2024 convention pictures

Celebrated in pictures: PSDP’s 2024 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 2024 convention.

Pre-convention activities

We went out to lunch at McAlister’s, and sat outside to enjoy the nice weather. There are no pictures of us spending the afternoon setting up the convention room. But there are pictures of our dinner outing to Everbowl. Half of our group sat inside, and the other half sat outside. A tasty and fun time was had by all!

Welcome meeting

During the welcome meeting, everyone got lots of goodies from the goodie table, and we were happy to see old friends and make new ones! People enjoyed checking out the raffle prizes as well as the donations table, and several dogs were able to get pre-loved gear that fit their dogs. We went over the convention policies, and all introduced ourselves.

Deanna’s photo shoot

While testing was occurring, Deanna did photo shoots for some convention attendees. Deanna took these photos in front of a black backdrop. Brad also got some behind-the-scenes shots of people waiting for picture taking, and of Deanna with her setup.


There were a few people taking our public access test. One of them was Veronica with her dog Felix. Veronica is the lead tester for everyone else, so dog trainer Katie Jesseph gave Veronica her test early in the morning before social breakfast started. Then after Veronica and Felix took their test, it was time to give the test to other convention attendees. Several additional attendees met the testers for lunch at Moe’s afterwards.

Handling self-doubt & other challenges of being a service dog user

During this circle, we discussed the challenges involved with being a service dog user. Everyone shared their struggles, and we brainstormed ways to help ourselves handle things better.

Brad’s photo shoot

Brad did a photo shoot outside near a brick archway while the rest of us played service dog bingo in the room. The games were fun, but the pictures were spectacular! Enjoy some selections below, as well as a behind-the-scenes shot of Russ and Karin assisting with the setup.

Saturday night dinner

For dinner on Saturday night, a few of us went to Sweet Frog and got frozen yogurt. It was very tasty! Everyone else went to various restaurants, and brought their food back to the patio for us to enjoy eating together.

Social hour

For the Saturday night social hour, people returned to the meeting room and enjoyed spending time together hanging out (as well as signing thank-you cards for our sponsors).

Glencairn Garden

On Sunday morning, we headed to Glencairn Garden, which is a local park. We had a scavenger hunt and enjoyed spending the morning relaxing and exploring the park. We even saw some cicadas. Then we had a picnic lunch in the park!

Handling interactions with the public/gatekeepers (with practice)

In this session, we role-played and discussed various scenarios when people have had issues with the general public or with gatekeepers interfering with our service dogs and access. It was an informative and educational session! Videos of several of the interactions are below.

Training Q&A with dog trainer Katie Jesseph

Katie gave an informative and interactive presentation where she answered common dog training questions.

Decompression, raffle, and awards

The last session in our convention room was decompression, where we talk about our time at the convention and what it meant to us. We also held the raffle (thanks Deanna!), and gave awards to the teams that passed their public access tests at the convention.

Museum’s first floor

For Monday’s tourism day, we went to the Discovery Place Science museum. The museum was more crowded than we expected! Luckily the first floor of the museum didn’t have too many kids on field trips running around and screaming. The first floor had a display wall with lots of pretty lights, a frog exhibit, a rainforest room, a natural science room, an aquarium, and the restaurant where we ate lunch!

Museum’s second floor

The second floor of the museum had an exhibit all about dogs! It was very cool to learn about how dogs process their environment, and lots of little facts about dogs. There were also some exhibits about the human body that were interesting, including a giant human-sized hamster wheel that Katie nearly went horizontal on! However, this floor was filled with unruly children on field trips. It was extremely overwhelming, and we weren’t able to stay for long.

While this ending was a lot of excitement to take in, it was a colorful capstone to a set of experiences many attendees will treasure for years to come. In those years, we look forward to making the conventions even better!