What Really is a Therapy Animal? My Guest Answers The Question. I Have Emotional Therapy Cats. Mental Health Awareness.

What Really is a Therapy Animal? My Guest Answers The Question. I Have Emotional Therapy Cats. Mental Health Awareness.

WELCOME Recovery Friends!

One of the best things I did for myself, my recovery, and mental and emotional health is having therapy kitties! Lol. I have three and I love them so much. They help give me focus and purpose in taking care of my Cats. But let’s learn the real difference between a Real Service Animal vs Therapy Animals.

My recovery guest Aurora explains what is a “Therapy Animal?” And be it in recovery, having mental or emotional challenges, and especially for those who have disabilities.

ALL ANIMALS DO bring us such JOY and can Save a Life … ~Cat

(My Mr. Boots and his Box!)

What Really is a Therapy Animal? 


In the past, up until a few years ago, the only types of services animals you regularly heard of, were actual service animals. Mainly dogs who would help their owners who had major physical disabilities.
Over the past few years, the topic of service and therapy animals has increased at an alarming rate. An even more alarming thing is the number of people who were suddenly registering and claiming their pets to be service animals. It’s kind of a hot topic, so what really
is a therapy animal?

Service vs Therapy

A service animal has to go through intensive training before being certified as a service animal. One of the biggest distinguishable features between an actual service dog is they are actually trained for a specific purpose. The ADA website states that a service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do certain work or specific tasks for their owner who has a disability that they are unable to do for themselves.

These tasks can include things such as pulling a wheelchair, retrieving an item that has been dropped, reminding them to take their medication, pushing the elevator button, or alerting a person to a sound. Without these service animals, these individuals would not be able to live with the same level of functionality.


Image result for copyright free service dogs


Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy animals are not service animals. This doesn’t mean they don’t serve a purpose, but they are not a service animal. In addition, animals that are not dogs are not considered to be service animals in almost all cases. If someone comes to you and claims that the iguana on their shoulder is their service animal, it is in fact, not a service animal. They may find comfort in their pet iguana, yes. A certified service animal, it is not.

Registration for a Therapy or Comfort Animal

The ADA recognizes that a therapy or comfort animal can indeed provide comfort and are often used as part of a medical treatment plan. But the ADA website very clearly states that any sort of therapy or emotional support animal is not a service animal.

Strictly speaking concerning animals that are considered to be a therapy or comfort animal, there is a specific process that has to be followed in order for them to be considered a therapy or comfort animal. There are a lot of websites that will send you a service animal vest and a card stating that your pet is a service animal, but these services are actually illegal.

In fact, receiving any sort of certification or registration completed online is not only illegal, but it makes it hard for actual service animals to be allowed in public places, due to the saturation of claimed emotional support animals being toted around in public as if they are trained to do anything aside from providing comfort.

Often, someone will illegally register their pet as a therapy animal in hopes of them “legally” being able to have them in a rental unit that doesn’t allow pets.


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The only legal way to have a pet be considered a therapy or comfort animal is to have a psychiatrist prescribe them as such to you. Most psychiatrists won’t accept patients if this is their sole purpose for treatment, and will only prescribe dogs to previously existing patients.

These prescriptions also expire, as the purpose of an emotional support animal is to provide comfort during a healing period, and you will have to be evaluated on a yearly basis before your prescription to your therapy animal can be renewed.

“Therapy Animal” is a Loose Term

More simply put, a therapy animal doesn’t really have more rights than a regular pet does. And most importantly, if you bring your therapy animal into public and they misbehave, a business has every right to eject you without warning.

This rule is the same as real service animals. However, more and more businesses are likely to turn away a real service animal due to bad experiences with a therapy animal.

Let’s keep it simple for those with legal disabilities to have those “rights” with fewer problems or complications of their importantly needed “Legitimate Service Animals.” 

~Aurora M.

