Psychiatric service dog tasks vary to mitigate specific disability needs. Here are a few examples:
Deep Pressure Therapy
Prevent or recover from panic attacks.
Licking or pawing can ground handler in extreme distress.
Creates more space for their handler.
Interruption of Self Harming
Licking, pawing, or barking.
Guide Work and Mobility
Helps with disassociating, during panic attacks, and when disoriented.
A Psychiatric Service Dog is specifically trained to assist their handler with a disability as defined by the ADA such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. An exceptional psychiatric service dog is individually trained to do work and perform tasks that mitigate their handler’s disability.
The Exceptional Sidekick (TESSD) provides psychiatric service dogs to support disabled teens and young adults, empowering young handlers to complete their education and live independently. You must be in therapy for a minimum of one year and believe a service dog could drastically improve your life, to apply. Service dogs are provided at no cost for ages 12-22 that reside in Newtown, and to others within Connecticut able to make a donation or willing to fundraise half the cost of raising and training the dog.
The Exceptional Sidekick does not train balance dogs, seizure alert dogs, or guide dogs for the blind. We are only accepting applications for Psychiatric Service Dogs at this time. Once those needs are met we will accept applications for other disabilities.