Studies have proven in recent times that therapy dogs and other Assistance animals provide significant relief for people with different conditions, anxiety, and depression, the most common one amongst them. If you are in this predicament or ever find yourself in one, here’s everything you need to know about how to get a therapy dog for depression and all of what it entails, including how it can help you and what it would cost.
Depression is Usually a Mental Illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act; it causes feelings of sadness and or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.
But fortunately, it can also be easily treated, through medication and sometimes Therapy and that is where Therapy dogs Come in, they are usually Calm, Caring, affectionate and loving Beings that are used to cheer up people suffering from any kind of ailment including depression, these dogs go through a severe routine of Adequate testing to ensure their compatibility with the task, you’d mostly see them in schools, hospitals, hospices, psychiatric homes e.t.c and they also cater to victims of Dementia, Alzheimer, and Schizophrenia, there is a significant distinction between Therapy dogs, Emotional support dogs and Service dogs, but they are all useful to individuals during depression, depending on the severity of your condition.
In most cases, not every Depressive condition can Qualify for a Service Dog, as they would first have to qualify as a disability, but Therapy dogs are readily obtainable because they cater to mild cases.
When Does Depression or Anxiety Qualify as a “Disability”?
It’s essential to understand your situation and know whether you’ll qualify to get a service dog for anxiety or depression, not everyone one may need the help of therapy dogs to mitigate the symptoms, some may require way more than that.
When is anxiety or depression considered disabling?
The official definition for this, according to the ADA is that; Disabling illness is one which can physically or psychiatrically limit one or more major life activities, such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing, learning, etc., If these illnesses do not limit one or more life activities, you do not qualify for a Service Dog animal.
However, someone who experiences mild levels of anxiety, for instance; having an increased level of worry about what other people might be thinking about you while being out, is not considered to be a disability.
This does not, however, mean, that a Service dog would not provide soothing or adequate comfort to a person with mild anxiety – they probably would; however, in such cases, a Therapy dog is often considered to be sufficient enough, but it is also important to know the different types of therapy dogs available which includes ;
Therapeutic Visitation Dogs: These are household dog pets that are bred, trained and taken to rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and clinics, hospitals, house for mentally disabled persons e.t.c and other locations, they’re aim is to provide comfort, joy, peace, happiness, companionship, and love for people living away from home due to mental or physical illnesses.
Dogs Assisted Therapy Dog’s: These Dog usually works with physical and occupational therapists in a rehabilitation center; they aim to provide assistance in any way possible to individuals in meeting their recovery goals.
Facility Therapy Dog’s: Now, these Dogs are stationed in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. They work and assist residents that have mental conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia, schizophrenia, or other mental illness out there.
How Does a Therapy Dog Aid in Relieving Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression?
Therapy dogs used for these mental conditions are becoming increasingly popular, and there are many great success stories. There are several ways that a Therapy dog can aid in relieving the symptoms of anxiety or depression in people, which includes;
• Engaging with the individual
• Providing moments of happiness
• Leaning over an anxious individual to provide physical comfort during anxiety attacks.
• Detecting attacks before they come to light
• Reminding severely depressed individuals to take medication.
• Bringing a phone to call for help or using suitable phone devices to call for help during a crisis.
• Caressing or cuddling up on the bed with the individual to provide moments of care, love, and comfort.
How Do you Get a Therapy Dog For Depression?
The process is a very simple and straightforward one because most therapy dogs are usually offered to hospitals, hospices, psychiatric institutions, rehabilitation, and therapy centers, T.D.I., e.t.c.
If you have depression and often find yourself in these places, then it’s best you request that a therapy dog be provided for you, to ease you through the process, there is no fee or cost attached to getting a therapy dog as they are usually offered voluntarily by the dog owners.