights to use the dog.

If I may suggest, it may be helpful to you to work with your therapist on compliance and explore medication options available from your primary care doc or a psychiatrist. Once you are compliant with those avenues of treatment, then revisit adding a service dog.
Steffeny, with Hobbes. In memory of Spike (1989 ~ 12/14/2014) my little old gentleman, and Max (9/21/2006 ~ 6/2/2015).  Dog camp postponed until I am in a better situation.
FB:http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/Magesteff

Offline WNCoati

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 21
  • college student
  • Location: NC / CA
  • Mood: Exhausted
  • SDC interest: ESA owner
Re: Looking into a PSD?
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2017, 09:47:58 PM »
I'm sorry for not being clear about that uvu;;

I meant that in the way of I was in "therapy" in high school with a counselor at school, but it wasn't consistent. The past almost a year I've been seeing the same therapist, and my first year of college I spent with a therapist in the counseling center of my campus. The only reason I switched was because the campus therapist mentioned that she was going to have to refer me out to someone off campus if I wanted to be able to see someone more than once every 5 weeks. So the "out" was the period in between moving to NC and finding the counseling center, and then the period in which I was referred out of the center to find someone off campus.

I am currently in therapy, just it's been a bumpy road finding this therapist, especially when the last one started getting frustrated that her methods weren't working on me. I've tried three different medications and we're taking a break from trying a fourth since my mental health plummeted when they tried one, then another, and another. It's come back up, but the medications simply gave me suicidal thoughts which was immediate grounds for me being removed from them. Hence why wer'e taking a break to let me recover from three times of that occurring in a row. ):

But thank you for your advice ! I'm not sure where to go exactly with the medication, and I figured posting her might tell me if a service dog might be a good route to go.
~ Freckles - companion dog - lazy and old, but as good as gold ~

Offline Cinnamon

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Location: Tennessee
  • SDC interest: curious
Re: Looking into a PSD?
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2017, 06:26:15 AM »
...because I've been in and out of therapy for the past 3, nearly 4 years and honestly my treatment has stagnated

This statement worries me. One could argue that the times you are not in therapy, you are not disabled and do not require a service dog for that reason. Note: I am not suggesting you are not disabled, I am pointing out that if you end up in a court case where you must defend your use of an SD, and were not in treatment for your disability, you could end up losing your public access rights to use the dog.

If I may suggest, it may be helpful to you to work with your therapist on compliance and explore medication options available from your primary care doc or a psychiatrist. Once you are compliant with those avenues of treatment, then revisit adding a service dog.

Is there legal precedence for this? The expansions in ADA amendments clarify that your disability status should be considered on its basis without other measures like medication, therapy, or lifestyle changes. Am I misunderstanding?

Offline Kirsten

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 39435
  • Have a flufftastic day!
  • Location: Missouri, USA
  • Mood: Okay
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: Looking into a PSD?
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2017, 07:55:56 PM »
The ADA covers disabilities that are episodic.  However, the use of a service dog in a public accommodation is a reasonable accommodation and you should take your service dog with you when you have a reasonable expectation of needing his assistance.  If you are going someplace you think you may need assistance or are expecting your symptoms could return, then it is reasonable to take the service dog with you.  If it is unlikely you would go someplace where you would need assistance or that symptoms would return then it is unreasonable to inflict your service dog on those who may be allergic or fearful of dogs.

Regarding mitigating measures, if you take medication or participate in therapy that is controling a psyciatric based disability, then you do not also need a service dog.  Yes, you would still be considered disabled, but being disabled alone is not what qualifies you for a service dog.  You must both be disabled and the accommodation is based on the reasonable expectation that you will need the dog to perform one or more tasks to mitigate your disability.  So if therapy or medication is fully controlling the mental illness there is nothing left for the dog to mitigate and no justificiation for inflicting the dog on others who are allergic to, are fearful of, or simply don't like dogs.

The ADA is not affirmative action to give one class of people privileges over other classes.  Its intent is to bring disadvantaged people up to a similar ability to access goods and services that others without disabilities can access.  And that's why you must have a reasonable expectation that you will need the dog to perform tasks to justify taking him into businesses where pets are not normally permitted.

Why?  Why does it matter that you bear the label "disabled" even when outwardly you are functioning normally?  Because the definition of disability under the ADA includes three "prongs:" those who are substantially limited in their ability to function, those who have a history of being so limited, and those who are perceived by others to be so limited.  Suppose a business decided they didn't want you in their store because the owner saw you going into a therapist's office and they don't want crazy people to be customers.  Also suppose your treatment program is working very well and your symptoms are currently under control.  The ADA would still protect your right to get equal access to goods and services as anyone without a disability, but would not cover your use of a service dog (which only applies under the first prong of being currently substantially limited).
Kirsten and Tardis
In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

Offline ccunnin3

  • Little Win Guru
  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1546
  • Nicer Once You Get To Know Her
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Mood: Okay
  • SDC interest: SD partner
Re: Looking into a PSD?
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2017, 08:02:22 PM »
Why?  Why does it matter that you bear the label "disabled" even when outwardly you are functioning normally?  Because the definition of disability under the ADA includes three "prongs:" those who are substantially limited in their ability to function, those who have a history of being so limited, and those who are perceived by others to be so limited.  Suppose a business decided they didn't want you in their store because the owner saw you going into a therapist's office and they don't want crazy people to be customers.  Also suppose your treatment program is working very well and your symptoms are currently under control.  The ADA would still protect your right to get equal access to goods and services as anyone without a disability, but would not cover your use of a service dog (which only applies under the first prong of being currently substantially limited).

The ADA coves more than just public access for service dogs. So the three prongs come into play more in other areas. For example, if I had a disabling mental illness but brought it completely under control I am no longer disabled. But if my employer finds my medical records (or hears a rumor or whatever) and decides "crazies" don't belong in the company, then the 2nd "prong" of the ADA is what protects me.

The 2nd and 3rd prongs don't offer much protection for service dogs since it isn't a service dog if it isn't mitigating a disability. But they are still very important.
Caitlin and AIRLIE
My Blog

Offline EverConfused

  • Loquacious Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 950
  • Mood: Okay
  • SDC interest: curious
Re: Looking into a PSD?
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2017, 08:43:05 PM »
I think Cinnamon's question is actually: Does someone need to be in therapy and/or on meds in order to be considered disabled? In other words, if Joe Bloggs isn't in treatment, could he lose public access rights if he needs to defend his use of a PSD in court?
she/her/hers

I sometimes use speech-to-text software. If something in my post does not make sense, please ask.

Offline Summertime.and.Azkaban

  • Resident Terrier Wrangler
  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1948
  • Holli and Azkaban
  • Location: North Carolina USA
  • Mood: Tired
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: Looking into a PSD?
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2017, 09:59:21 PM »
I don't know how I feel about this.

My disability isn't episodic, but it does worsen periodically. My average, plateaued level of "stable" is still substantially limited. Therapy can do little to no more for me right now. I see a therapist when things get bad and I am actively trying to, or trying not to kill myself. Otherwise I am in a happy middle of managing myself, using coping skills and keeping myself alive. Treatment is not benefitial to me when I am stable as I have reprocessed my truamas, been through psychotherapy, hypnosis, and have been through brutal, six hours of talk therapy a week treatment plans. I've exercised my access to more intense therapies, found them beneficial then ceased them when they stopped being benefitial. There's no more "advanced" therapies I can try, and I can re-frame situations, work through conflicts and reflect on emotions on my own. I don't need talk therapy when I'm stable but I'm still substantially limited in daily acts of living. Talk therapy does nothing for me day to day.

I dunno. I know you guys don't write the laws but being stable enough to cease treatment doesn't mean someone isn't still disabled. You could argue that someone with such chronic mental illness should be in therapy all the time anyway, but why expect insurance to pay for therapy when we're just rehashing coping skills I've had for a decade and doing the ABC model with events I've already reflected on and reframed? It's pointless and it takes up time.

I am staunchly against being in treatment just to be in treatment. If you aren't actively benefiting from something, either by improving or depending on it to stay stable, then there's no point in continuing. I wouldn't take medicine that wasn't having any affect on me, why continue therapy that isn't serving any purpose?

I'm no less disabled or chronically depressed right now than I would be if I was in therapy. Mental illness can be improved gradually with continuous therapy the majority of the time, but when you've honestly exhausted all avenues of treatment available aside from invasive infusions/inplants, and achieve no level of stability beyond what you can achieve on your own, it's okay to stop and it doesn't mean you're better.

