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Service Animals & Emotional Support Pets

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Your Rights

Service Animals in Housing


Federal legal resources



Service Dog Tasks for Psychiatric Disabilities



Assistance Dog Institute

Get your degree and a career in Assistance Dog education



Psychiatric Service Animals


Brain Disorder Service Animals


Invisible Disabilities


Emotional Support Animals


Service Animal Organizations

Diabetes and Seizure Alert Service Dogs

All Purpose Canines - training and placement, includes Autism


Access Now, Inc.

A 501©3 not-for-profit organization in Florida which offers legal assistance to PWDs being discriminated against (even if you don't live in Florida).



Assistance Dogs International (ADI)

The leadership of this organization is anti-PSD. However, this site contains a sample public access test which may be of interest, and lots of links.



Delta Society

This site contains good, plain-english articles on SA laws, a handy law card, and *lots* of good links.



International Association of Assistance Dog Partners

Site contains a list of PSD tasks, good legal articles, and *lots* of useful links.



Marilyn Pona

Very active trainer and advocate. She got the service animal stickers put on the doors to the St. Louis airport. She trains PSD teams and for other brain disorders.



National Service Dog Center

A project of the Delta Society.



Service Dogs Today

Education and advocacy organisation in Missouri



The Assistance Dog Institute (TADI)

This organization refuses access by SD teams to their courses, but they have several good legal references which are difficult to find elsewhere.



Top Dog

This organization is a training program. They authored two books on training service dogs by disabled handlers, called 'Teamwork I' and 'Teamwork II'.


Diabetes and Seizure Alert Service Dogs



How to Lobby and get a bill passed for service animals (written for Montana but good anywhere)


Advanced Lobbying


Lobbying for Canadians



Hug a Dog Harness and mess capes for warm weather




Please add to these as you find more. I need some for cats, etc!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have real problems with being alone, and my depression is getting worse. I'm considering getting a tiny dog to take with me when I have to go places, so I will have some kind of comfort with me.  I just looked at some peke-poms that were like total little fuzz balls and tomorrow i'm going to see some pom-chihuahas...I hope it helps

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  • 5 weeks later...

Thanks for posting all those links!  I felt really smart, coming to this forum to offer a link to the Psychiatric Service Dog Society, but you stole my thunder. ;)

Here it is, anyway ... http://www.psychdog.org/index.html

I have a dog I've been training for about a year, and I've been taking him out 'in public' for about 7 months now.  He still has a way to go in his training, but he's totally revolutionized my life.  I was pretty well housebound with agoraphobia and panic; now the simple fact of having him at my side enables me to go to restaurants, to church, ride the bus, etc.

Getting a service dog is definitely a major commitment, with all kinds of social and legalistic implications I hadn't thought about till I was already there.  It's a lifestyle.  But if you're willing to jump through some hoops, and answer a lot of dumb questions from curious onlookers (so, duh, are you like blind?) it can be a true lifesaver.

PS - Another thing to consider with psych service dogs is that because it's such a new field, a lot of community discussions about defining it are still going on.  Not all of them are pretty.  I'd especially caution anyone approaching Assistance Dogs Int'l for info; they're so anti-psych that all their published materials attempt to rewrite ADA and state laws to specify 'physical disability' in all their published materials.  Even though very few of those laws exclude psych disabilities in reality.  It's a shame that the MI stigma pervades the disability community, but there you have it.  Don't let it scare you off; just take any exclusionary messages you get with a grain of salt.

Good luck.

Edited by screamingflea
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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 years later...

This whole thread made me cry my eyes out. In the past year and a half three of my pets have died, one of them died two weeks ago today. I have a cute little dog with congestive heart failure so I'm dreading what is to come, but thankfully after death #2 last year *your preferred deity* sent a little starving kitten my way who now is more important to me than almost anything else in life... But I've been depressed this whole time (a family friend died of cancer in December, 10 days before his 17th birthday and that fucked me up too) and my pdoc says I am "BPD squared" so I've got bipolar and borderline but lithium isn't doing shit anymore, my liver enzymes are elevated, I'm abusing adderall so I can have some confidence in public (but it doesn't work because I seem manic and I know I'm being annoying when I can't stop talking, also the now ex took it away because I was being such a psycho about it) and I'm quitting my job today and I got dumped last night and pdoc is in Canada until the 28th and this is the first time I've understood why suicide happens. I won't do it, it used to be because of my younger siblings but now it's mostly because of my cat ;)

The point is, animals are a double-edged sword for some of us (or just me). I wouldn't even want to exist without them, but losing them is devastating. I would have more if I could afford them. I hope to start an animal rescue post-college (and post-grad school for non-profit management), and wouldn't it be nice to be able to provide crazy people like myself with a fuzzy little companion to help them through the dark times...

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  • 3 years later...

Nugget has changed my life, if not saved it.

I'm happy to discuss my personal experiences getting and working with a service dog for psych stuff.

Just shoot me a PM.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 3 weeks later...

My pdoc has a service dog--for himself, not for his patients.  I'm not clear as to what type of service dog she is (psych-related or otherwise) but she has her very own mental hospital employee photo ID around her neck.  It makes me trust my pdoc even more than I already did.  How can you argue with a cute dog?

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That's cool, shesells...


I'm in a similar position. My career is in the MH field. I also use my service dog as a therapy dog, and it seems she is just made for this work of helping humans with their emotions.

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  • 2 years later...

You can have a cat as an emotional support animal, but not as a service animal. Changes in the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2010 specifically codified dogs as the only service animals with public access rights, with a specific exception for miniature horses.

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  • 11 months later...
  • 1 year later...
On 9/3/2016 at 8:58 AM, Wooster said:

You can have a cat as an emotional support animal, but not as a service animal. Changes in the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2010 specifically codified dogs as the only service animals with public access rights, with a specific exception for miniature horses.

My county recognized my cat as a pet therapy animal, so that my monthly and security deposit was waived. I filled out a Reasonable Accommodation Request and it was approved. 


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