Invisible disabilities and Service Dogs (AKA My PTSD Dog and Me)
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:
I don't know what I'd do without her - she makes my life so much more liveable.