So Very Confusing - SD/PSD/ESA - Vent - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-05-2011, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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So Very Confusing - SD/PSD/ESA - Vent

Just a bit of a vent.

I've noticed recently that people more and more seem to use the terms Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, and Emotional Support Dogs as if they are completely interchangeable - including people and organizations that train and support Dog/Handler teams. It's really very frustrating.

I notice this specifically when it comes to Psychiatric Service Dogs, as if there is no line between what an actual Service Dog is and what an Emotional Support Dog is.

Even in the website for the Psychiatric Service Dog Society, the lines seem to be blurred - their task listing for PTSD Service Dogs includes tasks that aren't tasks at all - like facilitating interpersonal communication or getting the handler out for walks. They're not Service Dog tasks, any pet and any ESA can and does do them. Even more confusing, their list of article and information links on the same site links to at least one article about Therapy Dogs, which have nothing at all to do with Service Dogs.

Then I just happened across this article --> 'Battle Buddies' Organization Brings Together Service Pets and Vets -- Zootoo Pet News which just confuses me more. Both the article and the website. Neither say what the dogs actually do, what kind of tasks they do. But in the video on the website, the trainer talks about how the dog "gets him out of bed to do stuff, because he has to care for the dog." No mention of tasks anywhere, nothing.

The website event says,

Quote:
More and more Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans are being written prescriptions for Service Animals to help combat related PTSD. Service Animals can help alleviate stress, loneliness, anxiety, the feeling of a vulnerable back. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that owning a Service Animal can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and feelings of loneliness; they also increase your desire for exercise, outdoor activity, and opportunity for socialization.
So even I don't know whether they are actually Service Dogs (trained to do specific tasks on command or cue) or whether they're ESA's.

I do see a lot of doctors who recommend "Service Dogs" when they really mean PETS / Emotional Support Animals because they really don't know what the difference is. And when I see someone who claims their dog is a Therapy Dog / Emotional Support Dog / Service Dog, I often wonder if the dog actually is any of those or whether the owner has any idea at all what the differences are and that only Service Dogs have public access.

I also see that there's a huge push to get "Service Dogs" to vets - even if the person does not qualify as legally disabled. Our local Purple Heart Society has a flier up for an organization that helps soldiers "diagnosed with PTSD" to train their own dog as a Service Dog. Just because you are diagnosed with PTSD does not mean you're legally disabled and NEED a Service Dog.



Just makes me annoyed that so many health professionals and organizations seem so ignorant as to what a Service Dog is, because I think it makes it so much harder on real Service Dog/Handler teams to go out in public. If you have tons of teams that are not really Service Dog/Handler teams and don't train to any kind of standards of behavior or public access, it makes things harder for people who really need their dogs to help them do specific tasks, not just help them "feel better".

End rant.

Malinois Ronja - fastest K-9 in VT
=^^= Finn, Ratchet & Ollie

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-05-2011, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by AbbyK9 View Post
Just a bit of a vent.

I've noticed recently that people more and more seem to use the terms Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, and Emotional Support Dogs as if they are completely interchangeable ... it makes things harder for people who really need their dogs to help them do specific tasks, not just help them "feel better".

End rant.


TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-05-2011, 10:59 PM
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Per ADA/DOJ:

(ADARA) ADA Restoration Act - Service Dog
“Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler´s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal´s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.”


Quotes Per Service Dog Central:

Service dogs are individually trained to perform tasks that mitigate the disability of their owner. There are many types of service dogs and many different types of tasks that might be performed, based on the disability of the individual owner, their abilities and limitations, and their specific needs.

An Emotional Support Animal is a dog or other common domestic animal that provides theraputic support to a disabled or elderly owner through companionship, non-judgmental positive regard, affection, and a focus in life. If a doctor determines that a patient with a disabling mental illness would benefit from the companionship of an emotional support animal, the doctor write letters supporting a request by the patient to keep the ESA in "no pets" housing or to travel with the ESA in the cabin of an aircraft.

