A life transformed: Amanda and Lola’s story

Seems pretty clear for us dog-lovers and proud owners. Dogs love us humans in much the same ways that we do, through affection, attachment bonds and empathy. And unless you took an untamed coyote home, you’ve probably experienced all the colors of sharing a life with a canine confidante along with unquestionable life changing effects. In some cases, even lifesaving.

This next story depicts that last lifesaving part and will give you a closer look to the work we proudly do at Healing Companions Inc. where all our canines are shelter dogs and highly trained to mitigate the effects of each individuals specific symptoms.

Amanda and Lola working on trainingAmanda is a Northeast Ohio resident, recovering from PTSD under the watch of always vigilant Lola, one of the many shelter dogs in training as psychiatric service dogs at Healing Companions. Her recuperation story next to a four legged companion began during her college years when she adopted her first dog Nina while suffering from a crippling history of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. The companionship and devoted love along with Nina’s insistence for multiple daily walks provided exercise, interactions with other people and gave Amanda the motivation she needed to cope with her traumas and further pursue her recovery.

Amanda and LolaNow, Amanda continues making progress thanks to Lola’s customized training. Lola is not only educated to assist Amanda in navigating through her days by helping her maintain all of her activities of her daily routine, but also her set of skills are refined so she can wake Amanda up and distract her in case of a nightmare. Lola is also able to aid Amanda when she is entering a panic attack by nudging, pawing and leaning against her or leading her outside to leave the space she was triggered in.
Don’t miss the rest of her testimony here: Life-saving bond: Woman’s dog gives her courage to heal.

Happy spoiler alert: It’s safe to say she can live a life with less fear in the daily obstacles she faces and struggles with and knowing she has her psychiatric service dog in training with her every step of the way.

*Photography ~ Liz Adams


Another Great Meet and Greet


Another successful meet, greet and adoption for Brody, a shelter dog that received his basic training from one of the inmates we trained.  This training takes place thanks to all of your generous support and donations. Meet Brody as he meets Tracy and her retired psychiatric service dog, Finola. Brody and Finola got along beautifully and had a wonderful play time together and Brody captured Tracy’s heart. I am thrilled to Continue Reading →


Successful Meet and Greet…

First, we would like to thank Gina Lallo, Founder of Forget Me Not Animal Rescue, for donating Colton to our program, Joette Mehalio, Foster mom and training home for Colton and Jennifer Mauger, CPDT-KSA, KPA-CPT, Owner/Trainer L’Chaim Canine, for helping train Joette to prepare Colton for Brian. We are deeply touched, grateful, and appreciative of everything they have done for Brian, Colton and Healing Companions, Inc. A truly magical gift that will change so many lives. Thanks so much for everything.

Colton and Brian’s meeting went really well and Colton has been placed with Brian.  Brian was so thrilled and Continue Reading →


Giving Back to Your Psychiatric Service Dogs
~ Mary-Jane Howe

The number of service dogs is on the rise with an estimated 4,000 fulfilling different service roles. Psychiatric service dogs (PSDs) help people with emotional and mental disabilities. They are valuable in helping various mental conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, bipolar disorder, and mental issues such as anxiety or stress. Specifically trained to assist in the daily life of a person with mental challenges, these wonderful animals lift moods, sense Continue Reading →

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