Dogs for mental disorders

Devin W.

Staff Writer

Does a dog’s wagging tail help with depression? It might. A recent study has shown that having a pet around can increase happiness and help with mental disorders. Since the beginning of the 20th century, people with disorders like depression and anxiety have been allowed to have therapy dogs with them in public places. Various people misuse this power and pretend to have a mental disorder just to carry their dog around. There are pros and cons to having a therapy dog, but this comes with its own set of issues.

Dogs offer an unconditional love that can help people who need a little help with battling their mental disorder. Dogs are loyal, forgiving, and everything that most humans are not, including excellent listeners. Sydney King, sophomore, states, “Dogs are always happy, and they make me really happy when I am around them.” Also, dogs are easy to train, which makes them wonderful service dogs. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so choosing one that matches a certain personality is a breeze. In addition, scientists have proven that adding a little responsibility to people’s lives can help with depression because it takes the stress off of people’s minds. Dogs require an enormous amount of attention and need to play and be active, so they can really help people stay healthy. Therapy dogs are excellent for helping with mental disorders, and people are allowed to tote them around in public areas just in case their disorder prevents them from doing a certain task in a public space.

Even though the canines are useful, some people misuse the ability to carry a therapy dog around public places. The issue of people misusing service dog or guide dog vests and harnesses has gotten so enormous that people with real disabilities are now getting questioned about the legitimacy of their dogs by police force or other officials. According to the site Servicedogcentral.org, there was a court hearing in California on February 24, 2014, that addressed these issues. During the hearing, representatives from California’s department of Fair Employment and Housing, and the board of Guide Dogs for the Blind argued that this was a tremendous issue. People are illegally using service dog vests in order to carry around their beloved canines, and since police cannot prove if those people have a real disability, they cannot stop them from bringing their dogs into public places. People are buying fake vests online and are using these fake vests to gain the privilege of carrying their dog around in public spaces. Heather Gray, junior, has some ideas of her own as she stated, “If you have a real mental disability, like anxiety or depression, you need a therapy dog as a sort of safety blanket, but if you just like to carry around your dog and pretend to have a mental disorder, then you should not be able to bring your dogs into public places.” Dogs and other various pets are being brought into local grocery stores and restaurants, which is a major health issue because dogs can leave behind hair and germs that might make people ill.

Even though therapy dog owner imposters have made a bad reputation for all service dog owners, the animals are still very useful to people in our society. These lovely canines are used in many different ways to help ease the minds of children, young adults, the elderly and many others. One way that tservice dog 1hey help out is that service dog trainers take dogs to hospitals to help comfort the patients there. They also get taken to retirement homes and schools to help make people calm and elated. Even local libraries have recently started reading programs that allow children with reading disabilities to read to dogs to boost their confidence, and thus, bettering their reading skills. According to Petfinder.com, “Research shows that children who have low self-esteem are often more willing to interact with an animal than with a person because the animal is less intimidating and does not pass judgment. Children who participate in these programs not only improve their reading abilities, they also tend to become much more enthusiastic readers who actively seek out books, improve their performance in school, and discover that learning can be fun.” Having these dogs around can truly help people with their disabilities.

There are more pros than cons about allowing therapy dogs in public places. Dogs can be extremely helpful to people with mental disorders, but some people are not always truthful about having a real mental disease. Hopefully, there will be stricter laws that require people to prove their disability in order to have a therapy dog and eradicate the people who misuse the power. Happy dogs make happy people.

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