Rocky - Psychiatric Service Dog Interview


"Remember not all disabilities are visible."


Fur friends and parents! And other animal kingdom friends! Today, I have another interview, with a wonderful pup named Rocky. His name is fitting, because he is his Mama's rock, and is specifically trained to help with her needs. 

Today, Rocky's Mama informs us on what exactly it means to be a P.S.A (Psychiatric Service Dog), and how Rocky is a furry partner in her day to day life. Of course Rocky puts in his two cents too!

Now, before we begin, Mama wants to interject with an important message:
*Disclaimer* This interview's purpose is to help my readers get to know my Instagram friends better, and touch on subjects that may otherwise be unknown. Hate of any sort will not be tolerated. If you do not like the subject matter, you are free to leave. 

AND... hit it Rocky, and Rocky Mama! Question number one coming attcha!



Rocky, how long have you been an emotional support dog?

Hi Bodie! I think my Mom will be able to give you a better answer to your question.

            Rocky actually is a Psychiatric Service Dog, not an Emotional Support Dog. A lot of people get confused between the two but there is actually a difference. Rocky has been a Psychiatric Service Dog (P.S.A) for about two years now. He is very hard working, behaved, alert, and most importantly loving. I wouldn’t ask for a better teammate and friend.


And how long have you been your Mama’s helper?

            I have been my Mom’s helper for two years, fully trained! I was in training for a long time before that! My mom has taught me everything I know, and I enjoy every bit of it! Anything to make my Mom’s life easier! She is my person.


How long does training typically take?

            Rocky did training with me for almost a year. For others, training could take a shorter time. The shortest training I have heard of, lasted about three and a half months long. Rocky, however, took about eight months to train completely. He still trains a bit every now and then to make sure he remembers every task and public behaviors that are needed. I tend to try and teach him some new things here and there, but that’s just for my accommodations.


What breed of dog are you?
           
          "Wait! Mom I wanna say! I am a Maltipoo. My mother and father were both Maltipoos and typically we are a small breed, but I am a bit bigger than most! It may not seem like it now, when my hair is all shaved, but when my normal coat length comes in I am a different looking dog!"



           
And is there any story behind how you came to get your name?
           
            Well here is a funny story, Rocky was actually my grandmothers dog. But, after a few months she realized that it was probably best for him to live with us, I didn’t mind because he always made me feel better. When he was just a pup, we called him Bubba, which his nickname now, but my aunt named him Rocky because he used to play with rocks when he was a puppy, so the name just stuck. I love the name personally as well. 


Can you explain what it means to be a service dog?

            A service dog is a dog that’s specifically trained to do certain tasks that helps with their handlers disability. There are a variety of different types from mobility, to seeing eye dogs, to medical alert, therapy and of course psychiatric service dogs.


What kinds of specific commands do you know?
           
            Rocky knows how to tuck, which is when he would lay in a tight ball to fit into a cramped space, like for example a seat on the plane or bus. He knows how to stay and to come when called. He alerts me when I am about to have an anxiety attack or a panic attack by either: 1) If I am standing he will jump, knee level, and scratch gently. 2) If I am lying down, he would watch my body language and listen to my breathing, he has been trained to apply pressure to my chest, which calms my breathing. 3) If am sitting, he watches my body language, specifically my right leg. When I get an attack I tend to move my leg a lot up and down.


What do you do when your Mama is having an anxiety attack?

            When my mom is having an anxiety or panic attack, I look at her body language. Her body language tells me when she is about to have one or if we are in a loud place and I can’t listen to her breathing, I use her body language to help me inform her. During an attack, I try to make her feel better by licking her face, applying pressure to her chest, and bring any medication she needs.


Mama and I know that services dogs shouldn’t be pet in public, and we know why, but can you tell my readers why it is important to leave a service dog, such as yourself, alone?

