This is an excerpt from my extensively detailed Bringing a Service Dog to Treatment master post.

Having a service dog is like having a toddler.  And, just like with a toddler, having a service dog typically involves carrying around a bag of supplies just for the dog.  This is where I introduce our “Diaper Bag”.

The diaper bag contained everything for my service dog that I would not be allowed to have with me in my bedroom at treatment due to contraband rules or safety restrictions (sharps, ligatures, etc.).  But, these are things that I need multiple times on a daily basis for my service dog and cannot be locked up because of this frequency.  So, I got myself an actual diaper bag and loaded it up with everything we would need that would be kept at the nurse’s station in a secure location.

Some of the things kept in the diaper bag were:

  • poop bags
    • eating disorder facilities do not allow patients to have plastic bags or containers
    • psychiatric facilities in general could consider plastic bags a safety risk for suicidal patients
  • cans of dog food (sharp metal)
    • be sure to pack wet food that doesn’t need a can opener
  • dog food in general
    • unsealed kibble is a hazard because contraband could be hidden in the kibble
    • a patient (even the handler) could potentially choose to eat the dog food, thus, a safety hazard
    • sometimes dogs need human food and eating disorder patients are not allowed to have access to food that is not on their meal plans
  • dog food bowl (container)
  • metal grooming supplies (sharp)
    • metal tooth combs and brushes, nail clippers, etc.
    • I highly recommend bringing some grooming supplies that aren’t contraband to keep on hand in your room for daily touch-ups (Kong Zoom Groom is terrific).  It’s just easier sometimes, especially if the mood strikes you in the middle of the night to brush your dog.
  • doggy first aid kit
    • pretty much everything in a first aid kit will be considered contraband in a psychiatric facility
    • we used our first aid kit several times
    • I highly recommend having one for your service dog as the facility will not be able to distribute medications or supplies to the dog
    • however, the facility did provide hydrogen peroxide for an injury my dog sustained because I needed a lot to clean a wound (they were not obligated to do this in any way and it was merely an inexpensive favor).  I was closely supervised during this.
  • collars and leashes (ligatures, metal)
  • charger for an e-collar (ligatures)
  • a favorite dog toy that might be considered contraband (ligatures, stuffed animal)
    • some facilities might not permit cloth toys due to sanitization issues
    • some toys *could* be used as a weapon
    • some toys could be used for self harm in various ways
    • stuffed animals can be used for smuggling contraband

If I think of anything else we had kept in the diaper bag, I’ll add it in.

I had no problems at all at Renfrew asking for the items and dog food in our diaper bag.  It was usually easy for staff to access and I could ask any clerc, counselor, or nurse to grab something for me.

End of excerpt.
You can read more thoughts on the “Diaper Bag” & related contraband in this master post.
Disclaimer:
this is my blog.  I can do or say whatever the heck I want. If I want to post incomplete articles and finish them later, I’ll do just that.  Check back every now and then to see if I got around to finishing it. Comment if you want more info sooner/now/sometime this century.
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