While service dogs are commonplace for people with visible disabilities, it may be lesser known to some that they are often employed to help people with challenges that are less obvious.
One such example of this is Diesel, an American Bully service dog who very much does not live up to his breed name.
Owned by Kristen Kotselidis, a professional dog trainer and animal behaviorist who has been working in this field for over five years, one-year-old Diesel helps Kristen combat depression.
Just by reading her body language, Diesel is able to discern feelings of stress and anxiety, and react accordingly.
Kristen explains, “He knows how to calm me down when I get triggered. He is a very intelligent boy and picks up commands very quickly.”
To show examples of Diesel in action, Kristen has uploaded a number of videos to her TikTok account, dieselandkristen.
One has Diesel helping her up after she slumps to the floor, pretending to be depressed, while another has him using his nose to open and close a door.
Talking to Zenger News, Kristen explains her background. “I was always into animals and dog training. I did co-op in high school at a doggy daycare then got offered a job there.
“I started to find my passion more and more and slowly decided to take the knowledge that I learned from working at a doggy daycare and use it for dog training, sitting and walking.”
Kristen also offers training sessions, which you can find out more about over on her Instagram account.
It might not have occurred to many people that dogs can be used to help people suffering from depression, which makes it all the more vital that the likes of Kristen and Diesel are highlighting the benefits of doing so.
Personally we applaud their efforts, and hope they continue to provide this level of support in the future.
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Steve writes and proofreads buying guides, news stories and advice for Pets Radar, drawing on his lifelong experience as a pet owner. Currently sharing his house with two cats and a dog, he draws on the many highs and occasional lows of pet ownership he has borne witness to in his writing. He has worked in publishing for 15 years as an editor, sub editor and writer on a range of titles, such as SciFiNow, How It Works, All About History, Real Crime and Horrorville. You can follow him on Twitter @stevewright22