Learning with Purpose: Inmate Values Opportunity to Train Psychiatric Service Dogs

Healing Companions, a 501 (c)(3) organization, serves mentally ill residents of Northeast Ohio and changes the lives of shelter dogs – adopted and trained to become Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSDs), persons experiencing a mental disorder – providing them with a PSD, and inmates – who train the dogs and gain job skills and “soft skills” to help them obtain employment and contribute to the community upon release.

In this clip, an inmate talks about a recent visit with one of the people who received a PSD. He was greatly moved by her story as she shared her experiences living with mental illness and how her life has changed now that she has a service dog. He now has a better appreciation of how the Healing Companions program changes lives and is grateful for the experience he is able to have in helping with the dogs’ basic training.

Won’t you consider supporting Healing Companions to help us continue the work we do?

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Training Psychiatric Service Dogs: Inmate Reflects on Lessons Learned

Healing Companions, a 501 (c)(3) organization, serves mentally ill residents of Northeast Ohio and changes the lives of shelter dogs – adopted and trained to become Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSDs), persons experiencing a mental disorder – providing them with a PSD, and inmates – who train the dogs and gain job skills and “soft skills” to help them obtain employment and contribute to the community upon release.

In this clip, you’ll hear from an inmate who trains shelter dogs their basic skills to be more adoptable and when qualified placed in our program to be trained their public access and task training as PSDs. He shares how the lessons learned to help the dogs have also helped him better manage his own symptoms of bi-polar depression.

Won’t you consider supporting Healing Companions to help us continue the work we do?

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A New Path: Key Role of Inmates in Training Psychiatric Service Dogs

Healing Companions, a 501 (c)(3) organization, serves mentally ill residents of Northeast Ohio and changes the lives of shelter dogs – adopted and trained to become Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSDs), persons experiencing a mental disorder – providing them with a PSD, and inmates – who train the dogs their basic skills to be more adoptable and when qualified placed as psychiatric service dogs in training while the inmates gain job skills and “soft skills” to help them obtain employment and contribute to the community upon release.
In this clip, you’ll hear from an inmate who trains the shelter dogs their basic skills — helping them to become more adoptable by addressing behavior issues and qualifying them to become trained as PSDs. Since becoming part of the Healing Companions training program, he has discovered a passion for training dogs. He now wants to become a dog trainer and behavior consultant. We are helping him and other inmates interested in this path by inviting presenters to educate them about their business options once they re-enter the workforce.

Won’t you consider supporting Healing Companions to help us continue the work we do?

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Psychiatric Service Dogs: Saving Dogs and Changing Lives

Healing Companions is a 501(c)(3) organization, serving mentally ill residents of Northeast Ohio. Through a dedicated approach to community mental health, a three-fold benefit emerges: a shelter dog is saved and trained as a psychiatric service dog (PSD) to provide assistance to a person experiencing a mental disorder.

This person benefits from a higher level of functioning and participation in society, with help from their dog. Shelter dogs are trained basic skills by inmates, who in turn gain job skills and “soft skills” to help them obtain jobs and contribute to the community upon release. These services go a long way to saving the lives of dogs and humans alike, as well as keeping them a part of the world and the community.

Won’t you consider supporting Healing Companions to help us continue the work we do?

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PSD Fundraiser: Michele

Michele is a retired music teacher suffering from bipolar depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, ADHD and generalized anxiety disorder. She was misdiagnosed for several years before receiving the correct diagnosis. A year ago, as her doctor tried to find the right combination of medication that would best help her, she found herself on what she calls a “medication carousel”.

Even today, she does not believe she has the right combination of medication that is bHealingCompanions_CircleGraphFinal-01est suited for her needs and the side effects have been intolerable.

Her typical day consists of working part-time, practicing her instruments and other daily activities, but her condition severely interferes with her ability to function. She often has problems getting out of bed, taking medication on schedule and remembering to eat. She also has trouble focusing, keeping to a daily routine and taking care of her basic needs. This has led to isolation, severe anxiety and panic attacks. Her fears can be immobilizing so she keeps people at a distance.

Therapy has been helpful, but it still has not provided her with the independence and stability that she needs on a daily basis.

After much research, Michele discovered Healing Companions and deeply believes that a psychiatric service dog will help bring her the stability and freedom that she needs. A PSD can be trained the tasks that will alleviate her symptoms so she can lead the life she wants and give back to her community.

Please help us help Michele by making a donation today.

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