We discovered that I needed a service dog when one day, my mum happened to be at the school with Dani (my service dog) while I was having a panic attack. Usually, when I have a panic attack I am stuck in a constant loop of negativity for hours, maybe even days. But after a few minutes break petting, cuddling, and hugging the dog, I was back up and running. I even went back to school work.
In that moment, it was clear that Dani the dog was my safe place.
After switching schools, the first thing we did was apply to bring Dani into school. We got her officially registered as my service dog, got my trained, and brought her in. It took two weeks to get her into school. So far, it has been totally worth it. She keeps me calm in the loud, crowded hallways, she protects me.
Sometimes though, people try and distract her in ways. They will do some things even when I say no. If you see a service dog in your school:
- Don’t touch it without permission from the handler. This can distract the dog.
- Don’t feed or give the dog water
- Don’t talk to the dog, talk to the handler
- Remember that we know the dog is cute.
Having a service dog has been totally worth it. She has helped me regain focus and keep calm. If you need a service dog in school like me, here’s what you should do:
Talk to the organization your service dog came from
They can help you figure out what you will need to do first.
Talk to your Principal/Vice Principal
They will introduce you to the policy and help you transition
Make sure all your training is up to date
In Canada, you need to have your public access training before you can legally handle your service dog. So if you need that where you are, make sure it is up to date.
Follow the policy instructions
If you don’t follow the policy, getting your service dog in school with you is much more difficult than it was before
It takes time. It doesn’t all happen overnight
There are lots of things you need to do to get your dog in schools, and it also takes time.
Sometimes there will be distractions for the dog in school but that is something you cannot avoid. But in the end, it is totally worth it.