I wanted to add …that my three cats are “Emotional Therapy animals and ae part of my overall mental and emotional managed care plan. We are currently getting ready to move into a new townhome and complex and they as a courtesy waving my pet deposit and the monthly pet fee as they got a letter from my doctor verifying that my pets are for my overall health and emotional well-being.

And our move will is also an important part of my feeling safe as it’s a gated community and will have a bigger place to live and that too will help my overall emotional and mental health as having challenges with Depression – Agoraphobia, and Anxiety … ~Cat


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“This One is for The Ladies of Recovery” . . .

Female group is doing yoga exercises in a fitness club

Female group is doing yoga exercises in a fitness club

I  welcome all here to my recovery blog & journey!
I have been graced by another featured article by a wonderful recovery writer, Alyssa Craig. I enjoy having her on my blog. She is an exceptional writer that has her pulse on the heart of writing about recovery way better than I.

I’m always happy to share recovery writers and authors anytime here on my blog. You can send me requests anytime to my Email at: LyonMedia@aol.com  and when I have openings, I’d be happy to featured yours.


    What Women in Recovery Really Need
  Author: Alyssa Craig

For a long time, individuals in addiction recovery received the same treatment regardless of gender. Studies and programs were eventually developed to fit the needs of men and while women also benefited from these programs, there were certainly missing pieces to their own treatment. Gender specific addiction recovery treatment now helps to address problems women uniquely face in order to give them the best chance of a successful recovery. It is important to understand these benefits and what women require in recovery when deciding between treatment options.

The reasons abuse begins varies between women and men. Women are greatly influenced by the relationships they have with others. This means if they have a family member or a significant other participating in the addictive behavior, they are more likely to begin use.  As mentioned here, women are also more likely to self-medicate when faced with emotional and mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and PTSD following trauma (both current or earlier). Women are also more likely than men to become addicted, and the introduction of addictive substances and behaviors puts them in quick danger of dependence.

Once women do enter a recovery program, addressing these initial struggles can best be done when surrounded by others facing the same problems. It has been found, for both genders, individuals in recovery are more likely to engage in open communication in group therapy sessions when they are only with their own gender. For women, this can be especially important, because many women in recovery have a history of trauma, making the removal of men an important part of the recovery equation.

Betsy Firth, a clinical psychologist at an addiction recovery center says, “Women tend to be hyper-focused on external issues while in treatment, the number one being focused on men and how they view the women, how they can get their attention/approval. Removing the men from the mix allows the women to focus inward on what they need for their recovery. At the same time, many women have been in abusive or violent relationships and can get easily triggered by exposure to men while we are asking them to be open and vulnerable.”

Allowing women to attend recovery solely with other women allows them to feel safe from harmful situations they may have faced and find healing, without facing potential triggers. As women have a greater chance of relapse than men, it is of the utmost importance to put them in a position where they will be more likely to succeed. It is recommended when an individual (male or female) leaves recovery, they avoid forming new romantic relationships for at least one year. This gives the individual, especially a woman, the chance to recover without the pressures described by Firth.


Women who suffer from emotional or mental disorders, as described above, also have the need to overcome personal barriers of shame, address the stigma of addiction, and acknowledge fears they may be experiencing – such as loss of child custody, loss of employment, or an inability to fulfill their responsibilities. Relapse is much more likely when a woman has not developed sufficient coping mechanisms for these struggles and other issues such as lack of self-worth. Attending a gender specific treatment center ensures these issues specific to women are addressed and the women leave with the coping skills and support they need.

Because women do put so much weight on their relationships, a treatment center should encourage the removal of toxic associations and help each woman surround herself with a positive support system. In addition to the support given both during treatment and in after-care, a woman needs to have family and friends who will be supportive of the changes she is making. Often continuing to attend group meetings provided in after-care helps to provide some of this support, as each woman can continue to receive support from peers who can truly empathize.

