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.
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!
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.
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 thirty-plus 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.
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.
Those of us who have seen the miracles that Assistance Dogs perform are still often amazed when we see many of the new tasks and they perform. Assistance dogs pull people in wheel chairs, pick up dropped objects, turn on/off light switches, assist in dressing and undressing and open doors, but they also enhance the socio/emotional life of the handler. Assistance dogs make it possible for a young disabled person to have a friend who is always there, to bridge the social gap when some ignore or looks the other way. We all know about these benefits, but we are just beginning to learn how highly skilled and loyal assistance dogs serve in other significant ways; for example the psycho-emotional value of an assistance is just beginning to be recognized. Dogs serve abused children in giving testimony in court against their assailant; some dogs give comradeship and companionship to the members of a disabled rowing team or offer learning incentives to members of a special education class. In many ways it is just starting, dogs are just beginning to serve, stay tuned.
- Healing Companions “Mariel Hemingway Fundraiser”
- Story by Art Thomas/Photographs by Robert Muller
- Oberlin company makes a difference with Healing Companions
- Article by Jon Behm in The Morning Journal, 31 March 2013
- Mariel Hemingway Keynote Speaker for Healing Companions, Inc. Fundraiser
- We are honored to announce that Hemingway will be the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for Healing Companions, Inc. on April 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm at the Riverview Room, Ritz Carlton,Tower City, Cleveland, Ohio.
- No upcoming events scheduled
For the Media
For media inquiries and other publicity matters, please contact Warwick Associates.
Jane Miller, LISW, IAABC-CDBC & AABP- CDBC
Follow Jane on Twitter at @janemillerdogs.