DOR Agrees to Provide Trained Service Dog to College Student

Stories

Ava is a person with a mental health disability who is a client of the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR).  She has an employment goal of becoming a human services worker, and is in the process of completing her college degree. Due to her disability, she requires an individually trained service dog that performs tasks to prevent her anxiety symptoms from causing her emotional distress during stressful situations.

DOR denied her request for a trained psychiatric service dog, stating she did not need it in order to complete her employment goal.

DRC represented Ava in meetings with the DOR staff and submitted updated medical documentation supporting her request for the psychiatric service animal. Since the DOR would not change its decision, DRC filed for mediation and fair hearing on behalf of the client.  

After extensive negotiation, the DOR finally agreed a psychiatric service dog was necessary for Ava to reach her work goal. Due to DRC’s advocacy, the DOR also agreed to pay for the cost of acquiring and individually training the psychiatric service dog, the reasonable cost of travel and lodging necessary for Ava to participate in a psychiatric service dog training program, reasonable fees and costs charged for the training program, and the cost of maintenance and care of the dog.

Ava was paired with a psychiatric service dog. Ava can now start her college classes, with her service animal by her side.