Bella is a Yellow Lab and she is a trained medical alert and psychiatric Service Dog. She turned 3 recently and has been with me for almost 2 years. We were matched October 12th 2013. And man has she changed my life.
Talking about Bella is difficult because she has so many sides to her. It is important to note that she is multiple things, she’s a working dog (Service), a playful pooch and my best friend. To prove this point, she is currently dropping a squeaker toy on my keyboard because I should be playing not working because we are at home not at work. But alas this is important so I will type while playing (it’s a multitasking gift).>this section was typed over a year ago and she still does the same thing. Ha!
I am going to start with her service dog side. While Service Dogs are typically known around the world, most people don’t understand the various uses and types of service dogs. Bella’s Medical alert title refers to her ability to predict and inform me of different type of body changes, such as rapid heart beat that may lead to more serious issues such as panic attacks, dizzy spells and other issues involved with my medical condition. Recently I discovered that this also includes my headaches.
The second part of her title is the most important to me. A psychiatric Service Dog is used as an aid to treat a mental illness. Which type of mental Illness I have is irrelevant because in the end almost all mental illnesses are linked together. What Bella is here for is to help me successfully function in day-to-day life with the struggles that plague someone with mental illness. I know that may sound vague but really that’s what she does, and she is awesome at it. Some of the things she does include Grounding therapy (getting me out of my head and back to reality) when she does this she brings me toys to throw or her brush or repeatedly nudges me till I do what she wants. That last one is funny for people to watch but not so funny when you are walking on an icy sidewalk… Another thing is pressure point therapy also called Deep Pressure-point therapy or DPT for short. Any way, DPT helps me to relax when I am having a mental moment. the science behind this has to do with putting weight on different points of the body to help decrease heart rate and release tension. Also when she does this, she breathes really loud to make me match her breathing. But the most important things about psychiatric service dogs is that they are trained to never leave their handlers side. She excels at that.
When she is not working (Which she loves to do) she is an ordinary 3-year-old yellow lab. I think that her second favorite person is my fiance Andrew. She loves her monkey toys, which she sleeps with all the time and hides everywhere. Her squeaker purple toy is a must for throwing in the house after work, Andrew knows that better than anyone else. Now though, I think her favorite thing is to run around in her very own yard at our new house :). oh And she absolutely loves to cuddle on our comfy furniture. Over all I couldn’t ask for a better super hero to be by my side.