            It is important to leave a service dog alone because they are considered to be working. What I mean by working is, they are providing their 100% full attention towards their handler and their handlers disability. For example by looking at their body language, making sure they are okay, alerting them before an attack happens, etc. By distracting a service dog, you are preventing them from providing their 100% full attention from their handler. This can lead to missed signals, which can be a bad thing for the handler in terms of not being alerted on time for taking certain medications, or taking certain precautions when they are usually alerted of their disabilities.
 Service dogs have saved their handlers lives many times because they were giving them their full attention. Remember not all disabilities are visible. Mental disabilities are just as dangerous as having mobility, medical, and seeing eye disabilities. Again, if you see a service dog out in public ignore them. If the handler permits you to pet the dog, then that is fine because that is their choice. Going up to a handlers service dog and touching them without their permission, or distracting them from their job, or even following them around with or without your own dog is not okay. The best thing to do is watch from a safe distance. It’s like that saying, “you can look but you can’t touch”.



Your bio says that your favorite pastime is eating! (Mine too!) What’s your favorite thing to eat?
           
I really like to eat pupachinos! My Mom rewards me with them often and I love them so so so much! I also like peanut butter and bananas! But if we are talking about treats, I like to have those tiny cookie bone treats!


We saw your post on the difference between Emotional Support dogs, and Service Dogs: Can you tell my readers the difference. And feel free to elaborate beyond what you posted on IG.
           
This is something that a lot of Service Dog handlers feel like is an uprising issue, as well as, the ongoing issue of Fake Service Dogs. The issue being how much uneducated people there are on what Emotional Support Animals (E.S.A) are and are not allowed to do. You see a lot of E.S.A handlers walk their dogs out in public areas, restaurants, and any other non-pet friendly areas. Emotional Support Animals are animals that provide emotional comfort and provide companionship to their owners and they DO NOT have legal access to public areas. The ADA states this very clear on their website. E.S.A’s are prescribed by doctors to help with depression, some minor anxiety cases, and other minor health issues. However, Rocky is different because I have an Anxiety/Panic Attack Disorder that makes it difficult for me daily and is completely different.
Service dogs are trained for months to be able to perform certain tasks for their handler’s disabilities and alert their handlers of their disability. Another thing I do want to bring up is Fake Service Dogs. This is more common than you think since there is no registration, or ID for most service dogs, unless they were given to their handler by an organization, which is mainly for seeing eye dogs, autism dogs, some medical alert dogs, some psychiatric dogs and mobility dogs. Most psychiatric and medical alert dogs, however, are trained by their handler. But, there is a catch. They all must pass their public test in order to be a complete and legit service dog. Some people hire a trainer to help them, but some don’t since it is pretty pricey.




We saw some of your Instagram Live. Was that your first live? And do you plan to do more?

That was not our first Instagram Live, but I don’t do them often because not a lot of people watch, which is a bummer. I do want to do more in the future, and we are hoping that in May when we do our meet and greet that more people could watch us in the future!


Besides caring for your Mama, what’s your favorite thing to do (besides eat)?

I love to take photos! My Mom is a photographer and a good one too! I also like to go on adventures, play with my favorite tennis ball, wrestle with my sister, Star, and take long naps because not only are they amazing, I consider it my all- time favorite thing to do!



You’re a model for one of my best Insta friends, Fearless Pet: What’s it been like so far?

Oh Fearless Pet has been so amazing! Rocky is currently modeling for them for the Springtime but, we hope to model for them some more in the future if they let us! Their products are amazing, high quality and look amazing! We are currently waiting for our shipment to model for them, and I can tell you right now that we are so excited to work with them.


Now, for a fun, what if question: If you could vacation anywhere in the world with Mama, where would you two go?

I would love to go to the Corgi Beach Party in California, we haven’t been able to go in the past because we were just too busy on those days the event was going on. I would also love to meet you one day, you're an awesome pal!


Bodie: WOW! First, I have to say, Rocky, you look like a completely different dude with all that hair! I would never recognize you! You are one cool guy either way. There is a big responsibility on your furry shoulders, and you never let it dim that smile. You are a great friend, and companion. And I can't believe you trained for a year. We had no idea the difference between ESA AND PSA,but now we know a little more about it! I'm so glad friends like you are in the world to help the hoomans that need some extra care, because you all are truly making a difference everyday. AND I can't wait to meet you one day! We will have so much fun together!


Where can you find Rocky? Well I'm glad you asked: Go to Rocky on Instagram
ALSO: You can email him  at rockysdofficial@gmail.com

Want to learn more on the subject: Go to: ADA

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