Those With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Say Trained Service Dogs Are a Great Help

While we are accustomed to seeing service dogs helping those who have impaired vision or PTSD, those suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) can also benefit from having a service dog.

CFS (this condition is also known as systemic exertion intolerance disease – SEID - or myalgic encephalomyelitis - ME. Sometimes it's abbreviated as ME/CFS) is a chronic and long term disability that can cause many stumbling blocks for those who are suffering. In addition to not being able to work full or even part-time, experiencing CFS symptoms can make it difficult or even impossible to execute day-to-day tasks.

There are several kinds of support animals and dogs that may be right for people experiencing symptoms of CFS.

Emotional Support Dogs

Emotional support dogs provide comfort and support in forms of affection and companionship. Anxiety and depression are common symptoms that accompany CFS. This can occur as the inability to partake in social functions often creates a sense of isolation. Having a comfort animal can improve your mood and offer emotional support in times of distress. Emotional Therapy dogs often live full-time with their owners who may have to put in time to specially train them for emotional therapy.

Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs are naturally calm, friendly, and affectionate with strangers. As well, therapy dogs are the best solution for patients who do not want the responsibility of caring for an animal full-time, and instead wish to receive the therapeutic benefits of spending time with a pet in supervised, clinical environments. Therapy dogs are specially trained through socialization, behavior classes, and therapy courses.

Service Dogs

Service dogs are defined as animals that have been trained to perform tasks to assist an individual with disabilities. Those with CFS may benefit from a service dog’s training for retrieving dropped objects, fetching medications, and getting assistance when needed.

Service dogs go through intensive and comprehensive training and are able to carry out complex tasks and contacting a creative trainer who can equip an animal to be able to offer the assistance you need.

There are several organizations in Canada. One of the simplest ways to find a local contact for an emotional support, therapy, or service dog is through your local Humane Society.

CFS is an especially complicated illness because it affects people in varying ways, and there is no one tried and true treatment provided by the medical community. Looking at any and every avenue for care is essential when dealing with a chronic disability like CFS.

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