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Healing Companions: Ordinary Dogs and Their Extraordinary Power to Transform Lives Paperback – January 1, 2010
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About the Author
Jane Miller, LISW, CDBC, works in private practice as a clinical psychotherapist and licensed independent social worker, with a particular interest in holistic healing. She has lectured in a wide variety of settings, including many national and local organizations, schools, and dog-training facilities. More recently, Miller has consulted with NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services), the Canines for Combat Veterans program for soldiers returning from combat in Iraq with post-traumatic stress, as well as other veterans organizations. She has appeared in the PBS program "Health Visions: Animals As Healers" and other local and national media. Miller lives in Oberlin, Ohio, with her two Golden Retrievers.
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As a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, I was often being contacted about how to train a service dog. I started sifting through the online search engines trying to amass information that I could easily pass along to people inquiring about training a service dog, and I was not happy with the results. Then I heard about Jane Miller and her book on a dog training and behavior list. In this one book, I found everything I'd been trying to find and more. She's already vetted and investigated all the resources she provides. It is worth it's weight in gold.
Start with this book, and you won't need to look any further.
Erica Curtis, CPDT
Arnicadia Farms Dog Training
North Coast of Oregon & SW Washington
Other chapters talk about how these PSDs are trained. Miller devotes a chapter to helping the recipients' families understand and accept that these dogs are not pets but serious workers. And yet another chapter discusses how the recipient must care for the well-being of the dog, both physical and emotional.
One third of the book consists of very helpful appendices about the Americans With Disabilities Act so that the partners of these PSDs understand their legal rights. Miller has enlisted several of her colleagues to write two more appendices. One discusses the characteristics of different dog breeds in terms of the qualities important to people looking for a PSD, such as sociability, trainability, and inclination to cooperate with people. Another appendix describes the kinds of tasks that various kinds of service dogs perform - guide dogs, hearing dogs, and mobility dogs.
What was most exciting and helpful to me as a trainer was the appendix that described a huge range and variety of trained tasks that PSDs perform to mitigate the effects of disabling mental impairments. I have seen nothing like this material anywhere else in the literature. This appendix by itself is worth the price of the book for trainers and PSD partners.
But wait! There's more! Miller provides pages and pages of resources of all kinds - books, websites, yahoo discussion groups, legal materials, breed books and websites, temperament testing systems, and lots more.
If you are a trainer or someone who is thinking about getting a Psychiatric Service Dog, please be sure to get this book. You'll refer to it constantly, and it will be a great help to you.
Many years later, when in my life I began having those same “panic attacks” and phobias I knew what my future held. Except I had heard of agoraphobia by then and heard it was treatable, even curable. I began seeing both a psychiatrist and a therapist. The therapist was well ahead of her time and had her dog available for use by patients on an as-needed basis during therapy. This was 20 years ago. While I could not tolerate the therapist coming near me, much less lean against me, or nuzzle me, or lick the tears off my face (LOL!), her dog made the tough therapy bearable.
So along comes this book which details ways that people with diagnoses such as Agoraphobia, PTSD, Asperger’s Syndrome, all sorts of Eating Disorders, etc., etc., can adapt to life beyond the narrow boundaries they previously knew with the help of a Psychiatric Service Dog!!! I am so excited because I know so many people I want share this book with. One of my sisters has an in-law who has PTSD. I have a friend who has a daughter with an eating disorder that has resisted all other treatments. They are all at their wits end! And I know a couple of people who are various types of professional therapists/counselors/psychiatrists who should certainly have this in their arsenal of resources.
Speaking of resources, this book is rich with them. Author - Jane Miller, LISW, CDBC, AABP-CDBC was clever in pointing the reader largely to websites which are updated regularly, rather than to books which can tend to stagnant.
So if you, or anyone you know, would benefit from a Psychiatric Service Dog, please use this book as your first stop. It covers all the bases. From considerations of whether or not it is the right solution for your specific situation, to how to pick out the right dog, to the very, very touching chapters on how to treat “succession handling” as your partner reaches those golden years. This is truly a great read!!!