I am sad and a little disheartened to tell you that though Copper is well, he is now a retired psychiatric service dog and neither of my other dogs are sutible candidates to train to take his place by my side.
Copper has arthritis in his back legs and is moving more slowly these days. He is receiving everything he needs of course, but I didn’t feel comfortable to make him continue working.
For the past few months I have been researching for places that train or help train Psychiatric Service Dogs. For once, my internet research skills are failing me. Normally, I can find everything I want and then some.
Maybe some of you know more than I do in this area. If you don’t want to self-train your dog, where did you find him/her? Who trained, or helped you train him to fit your needs? I’d love to be able to talk to you and find out more, if you don’t mind.
I feel trapped in my home without his strength by my side. My counselor says that someday I will be able to find the strength within myself. I hope that is so, however since I am not there yet, I desperately feel the need to fill his spot by my side.
For those non-disabled among us, a service dog becomes an extension of ourselves. We count on them to perform their tasks with little or no direction. We gain a sense of self confidence and independence depending on our dog. We do become dependent on our dog but it is so much more freeing than relying on friends, family, or hired assistants to help us. Loosing a service dog is like loosing a limb. A part of you is missing. No medical doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist can give you that part back. It is unsettling and difficult to adapt.