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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Psychiatric Service Dog Partners

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Disabilities, Disabled Persons Rights

Mission: Psychiatric Service Dog Partners’ purpose is to promote the mental health of people using service dogs for psychiatric disabilities by educating, advocating, providing expertise, facilitating peer support, and promoting responsible service dog training and handling.

Results: In line with community members’ priorities in our 2016 survey results, by 9/13/17 we: • updated our online peer guidance group to serve the individualized needs of 214 members (down from 271 last year, after an extensive “Summer Cleaning” and list migration—was 173 in 2015). We reached the technical limits of our old host and had to find a new host that could meet our active community’s demands! • expanded our website to have over 160 pages (from 130 last year), with almost 600,000 pageviews and over 300,000 visitors. Our site had an average Google search position of 1–2.0 for 1125 different search queries (from 357 last year). • hosted a convivial convention in Rock Hill, SC, with an average session rating of 4.836 out of 5 (up from 4.741 last year) and comments like: "PSDP Convention is a great way to grow as a service dog team. Yes, I was nervous going but the benefits sure outweighed the challenges of my MI. Everyone was so welcoming and understanding." • advocated with community help on many fronts. PSDP has become more involved with international advocacy, encouraging Canada to do the right thing by service dog users. This involvement includes engaging the USAUSA coalition to put the power of other organizations behind causes we care about. • partnered with other groups to provide relief to those affected by major hurricanes • started a project to encourage service-dog-related art therapy through social media (#PSDPrompt)

Target demographics: people with disabilities, the general public, businesses, and government agencies

Direct beneficiaries per year: approx. 214 peer guidance group members and even more direct public contact requests for information. Our website garners around half a million pageviews a year, which is incredibly high for our niche!

Geographic areas served: primarily the United States, but we also advise and support those in other countries (historically, Canada, the UK, Australia, and Germany)

Programs: diverse outreach activities (public and corporate education), an amazing annual service dog convention, a website at the vanguard of service dog related education, and an intensive peer guidance system that dramatically promotes disability mitigation, life engagement, and responsible service dog handling.

Community Stories

30 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This family is amazing! Most everyone has or is training their own service dog. Any issue you encounter, someone has been through something similar. They are very supportive and about as non judgmental as you can be. I highly recommend if you are thinking of training your own service dog for mental heath reasons.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

This group is awesome not only do they have really great info on their website but they have an awesome list serve community. They talk to you personally and are really helping me on my journey to getting my PSD. Also when you can talk to each other it's sometimes comforting to know others are going thru the same and similar things and we can lift each other up.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amazing resource & advocates for individuals & families seeking knowledge and support using service dogs to live fuller lives - this group is available 24/7 & 365 days a year - life saving tireless advocates !! Changed my life & enables me to give back to my community!

2 bunnyclayton

Client Served

Rating: 5

If you are trying to navigate the confusing world of service dogs, the ADA , training your dog, and disabilities you need Psychiatric Service Dog Partners as your guide ! PSDP has been an amazing source of support for both myself and my child. In my search for help in understanding my child's rights and my own, PSDP was the only organization that gave me straightforward answers ! PSDP has been there for us. PSDP works to shape policies that help to better our lives. They understand that knowledge is power and the website is packed with free printables and information guides . For someone on a fixed income that is important ! PSDP community is the most friendly & supportive. Giving no nonsense advice ! Plus they even have a convention! Thank you PSDP !

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went to my 1st convention this year. The people were so wonderful, I knew I was "HOME".
PSDP does so much for the disability community members that depend on service dogs to live their lives. One weekend with them has given the strength to continue fighting for my rights.
I can not think of a better cause. I can't thank them enough for what they do.
Tami & Chili

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I stumbled on PSDP when I was looking for information and their site has heaps of usable well worded information. I also joined their free Listserv which has been a great help in all manners of training, connecting with others, and general fun. Without PSDP I would be alienated and less of myself.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

PSDP exceeds expectations. From it's owners, board members, volunteers, down to it's members, it's a selfless, open-hearted group of people who've become a steady support system for each other and each others canine teams. Everyone possesses such a wealth of knowledge it's hard not to get the answers you need or at the very least pointed in the right direction. The very best part is, they present you with the legal facts to help us be knowledgeable and support our rights 100 % and have come a long way legally in fighting and maintaining clarity for our rights. It's been a great experience to be a part of this and I'm really grateful to have met everyone in the group, they keep me going and have become much more than just a group.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

PSDP has helped me significantly in getting and training my service day. They have an amazing convention and if it wasn't for them I would not have been able to have my independence.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

2017 convention was the best yet. PSDP is my lifeline to the outside world. There is a lot of support and people understand where I'm coming from and I feel safe. There is a listserv where I get to ask questions, share my service dog stories/concerns. The yearly convention recharges my batteries for the next coming year. This year we had a lot of new folks and now I have new friends!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

PSDP helped my find my way back to being on track to get healthy. Not only is the community supportive of MI and PSDs but they are genuinely supportive of me even when it's not directly related. I have made so many friends that have helped me overcome both training and life challenges. The knowledge PSDP and its members have is invaluable, I would be so lost without it.

