(The title means Emotional Support Dog or Psychiatric Support Dog for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Dissociative Identity Disorder.)
These days, when life is going fairly well in many ways, I doubt my formerly asserted need for a psychiatric service dog. Do I really only need an emotional support dog?
What is coming down the pike for me is that all too soon my mother is going to pass away. Given what I know of my selves and my history, it will be devastating to me. Several things happen when I am devastated:
1. I self-harm, usually cutting.
2. I either switch into a more-stable but less-responsible personality, or I develop a new one (or at least one comes to the fore whom I haven't noticed before).
3. I become suicidal.
Each time mom goes into the hospital from a fall, or something else, I have a mini-freak-out. This last time was the worst for me so far, and it almost physically hurt not to have Marcus with me. I desperately wanted to hold him, to feel his weight against me, his warmth. I needed to be in the NOW and keep my mind from running down the possibilities of what might be. I could feel the instability inside.
If Marcus is an emotional support dog (ESD) I could not take him into the hospital with me. If he is a psychiatric service dog (PSD), I could. That's not enough to justify him being a PSD.
Yet - having him trained to 'snuggle' on command where he lays his entire weight against me provides me with grounding. If he were trained to push my hand away and distract me when I attempt to harm myself, that would be extremely helpful. Distraction and grounding could help with suicidal thoughts as well.
Now, I am still in therapy and have acquired skills (plus a caring network of people) that I have never had before. It is those skills that got me through this time when I was at the hospital and Marcus was not with me. But, it was "just" the ER and mom is still here (thankfully!). I don't know that they will be enough, on their own, to get me through what is to come.
I also have nightmares, which Marcus could be trained to wake me from. I have flashbacks, for which grounding would help. But neither of those issues are disabling to me at this time. I just deal with them, unhappily.
Is it enough to want a PSD because of expected disability? Sure, maybe when the time comes I'll be just fine and nothing terrible will happen to me. No, I don't believe that for a minute. Her passing will be the single worst thing to ever happen to me.
I wish I could find some definitive guidance, but there is nothing on the web that I can find that addresses this. I'll have to make some actual phone calls, I suppose. It would help if I didn't feel like a fraud because right now I'm just peachy, it's the eventuality that is the problem.
At any rate, loving and training Marcus are things I can do right now, and so I will.