Brain Injury - Invisible injuries & Service dogs

Hello all, I am new to this site. When I was younger I had a severe head injury. Fractured skull, extradural haematoma and it was evacuated by craniotomy 2 weeks after the accident. I had no cognitive follow ups all my life and struggled, but did extremely well and managed to gain a great career with great efforts. 6 years ago, I had blows to my head and my job became stressful, I did not know what was wrong and put it all down to depression which lead me to leave my job and deal with the traumas I was reminded of in life. Then again, I was knocked unconscious last year and this really took its toll on me. The scans were fine, but I found out through a cognitive assessment that I had damage to my brain. I under went 6 - 8 sessions of cognitive therapy and am now attending a mindfulness course. My memory is a huge problem and it causes my past to keep resurfacing, which unfortunately for me; is full of many traumas and lack of understanding with very little support. I look well to people and am able, but have lost many people in my life through my need to be honest and speak out. Life has become quite lonely. I thought about getting myself a dog to help aid in my recovery, relieve stress, help me get out more etc but where I live, there is a no pets policy through the council. So I thought about a service dog and was wondering if anyone here has done this and how they go about it, or where I could enquire?

Many thanks in advance

6 Replies

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  • Hello Nik82

    It sounds like you have been through a lot on your own. You have done amazingly well to pursue your career with your injuries, even if you had to leave the job behind at another point.

    I have no experience with service dogs personally, hopefully someone can better advise you on this.

    It's unfortunate that you've not had the support and cognitive follow ups that you've needed, when you've most needed it.

    Do you have a local Headway centre that you can visit? It can be really helpful to meet other members and be in a safe supportive environment.

  • Sorry Nic, we seem to be struggling for ideas on this. Perhaps Headway might be able to point you in a helpful direction ?

    Their helpline no.is 0808 800 2244 (free call-office hours).

    Good luck to you ; I hope you find what you're looking for. Cat x

  • Hi Nik,

    Please have a scout about this website : assistancedogs.org

    Your dog should ideally be trained by an ADI accredited member. Note the section on service Dogs Europe - not members and have since ceased to trade under that name. My sister ended up with a very sick labrador puppy from Ireland : eye infections, hernia, dysplasia in all 4 legs, nervous temperament. It has cost a fortune, the dog was too ill to even do basic obedience training for 6 months and does not possess the health or qualities for the purpose it was bought - diabetes hypo detection for her son. Long term, dog will end up with early arthritis issues due to joint abnormalities. So it turns out the Special Needs dog is itself special needs ! Please be aware that there are many companies around who 'claim' to train to ADI standards but are not actually accredited members so have not been formally assessed and approved - although access is at the discretion of individual shopkeepers etc ( the Equality act can be argued to allow for a non ADI dog to accompany you but you may be asked to demonstrate how the dog helps you if you are refused access, if you end up in court ) it can be an expensive risk that does not give you a healthy, temperament selected animal that is capable of the job required.

    Best of luck, Angela x

  • What would be the need for the dog? if it's for balance say, and it's a service dog, then it's unlikely that the council would have a issue with it.

    If though it's more of a therapy dog then thats likely to be hard sell.

  • Hi Nik82,

    I'm sorry to hear you've minimal support and have had from your initial injuries. I acquired my BI back in 2000 when I was 12 - and I'm starting to realise all this myself, just get back on crack on with it, expected to live a normal life - whatever normal is lol. Then as you grow you realise how much support you do actually need now and as you've not had it in the past your... lonely as no one understands and can't see why you suddenly need a bit of help...a bit of understanding?

    I myself have recently got a dog (well two) for the mere company, the getting me out everyday and motivated - I would definitely recommend it, though I am unsure about the way you'd go. I would perhaps contact your local headway and see if they can help in anyway?

    I'm here to chat to/message if you want to talk further - and I wish you the best for your journey ahead - keep us posted.

    Katy :-)

  • Oh gosh my dog Leo has really helped me, his love and his quick response if he thinks something is wrong wow. Just tonight I knockedc things and the dish drainer collapsed making a right noice. He was there in a split second and it took me. While to calm him so he knew everything ok. . The only think is my dog is trained to protect me from men !!!!! If they big and defo if they have a very aggressive attitude. The day before yesterday he was screamed at to F off by someone to which he barked to let me know this man was bad. Next this man says get your f Ing dog away of I will fing kick it. I have never heard my dog do this in 6 years but he growled, growled lol I didn't think he new how. He is a none moulting Lhasa apso. The newspapers call him a hero dog and gosh I know no matter what, even if he will get hurt he stands by me xx

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