A therapy dog is an individual's pet which has been trained, tested, registered and insured to work in hospital, nursing home, school, and other institutional settings. The therapy dog and his partner visit to cheer patients, to educate the community, to counter grief and stress, and generally be good canine ambassadors within the community. ... Therapy dogs are not service dogs.


Quote Per Delta Society:

Therapy animals and their handlers are trained to provide specific human populations with appropriate contact with animals. They are usually the personal pets of the handlers and accompany their handlers to the sites they visit, but therapy animals may also reside at a facility. Animals must meet specific criteria for health, grooming and behavior. While managed by their handlers, their work is not handler-focused and instead provides benefits to others.

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
Pyro vom Wildhaus aka Kaleb ~S.T.A.R.~
Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog


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Last edited by ILGHAUS; 09-05-2011 at 11:02 PM.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-05-2011, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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TJ - I tried writing up a list of definitions of the many different types of dogs and some of the things they do for my blog. Could you have a look and see if I should add or change any of it?

Definitions Dogs for Defense K-9

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-05-2011, 11:35 PM
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Thanks for sharing the link and article. I will for sure read through it all and get back to you - the little that I had time to glace over looked very informative and instructional.

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
Pyro vom Wildhaus aka Kaleb ~S.T.A.R.~
Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 12:46 PM
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I am worried that the attempts to give a dog to every PTSD veteran will bring back the stereotype of the Rambo-type crazed vet that can go mad at any time. Just add a mad dog defending the vet.

It could also present a bad image for SDs as people who misunderstood what is expected of a SD bring poorly trained dogs into public situations.

There are times when a SD would be of value for someone with PTSD, but it is not right for all cases. The idea of pushing a dog on someone who is not disabled might even cause problems by convincing the person that they have more problems than they had before they had the dog pushed on them.

I would like to be as good as my dogs think I am.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 12:51 PM
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I've seen people putting on all kinds of vests to take dogs places they should not be allowed. It's really sad and hurts legitimate service dogs.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-08-2011, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
I also see that there's a huge push to get "Service Dogs" to vets - even if the person does not qualify as legally disabled. Our local Purple Heart Society has a flier up for an organization that helps soldiers "diagnosed with PTSD" to train their own dog as a Service Dog. Just because you are diagnosed with PTSD does not mean you're legally disabled and NEED a Service Dog.
Soldier + PTSD usually equals out to a documented service connected disability rating, so actually they ARE legally disabled regardless of whether they want a dog or not. It's really not up to anybody else to decide if they are disabled "enough" to get a service dog.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 06:35 AM
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Soldier + PTSD usually equals out to a documented service connected disability rating, so actually they ARE legally disabled regardless of whether they want a dog or not. It's really not up to anybody else to decide if they are disabled "enough" to get a service dog.
I have several service connected disabilities ranging from PTSD to only having one kidney. I do not need a service dog. Just because I have some disabilities does not mean that I should have a service dog. I admit that there is legitimate need for a service dog for many folks with PTSD but when organizations are pushing for every person with disabilities to have a service dog it is encouraging abuse of the system and increasing the potential for problems with improperly trained service dogs.

I would like to be as good as my dogs think I am.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
It's really not up to anybody else to decide if they are disabled "enough" to get a service dog.
No, this is incorrect. In order for someone to qualify for a Service Dog, they must meet the American with Disabilities Act's (ADA) definition of being legally disabled. The ADA defines a disability as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities".

It is absolutely possible for a person to have a disability rating through from the military or from the VA and *not* qualify as being legally disabled if the impairment or disability does NOT *substantially* limit one or more *major life activities*.

Beyond that, I second what kiwilrdg pointed out -

Quote:
Just because I have some disabilities does not mean that I should have a service dog. I admit that there is legitimate need for a service dog for many folks with PTSD but when organizations are pushing for every person with disabilities to have a service dog it is encouraging abuse of the system and increasing the potential for problems with improperly trained service dogs.

Malinois Ronja - fastest K-9 in VT
=^^= Finn, Ratchet & Ollie

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