MindDogs trained to assist people with mental illness ‘make a world of difference’
Angel has depression, anxiety and panic disorder.
She used to be afraid to leave her Chisholm home, often preferring to fall asleep hungry than to venture outside to buy food.
That was until she stumbled across mindDog in 2012, an organisation that assists owners with mental illness to train their own dogs to become service dogs.
With the help of a certified trainer, the 32-year-old taught her six-year-old labrador, Molly, to help her overcome panic attacks.
“She performs a task called grounding, where she basically becomes deadweight across my body and when I eventually feel that weight on me I come back and think OK, I’m safe, she’s here,” she said.
“She paws at me when I’m shaking as I’m unaware I do it, she wakes me up from night terrors … she will guide me out of crowded areas – since I’m agoraphobic – when she notices that something isn’t right.”