Steve and Sasha sent in this uplifting email to us…..
“Hi i would just like to say i have been a suffering from depression for many years and after reading the stories and other info on ur site i would like to say how helpful it has been i have my own rescue dog sasha an akita.
I say a rescue dog it been more her rescuing me than the me rescuing her shes always there as a listener companion etc and has helped me with my struggles so much .
Keep up the amazing work with this site it has helped me and im sure it will help many other Thanks Steve and sasha.”
Many thanks Steve I’m so glad your rescues worked out for both of you,
Thank you Tana for your hope-filled story
I found your website whilst looking up the links between owning a dog and depression.
I had been taking anti depressants for 30 years. I suffered severe depression and was suicidal several times. In March of last year a rescue puppy (she had been dumped in a rubbish bin) fell into my life and I adopted her. In May of last year, a month after I got her, I suddenly realised I hadn’t taken a single pill in the previous month. My doctor is not surprised. I haven’t taken an ant depressant pill since, and my whole outlook on life has completely changed.
I would add that I already had two cats, who I love dearly – but it’s been the dog who has helped me so much and continues to help me every day. My mother has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I am coping because I have this wonderful, wonderful dog in my life. If there is anything I can do to support your work please let me know. Tana.
So glad that your rescue helped you move away from anti-dpressants and change your life so very much! Ed
We do get many emails like Michael voicing their frustration at the legal weaknesses in providing support and access for sufferers of menthal health disabilities
“i find it very disheartening and frustrating that i am discriminated against from using public amenities because my dog has not be trained by a charity. AS THERE IS NOT ONE THAT TRAIN DOGS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES LIKE MINE.
my disability may not be physical, but it is still a disability.
my dog is trained to help with that very disability by myself (i have diplomas in dog training canine behaviour and psychology) my dog assists in situations i would normally find impossible, and makes my independence and functionality possible.
he is the very definition of an assistance dog.
but i CANNOT be afforded the same rights under the Equality Act of the accessibility to public places because charities which claims to help people in my situation were not involved?.
its not right..”
There are a few charities attempting to start such schemes – see our links page for more details, but its true far more support is needed in the assistance dog space. Legally all disabilitiy suffers are protected by the same Equality legislation and some sufferers have used this legislation successfully. Sadly the ongoing lack of UK systems and processes continue to prevent suffers receiving the protection and support! Ed
Misha and Jake
Misha has written to tell us how the information on Dogs for Depression helped her get permission from her landlady to keep an emotional support dog and, with a little help from the Dogs Trust, rescue abandoned dog Jake.
“I just wanted to thank you for the advice and information provided on this website especially under the Rented Housing setting.
This information gave myself and my carer the courage to ask our landlady about getting a rescue dog to support me. After lengthy discussions surrounding insurance etc she agreed to our suggestion.
I am now pleased to say that thanks to the Dogs Trust I have a gorgeous 2 year dog called Jake who provides me with company, confidence, cuddles and non judgmental understanding and companionship!
Thank you once again”
Its so encouraging to see the information here being used to increase landlords’ willingness to permitting support dogs in rented housing. I am thrilled you’ve been able to adopt Jake as your support dog. All the very best, Ed
Lisa’s* dog helped her overcome anxiety to get out and about again.
Lisa* suffered from severe anxiety and depression which had gradually got worse over the past few years. Even though she has a supportive family she’d stopped going into shops, stopped driving and walking down a street was difficult for her, even if she was with her family.
Without her yorkshire terrier Rosie, Lisa would not go out, although Rosie has no ‘special training’ she has had a huge impact on Lisa’s life. Lisa started driving again and with her terrier securely strapped in the passenger seat she feel’s safe.
“”My little dog has helped me so much – I suppose she is like a comfort blanket, and because she cannot look after herself I have to take her out. She is quite bossy and tells me when she wants to go for a walk!!””
Rosie’s small size makes it easier for Lisa to take her out and about so she can support Lisa, and she’s had relatively little trouble in gaining access.
“Yes sometimes when I take her in a shop(normally in my hand bag!) I get some funny looks. But for the most part people think she’s cute and in two years I have only been asked twice not to bring her in again’..even though she was in a bag and they wern’t food shops.”
“It is a shame that there can’t be some sort of change to recognise dogs like mine as an assistance dog because if it wasn’t for her..I probably would not be here today. Thank you for your website.”
* Name changed for confidentiality
Well done on getting your depression under control – I know how much of a battle that can be. I’m glad your support dog has been such a great help. – Ed
Our website and personal stories inspired Victoria* to make a case with her support worker.
Once again the issue of having an emotional support dog in rented accommodation that has a no-pets clause has come to the fore. Victoria* found our site after asking her landlord to consider a dog. I hope these stories help raise the profile of how important dogs can be for our health and acceptance of support dogs. Here’s her feedback:
“I had to contact you. I can’t believe I have found this website. I live in rented accomodation, been in the same place for 15 years. A good tenant. I have long and complex history of mental health/psychological problems . I asked letting agent/landlord if they would consider my having a dog. My care team support this idea. There is a strict no dog policy so i am not allowed. So now my care co ordinator’s going to write a letter to see if that would help sway their decision. I want to contact you because it’s a great site. It has given me hope. It is thought that owning a dog could be life changing for me. I have come a long way in my journey, but still struggle a lot . I just wanted to thank you for this site, I am glad to have ‘found’ this at this profound time on my journey. Very best wishes”
* Name changed for confidentiality
I’m really glad the information here encouraged you and wish you all the very best for your application- Ed
DFD visitor Kat used our website information to sucessfully overturn a no-pets clause and have depression support dog Scrap allowed in her rental accommodation
Your website was crucial in providing support for my application to my landlord to remove the no-pets clause of my lease. I now have a beautiful dog called Scrap who has made my life sunny again, thank you so much. I would love to help champion the cause to have dogs recognised as depression support dogs.
Kat & Scrap”
Congrats to Kat & Scrap – its great to know the info here is proving useful in raising wider awareness and consideration of the need for depression support dogs. If you have a story like Kat’s please write in and let us know – Ed
DFD Visitor Pam* describes how Goldie*, her comedian retriever and constant companion has helped her keep going for 7 years
“I rescued my retriever a few months after a complete breakdown. She is almost seven and has been my one constant companion through my journey of mental health illness. Some of my happiest days have been spent walking on the beach. A three hour walk, with a swim is her idea of heaven and because I get to speak to other doggie people, it is my idea of heaven too. Goldie is my responsiblitiy and so I have to stay alive to look after her. I have to get out of bed to feed her and I have to get dressed to walk her. When I cry, she knows I am upset and she nuzzles into me and I can feel the love from her. Retrievers are described as being the comedians of the dog family and I would say Goldie has that trait, She makes me laugh when I have no other reason in my life. She also loves the water and has never met a puddle she didn’t like! – she lies in every one she meets. Goldie is my salvation ”
* Details changed to protect contributors’ anonymity.