I'm super excited to introduce you all to our littlest service dog and her amazing person, Sarah.
Most of the service dogs in my book do work for people with disabilities that are recognizable from the outside. Bella's work involves helping Sarah with her invisible disability.
Sarah has debilitating depression and anxiety. People with mental illnesses often opt for an emotional support animal (ESA), but Sarah trained Bella to do more than give her support. Bella is trained to take specific action to help Sarah with her disability, making Bella a psychiatric service dog.
Bella alerts Sarah when her heartrate begins to elevate. She also interrupts anxious behaviors. If Sarah starts nervously shaking her legs, Bella gently paws Sarah. Bella is trained to find and alert Sarah's mom, if Sarah needs her. Bella's most common task is to apply light pressure therapy, which sends calming signals throughout Sarah's body.
Bella, has made a crucial difference in Sarah's life. Mental illness can be just as debilitating as any other disability. When I interviewed Sarah for my book, she said, "My favorite thing about Bella is how loving and caring she is. Bella has improved my life a lot. I wouldn’t be here without her..."
Not only does Bella help Sarah using the tasks she knows, she has also helped Sarah in giving her a fulfilling hobby: dog training! Sarah did all of Bella's service dog training and the two have been hard at work learning agility, tricks, stunts, exercising, and passing many training tests, winning certificates.
I really enjoyed getting to know Bella and Sarah for "Our Service Dogs". Not only is Bella one of the cutest dogs I've ever seen, she is also an incredible asset to Sarah's life, and I bet if we could ask her, Bella would say the same of Sarah.
Find Sarah and Bella on Instagram @theservicespaniel
See Sarah and Bella in "Our Service Dogs" Available now on Amazon.