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Thread: Mental health assistance dog

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Mental health assistance dog

    I have a work colleague whose wife suffers from debilitating anxiety. He's had to take nearly a year leave without pay so far to care for her and their kids full time.

    He mentioned once that he'd looked into getting an assistance dog for her, but the waiting lists for getting one through not for profit orgs are years long and to buy one from a private organisation costs about $30,000 apparently.

    He visited last week and asked me about getting a dog "to just keep her company" by which I think he meant an emotional support dog.

    I'd love to help this family somehow. They've been doing it tough.

    I think he might be able to participate in ongoing training with the dog, but would need a lot of support and starting from scratch may just be a bit too much? I think this is what Mind Dog does? But they have way more applications than they can manage anyway too.

    I'm just after some ideas on what could be done to help these people to get a dog that will make their life easier. An emotional support dog at the very least. Because of the nature of her condition and the fact that they also have 2 kids diagnosed with autism, I think only a dog that already has basic training would be suitable.

    But ideally, they need a task trained dog with a public access certificate.

    I think a crowdfunding campaign could work because it could be promoted through our work network and we're a pretty large organisation. But $30,000 seems a tad too ambitious. $10,000 could be achievable?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia


    There are cheaper ways of obtaining a assistance dog. But you and dog get trained together. Far cheaper. However i cant see this working if you need a house mannered dog from the off.
    From a clinician point of view...
    Having a dog is classified as a safety behaviour. Practising safety behaviours perpetuates the anxiety disorder.
    So bad news if you want a cure. But if you want to manage the anxiety - fine.
    How about application for National Disability Insursnce Scheme (NDIS) to fund it?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Southern NSW


    I was involved with Diggers and I found the training of the dogs quite easy.... but the ability to support the people was beyond me and I told them that without support of a psychologist I was unable to continue.... It is heavy duty, especially with the extended issue of two kids with Autism....It is also quite hard on the dogs and you need special dogs that are calm and unfazed. I am currently involved with a Family that have two autistic kids. The mother has turned into an amazing Dog trainer and support the dog... The dog was a special dog that we found with the help of some people involved with Golden Rescue in the past. If you have a lot of energy and a lot of time and some good support try it. But I found it extremely difficult and stressful, especially the Diggers. I think I think too much of the "what could happen" scenario... You would be better off, if you were just a bit more casual.
    Pets are forever

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