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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Therapy Dog for anxiety and chronic pain/headaches

 Briterz - Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:26 am

I know there are service dogs for the blind, disabled, epileptic, etc. but I was just wondering if there was such a thing as a service/therapy dog for someone who has anxiety and chronic pain/headaches??

I have hydrocephalus and Chiari Malformation and I suffer from severe pain daily. My neurosurgeon suggested a few years ago that I should get a dog because that would give me a companion which might help ease the pain mentally, if you understand what I am trying to say. Well I did get a dog and she is wonderful. She is a 4 year old collie mix who I have had since she was a puppy. She has never had any professional training (only what I have taught her myself) but she has a very well temperment and can tell when I am not feeling good. When she senses I don't feel well she won't leave my side, following me around if I'm walking around the house, or if I'm laying in bed, she will stay with me even after I fall asleep. She is very loyal and now even with my anxiety attacks, just having her around, holding/petting her can calm me down.

I was wondering, is there any way I could get her liscensed to be my personal therapy/service dog? She doesn't need training or anything, she already posesses the skills that I need from her. I heard from a few people that it might just take getting a 'note' from my doctor stating that she is my companion dog and that will be all the 'licensing' she needs then I'd be able to take her places where normally 'pets' are not allowed? Has anyone heard of this or anything similar? Please reply with any and all info possible. I am going to San Diego to visit family soon but my sister who lives out there, her landlord doesn't allow pets but I would really like to take her. I don't do well traveling because it causes ALOT of pain and anxiety so if I was able to have her with me that would be great.

Thanks in advance,
 Dr. K. Eisele - Sun Mar 09, 2008 9:51 pm

User avatar Dear Brittany:

I know there are therapy dogs for those with psychiatry illnesses, especially those with anxiety disorders.

I found a website that shows how to get your dog licensed as a service animal:

Different states may have different laws regarding service animals, and I did find a website for California, where you will be going. You can see it at:

I did notice that it says that "no pets allowed" does not apply to service animals because they are not pets. However, to be considered a service animal and not a pet, you do need to go through a licensing procedure and you must also have the disability for which the service animal is licensed.

Hope this helps.

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