Don’t We All?

ABC is running this story as a teaser for tonight’s Ashley Judd interview on the show Nightline:

Ashley Judd Keeps a ‘Psychological Support’ Dog to Help Deal With Her Depression

Depression is a complex and poorly understood condition.  But the psychological support, as it is termed here, that people get from pets has long been well known.  Some call it a “special bond” they have with their pet, others simply call it love.  But a person need not be suffering from depression to have experienced the effect.  In some cases, owners credit a pet for helping them through a difficult life experience (e.g. divorce, natural disaster) but often it’s an unspoken understanding on the part of the owner that pets simply make life better.  It’s what keeps people from all walks of life coming back to animal shelters for a new pet when an old pet dies or when they want to expand the family.  And it’s one of the main reasons, aside from every pet’s right to life, that putting healthy/treatable shelter pets into the dumpster is unacceptable in our society.

4 thoughts on “Don’t We All?

  1. I might be wrong, but I believe that psychological service dogs are trained service dogs, not just therapy dogs nor simply companion animals that provide emotional/psychological benefits to the owner. A service dog for individuals with psychological or mood disorders has received pretty lengthy training in recognizing symptoms of the psychological or mood disorder and then behaving in a way that either interrupts, prevents or modifies the individual’s patterns of behavior. It’s task-based training, similar to what you see service dogs doing for physically disabled individuals.

    I’m not discounting that keeping companion animals has pretty far-reaching emotional and psychological benefits, but it’s important to make the distinction between companion and service animals.

    I can’t tell from the article which kind of dog Ms. Judd keeps…

    1. TY Susan. Regardless of whether Ms. Judd (or anyone else) has the registrable kind of service dog or the untrained, unofficial kind, it’s a service far too valuable to put in the trash.

    2. Unless you are a celebrity, or have celebrity-like levels of entitlement, in which case your untrained pet is a “service dog” who you bully into every public place, daring the establishments to call you on it.

  2. Couldnt agree more Shirley. My dog is like my child and has helped me through some pretty dark days. And if Im down and lonely, she seems to pick up on that and will come nuzzle me or lick me. Im not saying shes ready to be a service dog or anything, but she does help. And to think of how many more of my dogs are out there that can be helping people like me but are just being loaded into landfills makes me sick.

Leave a Reply