September 19, 2018 ~ We caught up with Jane Miller, a Mandel School alumnus who will be part of Alumni Authors Alley on October 12. Miller is a licensed independent social worker, psychiatric service dog trainer, certified dog behavior consultant, celebrated author, and founder of Healing Companions, Inc. Healing Companions is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting people with disabilities such as depression, post-traumatic stress, bipolar disorder, anxiety, panic attacks and more, by partnering them with Psychiatric Service Dogs In-training (PSDIT).
Her book, Healing Companions: Ordinary Dogs and Their Extraordinary Power to Transform Lives is a groundbreaking book that provides a window into the new world of Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSDs) and how they can offer some of society’s most vulnerable people a second chance at life. The book is a great read that offers hope and shares stories of how these dogs have changed and enhanced the lives of their human companions.
In Healing Companions, 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.
Q: When did you discover the ability of dogs to perform the work of PSDs? As a child of divorced parents, I learned early on the comfort of our black lab, Tasha. She was my best friend and confidant, especially through the trials and tribulations of adolescence. But really, Umaya, one of my golden retrievers, set my life trajectory. At age four, Umaya contracted cancer. I was working at a clinic and seeing clients all day. Umaya’s oncologist suggested that