SIX months ago, Courtney Dockrill's agoraphobia meant she couldn't leave her home.
With the help of service dog and four-legged friend Lucy, she's almost a completely different person.
Ms Dockrill just wishes the public would learn to keep their paws off her pet.
"The reason you don't pat a service dog is because they can alert up to 20 minutes before a heart palpitation or anxiety episode," she said.
"If they are distracted because someone comes to pat them and they aren't focused on their handler, they could miss a cue. It really is dangerous."
Diagnosed with multiple conditions, Ms Dockrill rescued Lucy from the pound on death row.
About a week later, the dog naturally alerted to an anxiety attack and responded by putting her full weight on her owner. Within two minutes, Ms Dockrill was able to calm down and talk again.
The difference between therapy dogs and service dogs is that, to have a service dog, a person must be medically diagnosed with a physical or mental disability or condition.
Katrina Webb owns therapy dog Wyman, a guide dog until he was retired due to medical issues of his own.
Her two sons have autism and Wyman plays a crucial role in deterring them from episodes. It meant the family could get their first-ever Santa photo and walk in the Anzac Day parade.
"He keeps them calm. One of my kids is a runner and managed to get out one day, and Wyman actually took off after him and stopped him from going on the road, which is pretty incredible," Ms Webb said.
"But when people pat Wyman, it takes both of our attention off the kids - who need him the most."
Assistance dogs are highly trained and often wear jackets to let people know they are on duty. They are allowed in most public places.
The dogs can serve anyone, from providing companionship to helping people with disabilities.
Both Ms Webb and Ms Dockrill said the most important thing other people could do was just ask.
"Most of us don't mind if people ask. If I'm feeling well, I even carry stickers for children who stop and ask questions," Ms Dockrill said.
"Lucy isn't there as a fashion accessory; she's not there 'cause I want her. I would love to go down to the shops and get milk without needing a dog, but I can't."