Gender specific treatment has proven to be very successful for those women who participate in it. Drugabuse.gov reported in December 2014 that women are more likely to be employed 12 months after treatment admission if they attended a gender specific treatment center. With the focus on addressing triggers and the initial reasons for use, along with providing the support system women need to rely on, gender specific recovery is a top choice for women striving for recovery.



 Lets Celebrate ALL Women In Recovery!

God Bless All,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author of “Addicted To Dimes”. . .
*Article Courtesy of Author, Alyssa Craig*

Dear Diary,….Today I….Want to go back to Oregon!!


Well…..we made AND survived the long trip from Oregon to where I’m blogging from, Glendale, AZ. It was an interesting trip to say the least. I only had 2 Panic Attacks on the road, tried to convince my husband we didn’t have to leave Oregon the morning we had to get out of our Apt…..THAT’S the Agoraphobia……and on the road we went. Left all the big stuff in a Storage Unit in Oregon so I know we are coming BACK!!  All our clothes and essentials put in box’s to take with us to Arizona. Pretty sad when you can have HALF your LIFE in box’s ….But, the lord tells us what we OWN or DON’T HAVE does not speak or define who you are Inside.

Had one Panic Attack as we were going through Lake Shasta, such a beautiful place, but it’s been years since the last time I was in a car traveling. It sounds so dumb, but for those of us who suffer from Bipolar or any Emotional disorder’s, a long car ride can be a wee bit scary!!  2nd day was better, but as we rolled into Arizona the heat was not to my liking…LOL..
Then by 8:30pm, the drama started, and I had another Panic attack, went outside by the pool, and had my first release of stress, tension, these past years of financial pressures, and trying to go from just me & my hubby to now a house of seven people with a long cry.

They had a family meeting of how their house runs, like power and solar power, what goes in trash & recycle bins, and how they do their family meals for dinners, and a few other things that I felt they needed to be reminded that we not insensitive to others in the house, but they also need to understand that my hubby & I are married and have a relationship. And there will be times when we may want to eat & buy our own food. Will chip in with money for utilities and things, but food will by on our  own . Will chip in for essentials, but not to fair when there is only 2 of us and 5 of them in the family.

So, the next day I happen to put on some Bath & Body works lotion on after my shower. I went upstairs to get a soda and my hubby’s brother came UNCLUED because of the smell…..Now NO one told me he has allergies and is sensitive to scents, but IT WAS THEY WAY HE APPROCHED the Subject. He started yelling and complaining that I needed to go wash the CRAP I HAD ON that Smelled like berries off Right Now, because he can’t stand heavy smells…….I was like…..WTF??

So I went downstairs to my room, and he was still carrying on about it and making all this DRAMA over body lotion???  Then he was talking about me, So I went back upstairs and SPOKE MY MIND!…1st off….DON’T RAISE YOUR VOICE TO ME….2nd….DON’T DEMAND ANYTHING from ME, and 3rd,…..MAYBE if you were NICE about asking me to not wear ANY scented things because of your allergies like A NORMAL PERSON, it would have been NO PROBLEM for me to do. I also told him DON’T EVER TALK TO ME THAT WAY…..

I just knew this was a Bad Idea, but I have to support my husbands choice. We needed to have a fresh start. This really was taking a toll on our relationship. We have been married for 24yrs on Sept 29th, and have been together for 25. We have come a long way, but I WILL NOT Let his family continue the stress we had for so long, to come here and have to be under tension and stress all over again. My EMOTIONAL STATE and Moods can’t take much more.

So I hope TOM starts at his New Store  on Monday so we can start saving money for a little place of our own, or I pray each night that the lord will please help speed up the Federal Lawsuit for my SSI benefits decision! Until then,
I’ll take a day at a time. I’ll be back to update my Diary on Sunday or Monday. I’m Not
supposed to be blogging, but on vacation!….LOL…Keep the Support & Prayers coming!
I really appreciate them, and they helped get us here SAFE!

God Bless,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon