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Invisible disabilities and Service Dogs (AKA My PTSD Dog and Me)

LostClown's picture

This post is brought to you by the anxiety attack that the Super PTSD dog Sadie interrupted last night.

I know I haven't been on in awhile, but that's due to overwhelming health and stress issues that I've been dealing with, but all that has gotten so much better thanks to my darling Sadie dog. The difference is night and day and both my therapist and psychiatrist have noticed the difference.

So I am obviously still training my dog, but her medical training is all complete. She does amazing things for me (listed below), now if only I could get her to do the "little" things. LOL. She's a perfect example of a service dog, walking with me, sitting next to me, doing her medical duties, etc. But when not wearing her vest she doesn't always listen. *sigh* We're working on that.

I felt as though I should share her story with you as I love sharing her story. From scared abused dog who had to be carried into the yard to go to the bathroom to dog who walks proudly around campus when she has her vest on (without her vest I doubt she would).

She is a 3 year old abuse rescue American Pit Bull Terrier. Because she has PTSD and her momma has PTSD we got her a patch for her vest that says "PTSD DOG." :D Surprisingly I don't mind telling people that yes I do have PTSD, but I do get persnickity when they ask me how I got it. The patch on top of her back says "Service dog access required."

I originally just rescued her because I knew what an abused dog needed and I love pitties. But when she interrupted my first anxiety attack I knew that she may be able to help me in other ways with my PTSD/Bipolar/Depression. Here's what she did during my first and subsequent anxiety attacks: if I'm sitting or lying down she'll put her paws on my chest and paw at me until I make eye contact with her and start interacting with her. This brings me back to the present and out of whatever hell hole of the past I am stuck in. If I'm standing she paws at my legs and stands on her hind legs leaning on me (which she has been trained not to do) until again I start to interact with her - not just brush her off, but really solidly connect and interact with her. She knows when I'm about to have an anxiety attack (I don't know how, but she does) and she knows when I'm just going through the motions of interacting with her and when I'm really connecting with her and being pulled out of my head.

Since I realised she could do this, she has been taught to bark when it's time to take my meds, she nudges me in bed in the morning when my alarm goes off to get me to get out of bed at least to walk her which usually prevents me from staying in bed all day, and she comes out with me in public (we're still working on socialisation - that part takes about 6 months and she's strides ahead of where an abused dog should be, I've only had her since August). I feel like I can go so many more places now - I'm not scared to go out in public.

I ***HIGHLY*** recommend a service dog for people with PTSD. Here's a story of a PTSD dog. Let's just say I see my Sadie in there.

P.S. We went to the American Bully Kennel Club show on January 29th in Tampa. It was so fun being around all those pit bulls and pit bull lovers! Plus SADIE WON 1ST PLACE FOR BEST RESCUE:

1st place winner!

I don't know what I'd do without her - she makes my life so much more liveable.

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LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

I love sharing it and I thought I could hit more people by posting it here (and at my blog, but it's been inactive for months upon months). And isn't she purdy?

Submitted by lambert on

I sent a shout-out because I saw your name in comments, but hadn't realized you posted!

Not sure what effect PTSD has on your posting; I know I can get pretty combative [chorus of readers: No! You're kidding! We never noticed!]. However, if you're looking of serenity and beauty (in its many forms) try Plantidotes of the Day....

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

causes me to fall off the grid, so no posting from me during it, hence my long absence. I can't be arsed to talk about anything political or emotionally charged at all because I have no spoons to waste on anything like that because all my spoons are gone. Y'know?

Submitted by lambert on

That's why I suggested planitodes; maybe flowers and vegetables are emotionally charged but only in a good way. Yes, the spoons link is good; I've been lucky.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

I just read about that a few months ago and it's a mind-set that's really helped me cope with my stubborn anemia.
I loved reading about your lovely Sadie and I am so glad you have each other!

ETA: btw CONGRATS to Sadie for her win! You must be one proud momma!

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

And I have been talking in spoons since it hit the blogosphere years ago. Isn't it a great analogy?

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

in at least 2 ways. One is that I tend to berate myself when I don't have the energy to do what I plan, and it helps me to realize, well, I just ran out of spoons today. And the 2nd way is that it helps me prioritize where the spoons go.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

And a beautiful one, too! Smooches to you, Sadie!

What a great story -- I didn't know pit bulls were being trained as service dogs. So many people overreact to even the mention of them, even though they're the smartest, sweetest, funniest dogs I've ever been around. My Smudge (pittie plus border collie) is 10 years old and still thinks she's a pup.


A therapy dog she'll never be, but a super wonderful playmate, yes!

