Our trainer, Taylor, in Austin, is working with Meghan and her SDIT, Precious. Meghan suffers from PTSD, severe anxiety/depression, and fibromyalgia.
“Most nights when I sleep, I have severe nightmares and wake up every few hours. The anxiety from the PTSD, nightmares, flashbacks causes severe panic attacks. The anxiety leads to depression which makes leaving the house difficult. At times, the fibromyalgia leaves me exhausted, affecting my ability to stand and my general ability to function or concentrate. I’ll collapse or have to sit down wherever I’m at. My speech can even become slurred. I also am in constant pain. I am disabled and have a part time job but only work 16 hours (4 hours days) due to a doctor recommendation. This at times leaves me with little or no energy. My psychiatrist recommended that a Service Dog might help me with panic attacks, PTSD, and even the depression. Recently even my physician suggested a Service Dog for both my PTSD (panic attacks) and fibromyalgia.
A Service Dog would be a constant companion I could rely on. Helping me realize when the PTSD is causing me to hallucinate and have flashbacks. My companion would help me focus my thoughts in these moments. He would also help me to keep from becoming overwhelmed by my surroundings. A companion will be able to give more of confidence when I step out because he would be able to notify me if I am having a panic attack or starting to disassociate with my surroundings forcing me to focus on him instead of my fear. He would also allow me to exercise and function better outside of the house. Part of my fear is if I become tired or have a fibro spell I will have no help. Most days I will not leave without my boyfriend. A Service Dog could also help for when the fibromyalgia leaves me with no energy and I start to collapse, by giving me someone to lean on physically and emotionally. I have also heard that they can help comfort you when the PTSD causes nightmares and can help with the nightmares. This would be wonderful, as I sleep very little especially at one time. I wake up some nights and am even afraid to go to the bathroom or I lay awake afraid to go to sleep. Having someone there to remind me what is and isn’t real, that will stand by my side will be an immense relief. He would help me function better when I go out and perform daily activities.
What an amazing amount of insight Meghan has about Service Dogs and how they can help!
“After a long hiatus from training with this pair, I had a session with Meghan and Precious a couple days ago. We met at a Target. I have to say I am super impressed with the work/training that Meghan has done with Precious. He heels perfect by her side, inside and outside in public.
We worked all the behaviors that are expected from the Public Access Test inside Target. We went by the produce and meat section to work on Precious not lunging towards the smells, he did awesome!
We also worked on “down/stays” and “sit/stays” while Meghan walked away from Precious, while I walked by and while a random stranger walked by as well. Precious held his position every time!
At our second session, I met with Meghan and Precious at Barnes and Noble. She wanted to meet there to work on the elevator. Precious did great the first time we got on the elevator, but then the second time, he got very nervous. So now we have to start from the beginning by desensitizing him to the elevator.
His “down/stays” and “sit/stays” were still very good along with all the basic commands, and Precious stays in heel position very well once Meghan drops the leash by his side. We also spent some time sitting in the cafe, seeing how he settles while people walk by him. He definitely needs more work on not getting up to smell or greet people!
Precious started getting a little whiny halfway through the session, so I gave Meghan some tips on how to watch his threshold and try to get him outside before he starts whining and not allow him to rehearse that behavior.
Overall, it was a great session; Precious just needs more work on the elevator and increasing his threshold of being in public for longer periods of time.”