A Service Dog for Therapy and Support

February 18, 2015

During the holidays, the story of a Montrealer named Craig who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to an almost fatal massive pulmonary embolism, made the local news. Craig experienced anxiety, depression, night terrors, and flashbacks, and was prescribed a service dog by his doctor. With Christmas just around the corner, Craig had one wish: to be united with Joey, an ASISTA service dog. Craig needed to pay $2,000 for the dog, maintenance and vaccination fees. After being recently let go from his employer, Craig had to launch a fundraising campaign with the help of the ASISTA Foundation and his friends in order to make it all happen.

When Nutrience heard Craig’s story, the team decided to contribute to Craig’s cause. Most of the team’s members are pet parents and Craig’s story really hit home. For Craig, having a dog would mean so much more than having a friend or a pet for emotional support; it meant clinical treatment that would essentially help him live a better life. Soon after Nutrience’s donation, Craig was united with Joey, just in time for Christmas. The ASISTA Foundation recently told Nutrience that Joey was helping Craig tremendously and that there was a major improvement with Craig’s state!

The ASISTA Foundation

The demand for service dogs is quite high and on the rise. The ASISTA Foundation, a Montreal-based and family-owned not-for-profit organization, receives about 500 requests a year for service dogs. Service dogs are known to assist people with physical disabilities, such as restricted mobility, but they can also offer a wide range of support like therapy. Therapy dogs help people build confidence, provide calmness and security, but most importantly, they offer happiness and unconditional love. They are often matched with war veterans who suffer from PTSD and with Autistic children.

The ASISTA Foundation trains dogs to respond to certain anxieties and commands. The dogs are then matched with people with either PTSD or Autism to help them stay focused and calm. Recently, ASISTA launched a program to help children with Autism called “Paws & Reading”, where students can interact with and read to the dogs without feeling pressure from their peers or educator.

Visit the ASISTA Foundation’s website to learn more and to find out how you can help.

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