It is now five months since I shared my Bullying & Beyond post, Painting the Pain, part one. It is not an easy read and comes with a trigger warning. You can access it here… Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the Pain, part one.
Those past five months have been very challenging for our daughter and for us as parents, as she tries bravely to cope with her anxiety. She refuses to give in and her resilience is remarkable. As well as accessing professional health support, she has also started a campaign, to try and set up a Psychiatric Assistance Dog charity in Ireland. Sadly in Ireland while there are guide dogs for the blind and Assistance dogs for autism, Psychiatric Assistance Dogs do not exist.
To understand the whole area of Psychiatric Assistance Dogs, Emma has been busy educating herself via books, blogs, Social Media and YouTube. A year ago, she began her campaign, contacting political representatives and support organisations.
Emma’s campaign is driven by her goal to have legislation enabled in Ireland to give Psychiatric Assistance Dogs equal status to that available to users of guide dogs for the blind and Assistance dogs for autism. Having the company of a Psychiatric Assistance Dog to pre-empt the onset of panic attacks will enhance Emma’s life, allowing her to leave home for the first time in months feeling comfortable and safe as she goes about her daily life.
Emma has purchased a Golden Retriever puppy, which she has named Doris.
It is hoped that in time and with the correct training Doris will be the first recognised Psychiatric Assistance Dog in Ireland. Emma dreams of offering this service of trained Psychiatric Assistance Dogs to others.
To see this goal realised, Emma has also worked unceasingly to set up her website www.candocanineire.com and you can read more of her mission and goals here.
Emma has been in regular contact with the office of the Minister of State for Disability Issues, Mr. Finian McGrath and she has created a petition, which she hopes will receive lots of support and help her have Ireland enact and recognise equal status for Psychiatric Assistance Dogs. I would be forever grateful if you would make Emma and Doris’ day by signing their petition and finding one other person to do likewise.
I hope I’ve attached the petition link correctly, for convenience, just as you’ll find it on Emma and Doris’ Instagram account…
Emma and Doris have also started an Instagram account @dorismakesmyday where they would love you to keep them company as they both document and share their journey towards an Ireland that recognises Psychiatric Assistance Dogs and offers people like Emma who live with a mental health condition access to the love and support of a Psychiatric Assistance Dog.
And we can’t finish without recalling this trailblazer… Andy, Emma’s first dog. Although it broke Emma’s heart (and ours) to let him go to a playfilled future, it had to be done.
Do you struggle with mental health issues? Do you have panic attacks? What do you know about Psychiatric Service Dogs? Do you know anybody who would benefit from reading this post, if so, please feel free to share.
Mindfully Marie xx