About Us

Who are we?

We began in 2011 when Cath Phillips discovered just how hard it was to find someone who would accredit her dog Buddy. Having bipolar II, Cath realised that she was more stable and relaxed when her three Ridgebacks were with her. But three big dogs were too much to take to the supermarket. Cath decided that Buddy was the best dog for what she needed and downloaded a Public Access Test from the net. She then spent a considerable amount of time trying to find a trainer who would test Buddy for her. Finally, she found Mali Rolph from See Spot Run and Buddy passed his test with flying colours.

In February of 2012, the first two dogs were certified. mindDog operates under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 which guarantees public access for all dogs trained as assistance dogs.

What do we do?

A mindDog is a psychiatric assistance dog. An assistance dog (also known as a service dog) is covered by the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992. An assistance dog is trained to assist their handler in public and is guaranteed access to all public places including shopping centres, hospitals, public transport and restaurants. According to this Act, an assistance dog is trained to alleviate the effect of a disability and must meet standards of hygiene and behaviour.

mindDog assists mental health sufferers to procure, train and certify psychiatric assistance dogs. These dogs assist people with mental health disorders whose lives are often severely compromised by anxiety and fear. With their mindDog they are able to travel on public transport, access public places and take part in social activities which have been closed off to them.

How do we do it?

Before your dog becomes a mindDog there are some fundamentals you both have to know. How good is your dog at basic obedience? Does he sit on command? Will he drop and stay? If you are in a busy place with lots of distractions, does him come when you call him? Will he walk calmly beside you on a loose lead without pulling or lunging? How is she with kids or other dogs? Does she bark frantically if she’s excited?

You will need to work with a mindDog trainer for around 50% of the formal
training you and your dog will do. This doesn’t include your homework time. How much formal training you and your dog need depends on where the two of you are already up to. We will try and match you with a trainer but if you live in a remote area, you may have to travel. We also have a list of books and videos that can help you on our Resources page.

Starting with one, we are now many...

608

mindDogs

608

Clients

13

Volunteers

Meet Our Team

CATH PHILLIPS

FOUNDER & CHAIRMAN

EMILY SMITH

DIRECTOR

MEREDITH HELLICAR

PATRON

CHEZ DAVENPORT

DIRECTOR

MATTHIAS DUEBBERT

DIRECTOR & TRAINER

TOM HATFIELD

TREASURER

JANELLE NAUGHTON

DIRECTOR & TRAINER

DEE SCOTT

ASSESSOR & TRAINER

GAYL O'GRADY

HEAD ASSESSOR & TRAINER

LAURA JOHNSON

DIRECTOR & VETERINARY SURGEON

ANGEL BLEICH

DIRECTOR