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I Was Denied a Service Dog Because of My Mental Illness

I have a psychiatric and medical alert/response service dog who has helped me with tasks that I’m unable to do alone. My service dog is 11 years old and has arthritis in his hips and shoulders, he is on pain medications, and he has stopped wanting to work in public. So I took his lead, and retired him from public access work.

My health has declined since I trained him in 2013-2015, and I realize that I don’t have the energy it takes to train another dog on my own, but I definitely need a service dog to maintain my independence.

How a service dog has helped me.

He nudged me in public every few minutes to keep me grounded, he lay across my chest and lap to help with panic attacks, he guided me to safety if I dissociated out in public, and he stood in lines behind me to make space between me and the person behind me, creating a safer environment. I also have a bunch of medical conditions and he did other tasks for me around those illnesses, like getting help, picking up dropped items, interrupting self destructive behaviors like binging and purging food.

He is happy staying home now since I am mostly home, but he is comfortable staying at my condo alone too. He still will perform tasks at home on his own accord, and he is happy, healthy, and oh so loved.

When I applied to a new service dog program.

I applied to a service dog program that trains a dog for you, and you pay a lot of money for that dog. It seemed like the only option since I would fail a puppy at this point since I don’t have the energy to potty train and socialize the dog properly. Training would be super slow, and I might give up altogether. I was hopeful that paying for a program service dog would achieve my goal without wearing me down.

I filled out an

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