Submitted by hipparchia on

i'm a fan! they're wonderful dogs.

... and she's strides ahead of where an abused dog should be ...

pit bulls have probably one of the best, most stable, most resilient natures of just about any breed of dog. check out thier record at the american temperament test society, for instance.

But when not wearing her vest she doesn't always listen.

not wearing their vest [harness, coat, etc] is when service dogs are off work, and just like people, they like to be able to kick back and relax. it's not an excuse for them to discard their basic good manners of course, but the down time is important. i took dog training lessons from a service [hearing] dog trainer, and i knew this, but when i later met my [blind] cousin's guide dog, i found it was all too easy to forget that he was one dog in harness, and a different dog out of harness.

good to see you again! and i love your last photo, those big, whole-face kisses are what i remember most about working with pit bulls.

i noticed the 'stop bsl' tag you added, and since this is one of my pet issues [i'm also a big fan of chow chows] i'm providing a link for those who don't know what this is:

Stop BSL

Submitted by lambert on

.... the same intellectual flaw as racism:

BSL requires each and every dog to be identified as a breed—something that has proven impossible to do accurately and objectively.

Because breed, like race, is a false category?

Submitted by hipparchia on

'breed', that is. so it's somewhat but not directly comparable.

humans have deliberately bred dogs for both physical and psychological characteristics, somethimes very specific characteristics. most dogs in america nowadays are pets, not working dogs, so yes, breed distinctions -- other than looks -- are becoming more artificial. there are a number of working-dog personality traits that don't make for good pet-dog personalities.

the great pyrenees is one of my favorite examples of this. they're huge [100-150 lbs, think st bernard, only solid white] and and in modern-day america, they're good family dogs, good with kids, w2ell behaved around other dogs [and cats too], fairly friendly with strangers. but 100 years ago, they were almost exclusively livestock guardians, and had to be extrememly suspicious and intolerant of all strangers, human and animal.

Submitted by lambert on

Makes perfect sense, as soon as I recall my Darwin.

Submitted by gob on

I don't suppose anyone would fund it, but I'd love to see a study on reports of dog attacks -- my guess is that any dog that is vaguely like a pit in appearance will be labeled as a pit if it bites someone. Fashions change -- at one time, I read recently, it was German shepherds who took the rap.

James Thurber (to whom I have a love-hate relationship) wrote a beautiful, funny memoir of his childhood pet "bull terrier" -- if not a pit bull, a close relative -- called "Snapshot of a Dog". Four pages of pure pleasure. Still under copyright, but if you subscribe to The New Yorker, it's online for you.

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

In TX there's a thing called Justin's Law trying to ban all Pits even though poor 4 yo Justin was attacked and killed by registered, certified Bull Dogs.

Submitted by PA_Lady on

and I'm so glad that you and Sadie have been there for each other. Her eyes are incredible -- so expressive! Congrats to her on her win!

I always enjoy hearing stories about rescued pit bulls (or any dog, in general) finding new homes and better lives. (If you haven't seen it, The Dogs are Alright segment of PBS's Need To Know is great. It's a look at what happened to Michael Vick's dogs, and the new lives many of them are leading.)

My oldest son's sweetheart is Tank, a beautiful blue-brindle pit who is the sweetest, most gentle, and most loving animal I've ever known. Thanks to him, I went from being one of those "pitbulls = teh evil" types to fighting against their undeserved reputation.

Submitted by hipparchia on

thanks for that link. i get email updates from the best friends sanctuary on their dogs, but hadn't heard some of these other stories.

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

But I have a radio show on up and coming Canadian music that is the highlight of my week that airs from 1300-1500 EST on Saturdays and you can listen live online here.

Just in case you wanted to know what us Canucks are listening to - even in South Kackalacky. ;)

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

if you entered it as an Upcoming Event on the sidebar! The rapture seems so far away, and it's the second on the list.

Plus you can always just do your own blog post on it, otherwise it might get lost in comments.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i was just about to say the same thing -- make it into its own post AND post it as an event.

Submitted by lambert on

Point on mechanics:

An event IS a post, with comments and everything, just with the extra fields for date and time that allow it show up in the Calendar.

However, by default events are not front paged (I have been hoping there would be so many of them....) so before Saving your event, go down to Publishing Options, click to open it, and check promoted to front page. And if any of this doesn't work, mail me.

However, I REALLY welcome this because radio is great and Corrente should have its own radio show. Ackroyd is all very well, but it's not really an "If you have no place to go..." thing there.

NOTE Hey, Canadians! What's with the round bacon? I know, stupid humor...

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

Ooops - next week I'll do what you said. I did both b/c I did the post first and created the event second. Oh well - live and learn.