Emotional Support Dogs

emotional support dog

by Simon van Cleeff

Emotional Support dogs can change a person’s life.  According to the National Center for PTSD, an Emotional Support dog is defined as:

…a pet that helps an owner with a mental health condition. Emotional support dogs help owners feel better by giving friendship and companionship. These dogs are also called comfort dogs or support dogs.

An emotional support dog does not need special training. Generally, a regular pet can be an emotional support dog if a mental health provider writes a letter saying that the owner has a mental health condition or disability and needs the dog’s help for his or her health or treatment.

In most states, emotional support dogs do not have special permission to go to all public places like service dogs do. But, emotional support dogs are sometimes allowed special consideration. For example, the owner may be able to get permission to have an emotional support pet in a house or apartment that does not normally allow dogs. Or, the owner may be able to get permission to fly on a plane together with the dog.

If you suffer from depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder or any mental health challenge that lessens when in the company of your dog, consider asking your mental health provider for Emotional Support Dog Documentation.  You may be able to receive special permission when traveling, dining, staying in hotels, or renting apartments.  Find the state level regulations on Emotional Support Dogs, then follow up with your airline, hotel, restaurant or landlord.

This article provides more information on dogs and their affect on mental health.



Take a Meditation Break

meditationIf you are looking for a guided meditation application to help relieve stress during your busy work day, try http://buddhify.com/

This site provides “Dozens of custom meditations for 14 different parts of your day including traveling, being online, taking a work break and going to sleep.”

The site developers say their application is “Lovingly designed, buddhify teaches you the techniques you need to bring more calm, awareness and compassion to our digital lives.”

Now for Some Dog Therapy

dog therapy uptown dallas counseling

This blog is about my views and opinions on human mental health, but I have to share New York Times columnist BENOIT DENIZET-LEWIS’s blog post Our Dogs, Ourselves: Common Complaints From Dog Owners.

He states owners have 3 COMMOM COMPLAINTS about their dogs:

  1. “My Dog Does Not Listen to Me”
  2. “My husband seems more excited when the dog gets in bed than when I do!”
  3. “My dog is a neurotic mess.”

Have you ever thought these things about your dog?  If you are looking for something to make you smile today, read this post.  If you are a real dog-lover (like me!), you may want to consider ordering Denizet-Lewis’s new book Travels With Casey.  He writes about his experiences during a 13,000 mile road trip with his dog, Casey.

Happy Thursday.  Photo Credit:  Drops of Jupiter


Smiling Depression: A New Phenomenon

Smile Cloud Uptown Dallas CounselingWhat happens if you force yourself to smile when you are feeling sad?  A relatively new mental health diagnosis is “Smiling Depression.”  The symptoms of Smiling Depression are the same as Major Depressive Disorder, with ONE MAJOR DIFFERENCE.  People with this disorder APPEAR happy to others.  They often laugh, smile, have energy, and are socially engaged.

Smiling Depression is hard to diagnose because the person often only admits the symptoms to themselves.  They suffer in silence and only show symptoms when they are alone.  Symptoms of depression include:

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Smiling Depression often adds serious complications to the symptoms above, which may be:

  • thinking you are a loser.
  • Thinking you have no value
  • Feeling that your ability is inferior compared someone else.
  • You feel guilty for everything.
  • Always angry and not satisfied.

Typically, a person with smiling depression is afraid to admit to others they are suffering because they see depression as a weakness.  One of the most effective ways to help people with this type of depression is the destigmatization of mental illness.  As we work to make mental illness more public and take away the shame associated with the diagnosis, people with Smiling Depression will feel safer to seek help.

Chloe Lambert writes about the experiences of some people with smiling depression here: