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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all. I have been training Asta to go to my DH and bring him to me when I am in difficulty. Today I went into a real bipolar tailspin and told Asta, " Help me, Help me" He dutifully went to get my DH but it turns out he was outside at the grill - Asta rang his potty bells, scratched on the door and barked till DH cam into find out what all the racket was about. Asta led him right to me and he was able to give me medication that I needed. Exhausting for me, I went to rest and told Asta, "Cuddle" He lay down next to me and put his head on my lap. Good boy, Asta. You really ARE my emotional support.

P.S. DH made a wonderful cassoulet for dinner, had a bowlful and now am enjoying just feeling a little bit better.
 

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Wow, I am speechless. That was just fantastic. Sorry you had a crisis, but fantastic that Asta was so persistent in getting help. That trained task of getting help makes Asta a full blown psychiatric SD, not an emotional support dog. Emotional support dogs are not trained to help. Only Psy SD's have specific training like Asta does. You've done a wonderful job training Asta. I'm proud of you, and of him, too. I think you're both amazing. Gentle hugs.
 

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Wow! I'm really impressed! What an excellent job you did to train Asta to help you! I agree with Click that is is more than a ESA! He deserves to be called a SD now!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks guys. I am so impressed by what training your dogs have. I worked with Asta with the Click method - lots of jackpot treats that my DH gave out. Wonderful for me that he performed his work so well. I was disoriented and hallucinating. So I guess I do have a SD, never thought I'd say that... off to a night's rest now, new day tomorrow.
 

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That is truly impressive - not only fetching help but also providing comfort. Well done to both of you.
 
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I am sorry you had a crisis episode, but am so happy that Asta did such great work to get your DH to you. What a good boy and what great training you have done! I hope you are feeling better this morning Claire.
 
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Good boy, Asta! Very impressive training, Claire! Hope you are feeling more at ease today knowing you have a real SD:). Hugs from Houston.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Some further thoughts. I pieced together my account from what DH told me. A crisis is when I get time and space distortions - a minute seems like an hour. Am not sure where I am. Then come the hallucinations. Can't tell left from right, up from down. The walls are moving. A cone of light that has been my life slowly disintegrates into just a pinpoint of light. The darkness beckons, it seems much easier to go down into the black ( bipolar is at greatest risk of suicide, strange I thought that might be schizophrenia) The only thing I can articulate is "Help me" I heard the bells and the barking but put it down as part of the hallucination. The terrifying part is that you are aware that you are in crisis, but can do nothing about it. DH has an injectible for me and after about an hour things slowly start to trend in the right direction. DH informed me that he had spoken with my psychiatrist and DH had done just the right thing. Put me on stronger medication and said to watch me like a hawk for 48 hours. If any problems reoccur its off to the looney-bin. So now it is me and my shadow and my shadow. LOL.

I have to say that teaching this command was the DIRECT result of reading the Training and Obedience threads here on PF with Click, Lily cd re, Skylar and others - thanks a zillion for your examples. I would never dreamt of trying to teach such a useful command without reading all your experiences here on the forum. Never thought I would really need such a command but yesterday proves out. While we were training it just seemed like it might be a cute trick. Mom says help me, Asta finds Dad, gets good treats! Last night's jackpot was some of the pork DH cooked on a grill.
 

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Claire I am more familiar with the tirals of bipolar disorder from the experiences of two friends whose adult children committed suicide as outcomes of their bipolar experiences. One had bipolar disorder with schizoid tendencies that had emerged in his adolescence. He took an overdose of pills at a time when he had recently had a terrible depression but was feeling pretty level when he decided he could not bear to feel either extreme of his illness again. Very sadly he was an only child. His memorial service (at a beautiful Unitarian Universalist congregation) was a moving telling of the story of his life mostly through the words and clear feeling of his cousins and close friends, but in the end from his mother, a psychology professor and my dear colleague. This weekend is the anniversary of the death of the other young man who had not really been diagnosed or treated. His funeral (a Roman Catholic service which was beautiful and sad, but also confusing) was on Christmas Eve as I recall. This young man shot himself in the head in a public park during a cold overnight. Since his family only really came to recognize his illness through the support of a suicide family support group in the months after his death we were all really pretty baffled as to why we were in the church filled with beautiful reminders of Christmas as the birth of Jesus for a young man's funeral.



You have great courage to know you need help and support, therapy and pharmacology to deal with your illness. One of my best wishes for all who suffer psychiatric illness for 2019 is an ever increasing understanding that these illnesses are not a result of weakness or personal failure, but instead based in physiology that the ill person cannot turn off or on and that these illnesses are not different from diabetes or heart disease other than in our general ignorance of them. They are all chronic manageable conditions that can be handled effectively with appropriate social, economic and healthcare resources. Why should my need for blood pressure medication be any different than someone's need for a psychotropic medication?
 

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So amazing! I am so proud of you and Asta and the work put in to teach him this task! Wonderful job and so happy that DH did just the right thing in helping you!
 

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You did an amazing job training Asta and thank goodness he was able to put his service dog training into practice to help you.
 
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I'm so glad you were able to train your SD to do something so valuable, and that you were clear enough to remember to ask Asta for help. You both took a massive step forward together. Keep reinforcing the, "help me" game. Dog training is like learning a foreign language. You practice it often, it stays sharp and clear. You stop practicing it, and it fades. I'm so pleased to hear what you've accomplished as a dog trainer. I think you're amazing. I am especially pleased to hear of Asta's persistence in finding your DH. That brought tears to my eyes. That was clever of Asta. Did you train for that, too? If so, wow on you, high five. If not, insert words that rhyme with goalie mitt, wow on Asta. Give him more treats from me. I wish I could crawl through the computer and hug you.

