The Mighty Logo

The Pros and Cons of Having a Psychiatric Service Dog

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I have a service dog for psychiatric needs. One of my many needs is for him to alert to my severe anxiety episodes, since I have passed out from them. And he has stopped me from hurting myself in a disassociation spell. But then come the rude comments from people that make me second-guess myself and makes my day go from OK to bad.

“Why is that dog here?”

“Is that a real service dog?”

“Oh, your dog must bite because it has a muzzle on! You should not have it here!” (Just to clear this one up I use a Gentle Leader for my boy so it is easier to walk him. But it looks like a muzzle to some, I guess.)

“You don’t look disabled.”

But in truth not all disabilities are visible. I understand the struggle of people having to think you have to look “sick” or be blind in order to be disabled.

I have a Lab mix service dog named Bandit. Since I got him in 2015, he has repeatedly saved my life. I owe him everything. He helps me get through my day since he lets me know before I have an anxiety attack, or a dissociation spell. He can alert me up to five minutes beforehand, and he will make me sit down, where he will lick my arms and hands to calm me down and bring me back to reality. I will admit it is tough being in public with him, but it is for my health, not other people’s entertainment.

So Pros:

I get through the day in one piece.

My day is not as bad.

My health is on its A game.


People are people.

Getty image by Christin Lola.

Originally published: March 7, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home