The life of most celebrities comes with many benefits and equally negative drawbacks. Having little control of when you can and cannot have privacy and people talking about you seemingly nonstop can be a lot of pressure. If this pressure extends itself into a mental health condition or crisis, psychiatric service dogs can be a helpful tool for working towards recovery or managing your symptoms.
Some famous people have also adopted animals to help cope with everyday life struggles and the stresses of being famous. Maybe you'll recognize some of the names below.
What Is A Psychiatric Service Dog?
A psychiatric service dog is a service animal covered by the American Disabilities Act (ADA) and trained to help people with mental health conditions like major depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
These dogs train to perform specific tasks related to their handler's disability. For example, a psychiatric service dog who has a handler with PTSD may prepare to recognize when they are about to have an anxiety attack and get them to a safe place. These dogs offer more than emotional support, as you would see from an emotional support animal.
There aren't a lot of studies about people who use psychiatric service dogs, but there are a few good research articles that give a breakdown of some of the stats related to owners of PSD.
How To Get A Psychiatric Service Dog
Now you know what a psychiatric service dog does and its role in supporting someone, but do you know how you get a psychiatric service dog? Keep reading for a step-by-step guide on how to get your PSD.
Decide If You Need A Psychiatric Service Dog.
If you haven't already, you need to speak with a mental health professional about your disability. If you haven't received a diagnosis, it would be helpful for you to see someone for a diagnosis to make the process easier.
You will need a licensed letter because you can't petition for a psychiatric service dog on your own. You have to have specific recommendations from a licensed mental health professional before you can have a service animal protected by law.
Speak with a Licensed Mental health professional
For your service animal to be recognized legally as a psychiatric service dog, you have to have a formal letter from a mental health professional declaring that you have a condition that requires a service dog in your daily life.
Having this documentation is crucial to get the full benefits of having a psychiatric service dog, especially regarding housing.
This professional can be a therapist or a psychiatrist, but they have to provide you with the letter. For this letter to be deemed legitimate, The letter must include three things:
- The name of the individual who is being cared for by the professional
- A clear statement that the named individual has an emotional or psychiatric disability
- A recommendation by your mental health professional citing your need to be assisted by a psychiatric service dog with the disability
The letter will not include the specific condition you are dealing with in the letter. Just make sure that the information provided declares you as someone who requires an emotional support animal.
If you think you'll need help getting a letter, resources can help you.
Adopt and Train a Dog
Now that you have your letter, you're all set! The next thing you have to do is find your service animal. Because the ADA only allows dogs to serve as service animals, you have to adopt a dog. You should also be aware of any state or local laws that limit the breeds you can have as a service dog.
As far as training is concerned, the ADA allows handlers to train their service animals themselves, but some organizations can assist you if you need help.
Which famous people have psychiatric service dogs?
As you can probably imagine, there are a lot of celebrities who cite their pets as a source of comfort when they feel overwhelmed. However, the number of famous people who speak openly about having a psychiatric service dog is slim.
But, a handful has shown off the animals that get them through the day.
After a softball incident that left Lynch with a permanent stutter, he decided that he would still pursue a career as an entertainer. He has found great success in the following years since the incident, going as far as appearing on America's Got Talent and becoming a stand-up comedian.
One of the people he credits with helping him find the positive in the negative? His service dog Stella. You can find adorable videos of her on his social media. Still, her main job is sensing when Lynch may be anxious or panicked and helping him deal with the emotions or leave overwhelming situations if needed.
George H. W. Bush
In the last six months of his life, this former president relied heavily on their service dog, Sully the Yellow Lab. Although Bush likely got immense comfort from having Sully around, Sully trained to perform tasks like opening doors and retrieving objects.
The last support dog on our list is George, whose handler was Ryan Gosling. George traveled with Gosling everywhere, including flights and tv appearances. Unfortunately, George has passed, but Gosling keeps his memory alive by wearing his dog tags as a necklace.
Can Psychiatric Service Dogs Travel On Airplanes?
Psychiatric dogs can travel in-cabin with you when you need to travel by plane. The ADA protects the presence of all service animals in public spaces, including airplanes.
Though you should not run into any issues when boarding, it is essential to have all the paperwork related to your service dog in order just in case you run into any problems.