It’s been 3 years

IMG_8650

Cute picture for the start of a very personal post.

It’s August and as most of my followers know, August is never a good month for me. I’ve debated what to write for a few days now. Do I write the nitty-gritty and personal so people see what it’s like, or do I sugar coat it so people don’t get upset reading it? I’ve decided to do a mix of both. I want to write a quick disclaimer first, I am working closely with my medical team and family so I am safe. I don’t want anyone to read this and worry about my safety. Secondly I will be talking about suicide so this is a trigger warning to some of my friends. And Third, per usual, I am not looking for sympathy, I am hoping to help others reach understanding. So here it goes.

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Why a service dog?

The dog that is always on alert

The dog that is always on alert

Recently with everything happening, I have been getting a lot of questions regarding treatment and whether others should pursue their own service dog. I want to start by saying I am not a medical professional and do not feel comfortable advising others what is the best form of treatment for them. So instead I want to talk a little bit about the process I went though to decide on a service dog, re explain the difference between Service dogs, emotional support animals and therapy dogs and some pros and cons. I am hoping this will clear up some things about me and Bella as a team, try to help guide others on how to approach a doctor about this treatment. Be prepared for a longer blog.

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Myth vs Facts

Pretty

Bella has a new job

With all the attention we have been getting lately, I’ve noticed a lot of myths surrounding service dogs floating around on the comments section of different articles. I’ve decided that I think it is time to post about a lot of myths and facts that surround service dogs, their handlers and the team its self. Education is one of the most important parts of reaching equality for service dog teams. Some of these will be kind of obvious and others will be new. I got some of these from other service dog teams. Keep in mind these are questions many teams have heard or come a cross during their time as a service team.

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To those who Hate

The moment that changed my storyThe moment that changed my story.

After 2 years of acknowledging my illness and a year and a half of writing about it I have become stuck. I’ve shared my story, I have been very open about my treatment and struggle and I have tried to speak out. I recently had to face just how difficult breaking the stigma of mental illness can be. That realization is frustrating and discouraging.

Just how far we have come. Just how far we have come.

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Saying my Peace

I know I haven’t written in a long time. Part of that is because life happened and Part of that is because I didn’t feel like I had anything important to share at the time. But this weekend everything caught up with me from the past few months and it really struck a chord.

This dog really helps me live a normal life I never dreamed possible

This dog really helps me live a normal life that I never dreamed was possible.

It’s no secret that for years I have struggled with severe depression and major anxiety and panic disorder among other things (don’t get me started on my headaches and how much that can mess up my psych treatment). For years I kept quiet about this. I felt ashamed.

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Epiphany

“So this is my Monkey and this is my pillow and I am relaxing because I worked hard today.” -Bella

So I have been trying to write recently but I have had a writer’s block. I feel like it use to be so easy to get random inspiration, sit down with my computer and Bam! new blog post. But lately I don’t know what to write. I’ve been dealing with some med changes and it seemed like every time I sat down to write I would get mad about the topic and end up writing a rant that I can’t post. I don’t like posting rants because I feel like that is not what this blog forum is for. I started this blog to share my journey of what it is like to be a service dog handler in today’s society. Looking back I have shared funny stories of ridiculous encounters, I have shared personal stories of my struggles and I have helped to inform others about Mental Health and Service Dogs. The only thing is, recently, I feel like I have less stories to share. I don’t run in to crazies as much as I use to or so I feel. Then I got to thinking about it, have other people really gotten better or have I changed?

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My “Book” Cover Changed

Bella always is in work mode even when she doesn't look like it

Bella always is in work mode even when she doesn’t look like it

You know that saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? What if you read that book and it becomes one of your favorites, but then the cover changes? Do you judge the book by its new cover or do you remember you like the content and continue reading it anyway? I feel like in a way, this is what has happened to my life. I went from being a regular “book” and then my cover changed (insert Bella).

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Greet Bella (Greeting part 2)

Bella always is in work mode even when she doesn't look like it

Bella always is in work mode even when she doesn’t look like it

I just posted about Petting and acknowledging Bella. I mentioned that I don’t like to, but if I allow you to “pet” Bella there are a few things you need to know. The first being, it is not “petting” it is called greeting. It is really important to understand that greeting is a command that Bella knows, and she has rules that are involved. So I would like to walk all of you through how Bella greets.

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