A Service Dog for Finn

Hi, I’m Fin. A service dog will be crucial to help me complete college, eventually become an art therapist, and keep building on the strides I have made for my mental health. I have anxiety, ADHD, and depression with psychotic features. I have struggled with mental health issues since I was 12.

Now I am at an excellent college in a supportive environment. This achievement was a hard-won success. Along with being neurodivergent and having gaps in schooling, my mental health issues are complex. I have had intensive therapies and medication management. Today, I have more mental health skills than most college graduates.

Still, people living with complex mental health and learning challenges have to be on top of their self-care and treatment constantly. For example, in my “Science of Stress” class, I studied psychosis and learned that people who are susceptible to psychosis are more sensitive to daily stressors. While I have developed skills regarding daily stressors and learned to lean on my friends, counselors, teachers, and family, I still need substantial support throughout the day. I want to become as independent as possible. Only a service dog can fill this gap. A service dog can provide both crisis and maintenance support.

Intensive treatment has been helpful. At the same time, treatment has been traumatic. For example, while in treatment at one facility, staff would initiate alarms if a patient was in crisis. At college, I am triggered when fire alarm bells go off in the dorms as freshmen get used to microwaving popcorn. Something seemingly so benign can have a substantial effect on me. I relive not only my experiences but the stress of others as well. If an alarm goes off, instantly, I panic. Friends try to support me, but they can’t always be with me. I can get stuck in my head with the alarms continuing. This may trigger an episode, and without support, I could dissociate, self-harm, or my trigger trichotillomania. Having a service dog to ground me in these “crisis” situations will help pull me out and even prevent an episode. Managing very stressful events like this are key.

Self-care is something that has always been hard for me. Still, I have trouble discerning when I need to pivot to self-care mode, although I am improving. Changing clothes, brushing my teeth, and taking my meds are all things that I struggle with. Living alone and not having anyone to prompt me has made this even harder. Having to wake up alone in the morning leaves me with little time and motivation to change my clothes for the day and brush my teeth, let alone shower. Remembering my meds can also be a struggle. Having a service dog to stabilize my routine would significantly improve my quality of life. Little reminders might seem insignificant, but it makes her break it for me.

I am in recovery from psychosis. Managing the stressors of daily life in both crisis and maintenance modes are key to continuing my recovery. I want to be able to live independently and safely with a bit of help from a service dog.

I created “3D”  using crayons on a disposable lunch tray. I used the only materials available to me at the time when I was in the hospital. I created my portfolio for my college applications while hospitalized.

This sculpture, “Stuck,” is from my first-semester sculpture class. I created this three-foot-long moth from cardboard. Stuck was installed in the library. I am incredibly proud of “Stuck”, and hope to continue on my art journey.

Please donate now to help me attain health, independence and achieve my goal of helping others through art therapy!

Please Note: Diggity Dogs Service Dogs Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization.  All donations are tax-deductible and non-refundable.  A receipt is automatically sent to every donor upon submitting a donation. All donations are subject to a 2.9% fee from Paypal which is deducted from your donation total.

A Service Dog for Fin
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