Celebrated in pictures: PSDP’s 2023 psychiatric service dog peer convention in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The galleries are in order of the events over four days.
Follow our photographer @disableddoublet on Instagram (or #PsychiatricServiceDogPartners) to see even more pictures from the convention posted up to a year following the 2023 convention.
Before the convention started on Friday, we met to give COVID tests in front of the hotel and went to McAlister’s for lunch. After lunch, Katie gave Veronica and Felix their Manners Evaluation at TJ Maxx. A large group of people helped set up the room, then we went to dinner nearby, all before the scheduled convention activities!
People grabbed things for their goodie bags, perused the four (!) tables of items donated by community members, and learned about the convention policies during this welcome meeting and social time.
On Saturday, we started out the day with optional testing! We had two teams pass the SDIT Manners Evaluation (Chris with Gabby and Cristi with Stella). We had five teams pass the Public Access Test! They were Chris with Gabby, Cristi with Stella, Emily with Lulu, Jessica with Byron, and Karin with Callie Mae. The 1.5-hour video of the testing is below the testing pictures.
Saturday afternoon sessions
On Saturday afternoon, we had two sessions. First up was a discussion session about how your dog mitigates your disability. After a break, we had dog trainer Amy Blom come in to teach us about dog body language. She was amazing!
After dinner on the hotel patio, we had social hour. Brad took simple studio portraits during social hour in front of a black backdrop with green sparkly ribbons.
Social shopping outing
We had planned to go to the local mall for a shopping outing on Sunday morning. But when the shuttle bus and several cars worth of people got there, we learned the mall had changed their hours since the last time we checked! Oops! Luckily, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart were nearby. So we headed in one place then the other to do our social shopping. We had a lot of fun in Dick’s lining dogs up on their treadmills (not running!).
Sunday afternoon and evening sessions
On Sunday afternoon and evening, we had three sessions. They involved doing micro-skits (which will be released later) for fun and education, a session on transitions between service dogs, and the decompression session (which included a raffle and certificates and medals for testers), closing out the meeting room activities.
On the Monday after the in-room convention activities, a large group went on an outing to nearby Charlotte, North Carolina for tourism day. We visited Romare Bearden Park, got lunch nearby at Brevard Court, and strolled to the Museum of Illusions. The Museum of Illusions had lots of really cool photo setups where you could make it look like your head was on a plate, one person was really tiny, or you were hanging off a building! This was a fantastic way to wrap up our 2023 convention.