3 Elaine57

Donor

Rating: 5

This group is very knowledgeable and helpful for those just learning to live with their disabilities or even for those wanting to learn new things available
I am on my second owner trained service dog and this group has helped me, encouraged me and supported me thru my decision to do so.
I started with " just" mental disabilities, which include Depression, GAD and PTSD. I can now add Chronic Migraines, Fibromyalgia and unspecified nerve issues
This group focuses on psychiatric issues but is a great resource for the entire disabled community

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Really good people. Excellent source of information. Totally trustworthy. Highly recommended.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I found this group when I realized I was going to have to train my own service dog. They have been extremely helpful with training tips and discussion about unexpected things that happen when out. There is no way I could train a service dog on my own. But with the help of this group and a trainer, my dog and I have really come a long way!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PSDP and my SD(s) have saved my life. I am on my third service dog and have been with The organization since its beginning. I love being a part of the PSDP community. Even as an experienced handler, I still learn and grow more everyday. It's hard for me to make friends, but I consider everyone on the Listserv my friend, and that's a lot of wonderful people! Before my SD, I couldn't even go to the grocery store. Now I travel and go on wonderful adventures with my SD by my side. Thank you PSDP for helping me get my life back!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found this group through(of all places) Facebook. The information they give is amazing. I have also been having ups & down & participating in the email list has been extremely helpful. I also went to their convention(a major win for me). The people were wonderful, understanding & I had a great time. It is nice to be with friends that understand the issues that I have.

3 Nick65

Client Served

Rating: 5

I don't remember exactly how I stumbled across Psychiatric Service Dog Partners, but I'm sure it while I was researching stuff about connecting the dots between a T.B.I, P.T.S.D., and training my own Service-dog, in 2014.
Suffice it to say P.S.D.P. was, and continues to be, a great resource on educating myself about what the American's with Disabilities Act has to say about Psychiatric Service-Dogs, the law both federal and in my home state, and just as important MY responsibilities as the leader of my Service-Dog team.
Veronica was also helpful pointing me towards some YouTube videos that were indispensable in helping me to train Tanka, and to dispel some unreasonable expectations I had, about exactly how a Service-Dog should do it's job.
In my mind Tanka would have to just about be able to balance on a beach-ball, while juggling my car-keys and cell-phone, AND be able to tell me when a cyclone was about to hit! (I know, I'm a bit nuts in my expectations!)
Tanka has become a very well trained, and useful tool in alleviating some of my P.T.S.D. symptoms while out in public, especially shopping.......or going to bok-kai festival, hiking, the fair, post office.......and he does his job void of a beach-ball!
That's it!
Thanks Veronica, and everyone over at P.S.D.P. for working on my behalf, to improve the standard of living for those of us suffering psychiatric-illness, and using a Service-Dog as a healing tool.
Hugs.....

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

PSDP is a life saver. Without the help in understanding the laws, training, etiquette and more, about owner trained service dogs there would be many many people who would be completely alone in the process. Luckily PSDP can help all of these people through the whole process of learning and training and becoming not only a successful service dog user but also help them become healthier and happier and more successful human beings because of the work our dogs do for us!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Psychiatric Service Dog Partners is a wonderful, grassroots, organization dedicate to advocacy, education and support of those of us living with mental illness and using a service dog to mitigate our disabilities.

One thing I most respect about this organization is their dedication to accuracy and knowing the laws that support the use of psychiatric service dogs. There are a lot of websites out there that tell people what they want to hear, simply to make a sale. In many instances, the items they sell ARE NOT REQUIRED in any way. PSDP stands above the rest and I always know that the information I get from their site is factual.

3 Justin43

Client Served

Rating: 5

I reviewed these guys last year, but since I am now only a few weeks away from picking up my first ever service dog in training wanted to rave on them again. Everyone has been so wonderfully supportive, caring and giving of their time as I anxiously walk through the process. From training tips to input on suitable vests, collars, leashes, and patches they have been extremely patient and more than helpful in allaying my fears. I highly recommend them as the go to site for support and accurate up to date information regarding psychiatric service dogs.

Previous Stories
5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found PSDP when I was in a very dark place. I had lost my career, my home and much of my hope. I had decided that I would pursue using a service dog to help me in my recovery. I found PSDP by accident and am extremely glad I did so. I have been a member of the online support group since this spring and have found the level of wisdom, courage and support shared among members invaluable. I also serve on the board of our local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and recently gave a talk on psychiatric service dogs at our monthly meeting. I drew heavily from the information on the PSDP webpage as well as the stories of hope and recovery members of the support group were willing to share. To me PSDP is an integral part of the light that brings me hope especially during my darkest days.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

My service dog partner has been an incredible assistance to my life. I'm in my 30's and had not been able to live alone since my diagnosis at 21. I wanted to do a masters program, but I had to go away alone, and I knew I'd need more help to live independently, so I started looking for a service dog. I found absolutely no support in my local region, and all training agencies told me specifically that due to capacity reasons, they don't train for mental health conditions.

I found an independent trainer who was willing to work with us on this project, and we did our best.

When I found psych service dog partners, a lot changed for me. I have learned about how to fine tune my training, how to be respectful of others in public spaces, and many other dog related issues.

I have also found a community of people, for the first time in my life, that understands and supports me. Through the listserv, there are always people available to share my frustrations at being disabled, to listen to, to talk to. This has meant more to me than I can say.