Patricia Ross-Demmin holds a photograph Wednesday at her Washington home of her dog, Bullwinkle, with her daughter, Gwen, and an urn that will soon hold Bullwinkle’s ashes. Bullwinkle, an emotional service dog recommended by her psychiatrist to help her with her issues of anxiety and depression, broke free from the gated porch one week ago and was struck and killed by a truck on the street in the background.
WASHINGTON — Patricia Ross-Demmin’s path to a future free from the debilitating effects of her depression and frequent panic attacks ended last week beneath the wheels of a passing pickup truck.
Her emotional-support dog, a cute little stubby-legged French bulldog named Bullwinkle, was struck and killed April 6 on Cummings Lane in Washington, in full view of Ross-Demmin. Her family can’t afford another French bulldog like the one they all believe saved Ross-Demmin’s life.
“I don’t want to go back on all the medications,” Ross-Demmin said this week, days after the accident that killed Bullwinkle. “My psychiatrist doesn’t want me put back on the medications. This could end up with me being institutionalized, me going back to the way I was before Winkie (her nickname for Bullwinkle) came into my life.”
Ross-Demmin brought Bullwinkle home last summer toward what she believed was the nearly fatal end of a downward spiral of her mental and physical health brought on by a series of family catastrophes. She and her husband, Jake Demmin, bought a house only to learn weeks later that they would both lose their jobs at Mitsubishi Motors in Bloomington when it permanently closed. Serious marital problems arose.
Ross-Demmin had been diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorders 10 years ago. The gathering storm of troubles triggered the existing conditions and Ross-Demmin took to her bed. She curled up under the blankets in a darkened room. She didn’t eat. She didn’t engage. She didn’t get up.
“During the bad period I wouldn’t even interact with my 7-year-old daughter. You withdraw inside yourself and you have no clue what is going on around you,” she said. “I would lose days. Like, I would think it was Tuesday and Jake would go, ‘No, it’s Saturday.’ I would wake up and be pissed off that I had woken up. I didn’t want to live.”
Her psychiatrist recommended an emotional support dog, a notion she initially dismissed.
“I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a therapy dog, I thought it was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo,” she said. “I now am a full believer. I see why it so important for people to have them.”
The theory behind dogs helping people with depression and anxiety is based on the same idea that canine companionships form positive bonds. Dogs return love with their own unconditional love and it has been shown they can detect signs of a panic attack.
Ross-Demmin was basically tricked into being driven to Chicago last August to check out a breeder of French bulldogs, an expensive breed of dog known for its sweet, well-tempered, loyal, empathic and funny demeanor.
Article credits – http://www.chillicothetimesbulletin.com/article/20160413/NEWS/160419719