Remember, to be 100% a real service dog does not require public access training. It does not require a certificate or ID cards. It only requires that the dog be "individually trained" to assist. Your dog has received individual training, and has executed that trained response to help you in a crisis. Under the ADA, and Alabama law, Asta is a service dog.

If you choose to start working on public access, you can do that together, too. Start going to various stores on single item missions. Focus 100% of your attention on the dog's manners. The basics of sit, down, stay, leave it, will cover about 90% of service dog work in public.

Be aware that having a SD in public is like carrying a lightning rod for the curious, and you may not want that attention. That's fine. However, even without going out in public with you, Asta is still legally an SD, and you should consider every dime you spend on him as a tax deduction. In 2019, keep every dog related receipt from bones to dog food, vet visits, to training classes, and toys. All of this is a tax deductible medical expense. If you itemize on your taxes, Asta's upkeep is considered a medical expense.

From the IRS:

"Guide Dog or Other Service Animal

You can include in medical expenses the costs of buying, training, and maintaining a guide dog or other service animal to assist a visually impaired or hearing disabled person, or a person with other physical disabilities. In general, this includes any costs, such as food, grooming, and veterinary care, incurred in maintaining the health and vitality of the service animal so that it may perform its duties." https://www.irs.gov/publications/p502#en_US_2017_publink1000178936

Just a little useful info for you and other people with SD's if they weren't aware of this. I've been using this deduction since 2003 with Honey. If you need anything, or if I can help or encourage you in any way, just PM me. Click is always here to help. High fives and gentle hugs.
 

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Gentle hugs from here, and huge kudos to you and Asta for your success. Good on your DH, too, for getting the message. I'm so sorry for the tailspin, and thankful you feel more comfortable now, with a great dinner on board.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Click, I really had no idea that Asta helping me made him my SD. Really the only time we go out together is to the vet. He is good in the car. Asta does not nearly have the commands you do with Noelle - talk about an amazing, inspiring team. I love reading your threads. The tax deduction is icing on the cake - thanks for the information. Maybe I can now get him to a groomer instead of doing it all by myself and just do the upkeep, although I like him in a short clip. And all those other things, leashes, bowls and supplies, especially HeartGuard and Bravecto which are ongoing necessities. I am so grateful to have my Asta. Today is slow but better - slightly sedated by the new medication.
 

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Glad you are coasting back up. I am also glad to have given you some more knowledge about what a SD is under the law. Here's how your state defines a SD.

Section 21-7-4
Right of person with a disability to be accompanied by service animal.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.

(b) Every person with a disability, including a person who is totally or partially blind, hearing-impaired, or diagnosed on the autism spectrum shall have the right to be accompanied by a service animal in any public place, including a public or private school, and any of the places listed in Section 21-7-3. The person may not be required to pay an extra charge for the service animal.

(c) The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler's disability.

(d) A person training a service animal shall be entitled to the same privileges granted to a person with a disability pursuant to subsection (b). https://www.animallaw.info/statute/al-assistance-animals-assistance-animalguide-dog-laws#s1

Alabama expanded their definition of disability to include psychiatric disabilities in 2011. (Yay, state legislature!)

Is your condition disabling? Yes.
Is your dog trained to do work or perform tasks that assist you? Yes.
Is your dog trained to specifically do work to help you with your disability? Yes.
Could you, under penalty of perjury in a court of law, say all things are true under oath? Yes.
Then Asta is a service dog under both United States law and Alabama law.

AND YOU TRAINED ASTA!!!! You did that. You did. Go you, go you, whoo hoo, go you. Happy dance over here. Keep it up because I'm alway cheering on SD poodle teams.

Having just re-read the IRS Publication 502, I am wondering if entry fees for rally and obedience events would count as a deduction. "In general, this includes any costs, such as food, grooming, and veterinary care, incurred in maintaining the health and vitality of the service animal so that it may perform its duties."

Training for rally helps with public access. I know this because Noelle's rear end awareness from 360 degree turns, about turns, about u turns, and the like has made her able to maneuver through crowds better. Obedience, despite our two NQ's, has also helped Noelle focus in public. Of the two, rally and SD work fit together seamlessly.

Off set figure 8 sign in rally. Execute a figure 8 past two distractions left and right.
Offset figure 8 in public. Zigzag past two children eating ice cream cones left and right.
Back up 3 steps sign in rally.
Back up 3 steps in public. Get a shopping cart between metal rails. Heel backward with the shopping cart.

On an on, sign after sign, are things we do every day in public. Fast forward from a sit, to avoid a toddler yelling doggie. Moving stand/stay. Nearly all of these signs are part of SD work in the real world. Testing them during trials flows into our work together as a team.

So, I wonder if entry fees would be tax deductible? Or maybe that's a stretch.

Either way, rally skills enhance your relationship with your dog so I encourage you to try. Watch some rally videos on YouTube and then goof off with Asta. You don't ever have to trial or show. All you have to do is have fun with Asta every day. You're a great trainer, after all. And Asta is a great dog. Congratulations on your teamwork. I am still so proud of you. Hugs!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks Click. I love to goof off with Asta - we have fun. I did not train him to be be so persistant in finding DH - that is all on him. I think I will try to go on some in public places with Asta. It will help me to get out of the house :)

Catherine I was touched by your post. So sorry your friends has to lose their children but sometimes it is so difficult, there does not seem to be any way out. I sympathize.
 
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