State of Mind with Debra Sloss
Psychiatric Service Dogs

Episode #14:  Debra Sloss is joined by Rita & dog trainer Lori Katz to discuss the important roles that specially trained Psychiatric Service Dogs perform. These dogs help their owners with conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and severe anxiety. Trained in obedience and task performance, and working in distracting public environments, these dogs help mitigate their handler’s psychiatric disability. These animals not only provide emotional support, but execute tasks that enable their handler to function in ordinary ways that the non-disabled person might take for granted. Rita shares her experiences of having had a psychiatric service dog and of training dogs for herself and her son.  Lori, a longtime dog trainer, helps us understand how these dogs are trained, the kinds of services they can provide, and where and how someone might go about training or obtaining a psychiatric service dog. Lori also clarifies the differences between the increasingly popular “emotional support animal” and a psychiatric service dog.  Also joining us for the interview are Rita’s service dog in training, Momo, and Lori’s dog, Chopa.

Broadcast: 1/5/20

Special thanks to my co-producer Lauren Fein, our audio editor Jeanne Baldzikowski, and Jennifer Young, who assists with research and outreach. And finally, thanks to acoustic guitarist Adrian Legg for composing, performing, and donating the use of our theme music.

SUBSCRIBE NOW to get past or new episodes delivered to your listening device here:
Apple Podcasts 
Google Podcasts

“Follow or Like” our  FACEBOOK  page @stateofmindksqd

If you enjoyed this or past shows and want to be notified when new episodes are available,  it takes just a minute to  SIGN UP for our email list.

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU…if you or someone you know has an experience to share.
We’re adding a segment to the SoM radio show in which we feature the voices of our listeners on the topic we are discussing. So if you have an experience, a resource, or advice to share, please call and leave a message; you might just be in one of our upcoming shows!
CALL:  831-824-4323 and leave a 1-3 minute message including your name, why you are calling and what you want to share. Upcoming topics include: Anorexia & Eating Disorders, Mental Health Effects of Lyme Disease, &  Grandparents raising their grandchildren.

If you or someone you know has topic ideas for future shows or a story of mental health recovery to share, please email me at

If you like what you’re hearing here on K-squid, you can become a “philanthropod” too and help us keep KSQD on the air! Donations of any size do help! Become a squid squad supporting member, or if you have a business, please consider underwriting a program. Just go to the “Support” navigation tab at


Dog Training

Atlas Assistance Dogs
Organization offers customized service dog training and support to dog trainers and to individuals who qualify to have a certified assistance dog under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Little Angels Service Dogs
Provides psychiatric (and autism assistance, seizure response, and hearing alert) service dogs to children and adults. They require that you and a support person attend a two-week personalized training in the San Diego area when your dog has completed their program

Kindred Spirit:  Dog Training with Heart
Lori Katz, owner/trainer


Examples of Service Dog Tasks including some Psychiatric Service Dog Tasks:

Public Access Test
This public access test details Psychiatric Service Dog Partners’ minimum public access behaviors for responsible service dog handling.


To Be of Service – A Netflix film that follows some veterans with PTSD and their journeys with their Psychiatric Service Dogs.

Pick of the Litter – A film that follows five spirited puppies from the moment they’re born through their quest to become guide dogs for the blind. Learn more about the scope of training that goes into a service dog.
pick of the litter film trailer

Chart of descriptors of Service Dog, Therapy Animal, and Emotional Support Animal

Family Service Agency (FSA
of the Central Coast is a dedicated underwriter of State of Mind. FSA provides resources, support, and counseling services to adults and children.  FSA believes in the power and potential of people of all ages and backgrounds to discover their own creative solutions and welcomes people of diverse cultures, genders, sexual orientations, ages, faiths, socio-economic backgrounds.  FSA Counseling Offices offer Medi-Cal, Medicare, and low-cost, sliding scale services in both downtown Santa Cruz 831-423-9444 x200 and in Soquel 831-346-6767 x200.