“Healing Companions is a testimony to the transformative benefits of the Human Animal Bond for our wounded minds and hearts. This book offers us a practical, heartwarming, intelligent, hopeful window into a new field for service dogs (PSDs). Read this book, learn about and share these benefits with others so that our kindred spirits can help more people heal from the challenges of our fast paced, stressed 21st century lives!”
– ALLEN M. SCHOEN, MS, DVM, author of Kindred Spirits: How the Remarkable Bond Between Humans and Animals Can Change the Way We Live
The role that service dogs can play in the lives of people with invisible disabilities has started to receive national media attention in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and on Oprah. Service dogs have been assisting the blind, the hearing impaired and those in wheelchairs and with other disabilities for decades. More recently, they’ve helped many veterans returning from combat to overcome the effects of PTSD, and return to more fulfilling lives.
We are proud to say that Healing Companions: Ordinary Dogs and Their Extraordinary Power to Transform Lives is the first book to profile the power these extraordinary dogs have to transform lives. This groundbreaking book provides a window onto the new world of Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSDs), and how they can offer a second chance at life to some of society’s most vulnerable people.
For people with living with or caring for someone with psychiatric disabilities such as depression, post-traumatic stress, bipolar disorder, anxiety, panic attacks and more, this book offers hope, and shares success stories of how these dogs have changed and enhanced the lives of their human companions.
In Healing Companions, licensed psychotherapist and psychiatric service dog trainer, Jane Miller introduces these amazing dogs, and explains how they have helped vulnerable people improve their lives in profound and unexpected ways. PSDs have allowed them to gain self-esteem, self-confidence, assertiveness and so much more. These dogs provide emotional support, as all dogs do, but they are specifically trained to perform certain tasks unique to each individual’s needs.
Through the stories of these individuals and their dogs, we hope you can see how a friend or a family member might benefit from working with such a healing companion.
Healing Companions discusses how these dogs are trained, how the dogs may impact other members of the family, and how our training can make life more comfortable and less stressful for the dogs, while they are undertaking their essential tasks. A helpful list of resources for further information, support, and services is provided. In addition to these remarkable stories, this book also explains which dogs are the right candidates for the job, which dogs are not, and how to tell the difference.
For those who may not know about the profound benefits that these dogs can bring, as well as anyone who loves dogs and enjoys learning about their value to their companions, this book will serve as an informative, practical, and inspirational guide.
Praise for Healing Companions
“This book should be required reading for everybody who is considering getting a psychiatric service dog or is working on training them. I really liked its emphasis on choosing the right dog to fit the needs of each person’s personality and life. The chapter on assuring that the dog does not become stressed and is treated in an ethical manner is especially helpful. The use of psychiatric service dogs is relatively new compared to other types of service dogs such as guide dogs for the blind, rescue dogs or dogs to help people who use wheel chairs. The combination of both the right dog coupled with positive training methods can further strengthen the human animal bond and help the field of psychiatric service dogs to develop.”
TEMPLE GRANDIN, Ph.D., author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make us Human
“When I originated the concept of “service dogs,” my entire focus was on the tasks they could do to help: turning lights on and off, tugging open doors, retrieving dropped or needed items. Today, when I ask clients about their service dogs, what I hear is “best friend,” “companionship,” “emotional support,” “family.” These extraordinary dogs ground us, they warm our hearts, they challenge our minds, they transform us, they are there for us when others aren’t. Healing us is what they do—and Healing Companions shares their extraordinary gifts with its readers.”
DR. BONITA “BONNIE” BERGIN, President, Bergin University of Canine Studies
“Finally, someone has written about the best kept mental health secret: how dogs save psyches, hearts, minds and sometimes, quite literally, lives. They make therapists look good! Throughout my 30+ years as a clinician, I learned how animals kept hundreds of clients emotionally alive during an abusive or neglectful childhood, or, how later in life, they redeemed the isolation and damage wrought by wounded humans. Jane Miller’s beautiful, clear prose both inspires and instructs, teaching mental health consumers, professionals and everyday people alike how to best deploy this powerful, generous, heart-opening, unconditional source of love and healing.”
BELLERUTH NAPARSTEK, LISW, BSD, author of Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal and creator of Health Journeys guided imagery series
“Animals are more complete than people. They are wonderful teachers, therapists and role models for us all. I always live by the motto WWLD or What Would Lassie Do? Read Healing Companions and learn about their ability to guide and heal us all.”
BERNIE SIEGEL, MD, author of Smudge Bunny and Buddy’s Candle