-Azkaban, Rayner, and Chewy-
"I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights" -Desmond Tutu
PM me about being pen pals or receiving a holiday card in the mail!

Offline c.geoffroyi

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 56
  • Location: Northern California
  • Mood: Dazed
  • SDC interest: waiting
Re: Looking into a PSD?
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2017, 10:47:24 PM »
I don't know how I feel about this.

My disability isn't episodic, but it does worsen periodically. My average, plateaued level of "stable" is still substantially limited. Therapy can do little to no more for me right now. I see a therapist when things get bad and I am actively trying to, or trying not to kill myself. Otherwise I am in a happy middle of managing myself, using coping skills and keeping myself alive. Treatment is not benefitial to me when I am stable as I have reprocessed my truamas, been through psychotherapy, hypnosis, and have been through brutal, six hours of talk therapy a week treatment plans. I've exercised my access to more intense therapies, found them beneficial then ceased them when they stopped being benefitial. There's no more "advanced" therapies I can try, and I can re-frame situations, work through conflicts and reflect on emotions on my own. I don't need talk therapy when I'm stable but I'm still substantially limited in daily acts of living. Talk therapy does nothing for me day to day.

I dunno. I know you guys don't write the laws but being stable enough to cease treatment doesn't mean someone isn't still disabled. You could argue that someone with such chronic mental illness should be in therapy all the time anyway, but why expect insurance to pay for therapy when we're just rehashing coping skills I've had for a decade and doing the ABC model with events I've already reflected on and reframed? It's pointless and it takes up time.

I am staunchly against being in treatment just to be in treatment. If you aren't actively benefiting from something, either by improving or depending on it to stay stable, then there's no point in continuing. I wouldn't take medicine that wasn't having any affect on me, why continue therapy that isn't serving any purpose?

I'm no less disabled or chronically depressed right now than I would be if I was in therapy. Mental illness can be improved gradually with continuous therapy the majority of the time, but when you've honestly exhausted all avenues of treatment available aside from invasive infusions/inplants, and achieve no level of stability beyond what you can achieve on your own, it's okay to stop and it doesn't mean you're better.

ALL of this! It applies to physical/medical conditions as well.

And I'll add that even when there is a possible treatment, sometimes the cost and/or risk (financial, side effects, etc) far outweighs the very small gains.
~~Carolyn~~ (Ehlers Danlos, migraine, dysautonomia, sleep disorders, a scary mystery lung problem, and lots more fun stuff!) +Currently responsible for 1 pre-teen human, 3 cats, and a bunch of fish
https://www.razoo.com/story/aservicedog4carolyn

Offline Cinnamon

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Location: Tennessee
  • SDC interest: curious
Re: Looking into a PSD?
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2017, 11:11:57 PM »
For example, if I had a disabling mental illness but brought it completely under control I am no longer disabled.

In response to your post, and somewhat to Kirsten's, legally, this is not true. From the EOOC's website:

The ADAAA and the final regulations direct that the positive (or ameliorative) effects from an individualís use of one or more mitigating measures be ignored in determining if an impairment substantially limits a major life activity. In other words, if a mitigating measure eliminates or reduces the symptoms or impact of an impairment, that fact cannot be used in determining if a person meets the definition of disability. Instead, the determination of disability must focus on whether the individual would be substantially limited in performing a major life activity without the mitigating measure. This may mean focusing on the extent of limitations prior to use of a mitigating measure or on what would happen if the individual ceased using a mitigating measure. [Section 1630.2(j)(1)(vi) and corresponding Appendix section]."

However, a little further down on the same page, the EEOC has this to say:

"On the other hand, if an individual with a disability uses a mitigating measure that results in no negative effects and eliminates the need for a reasonable accommodation, a covered entity will have no obligation to provide one."

So it seems like there may be a need to prove the necessity of the accommodation (public access w SD), even if the person is disabled. I am finding this a little bit ambiguous and would welcome researched responses. Kirsten does make a good ethical argument for why you shouldn't insist on public access if you don't NEED it, but I am still feeling a little confused about the legal precedent here. Court case citations would be rad if anyone has some.

Relevant to the original post, the outcome of Storms v. Fred Meyer Stores, Inc. might be worth looking into. :smile: