Monday, August 15, 2011

Guide Dogs for the Mind Gain Popularity

Not long ago, Rosie, a golden retriever therapy dog that specializes in comforting people when they are stressed, was allowed in a New York courtroom to provide psychological support to a teenage girl who was testifying that her father had raped her. Although Rosie is the first judicially approved courtroom dog in New York, she may be part of a growing trend, the New York Times reported on August 8. In Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, and Indiana, courts have allowed such trained dogs to give psychological support to vulnerable witnesses, especially children.

There also seems to be a growing trend toward canines helping people with psychiatric illnesses, Joan Esnayra, Ph.D., founder and head of the Psychiatric Service Dog Society recently told Psychiatric News. Although there are no hard numbers, as many as 10,000 Americans and Canadians may be using one, she said. For more information on this trend and on Esnayra's Psychiatric Service Dog Society, see Psychiatric News at

Furthermore, some psychiatrists not only believe in the value of psychiatric service dogs, but also use dogs in their practices as therapy dogs. For more information on this subject, see Psychiatric News at

(Image: Shutterstock)


The content of Psychiatric News does not necessarily reflect the views of APA or the editors. Unless so stated, neither Psychiatric News nor APA guarantees, warrants, or endorses information or advertising in this newspaper. Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.