Veterans, Lawmakers Team up to Treat PTSD with dogs

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Veterans, Lawmakers Team up to Treat PTSD with dogs

Marine Corps veteran Cole Lyle wishes to help give his fellow service members a sense of purpose again one pet dog at a time.

Over the past few years, Lyle, 27, has devoted much of his time to meeting with legislators and affirming before Congress, intending to alter how the Department of Veterans Affairs serves its veterinarians. The result: the House is reconsidering the PAWS Act.

The PAWS Act or Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers Act of 2017 was reintroduced last month and would carry out a pilot program to allow for the VA to offer service dogs to veterans with a psychological special needs such as post-traumatic stress disorder, a service the government does not currently offer.

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Inning accordance with the VAs website,service pets are offered to veterans to do specific tasks for an individual that he or she can refrain from doing because of a disability, such as, pick things up, guide a visually-impaired veteran or help someone who has actually fallen.

However with the fast increase of suicide and opioid dependency amongst veterans, its important to alter that, Lyle informed Fox News.

As a nontraditional treatment, this has no unfavorable benefits, Lyle said of service pet dogs. The veteran community has actually been absolutely beat up by the opioid epidemic. A lot of veterans have actually been committing suicide due to exasperating signs because of opioids.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., a sponsor of the legislation and Navy veteran, said hes seen firsthand how multiple deployments can impact veterans.

As a veteran, I know the toll that it handles a few of these men who have done 3, 4, 5 releases, DeSantis, 38, said. Thats simply not a regular thing to do for a human being, and theres going to be undetectable scars that are left by that. Its an essential concern to handle.

Heres a breakdown of the PAWS Act and how it could help veterans.

How would the pilot program work?

Ought To the PAWS Act be carried out, it would allow for the VA to develop a 5 year pilot program that offers $25,000 grants to a qualified organization supplying service pet dogs to veterans with severe PTSD

That grant would also cover any travel expenditures for the veteran to get the pet dog and a health insurance policy for the canine.


In order for a veteran to be qualified for a service canine, a veteran will be suggested by a VA medical supplier or scientific team and considered a suitable candidate for the program. That veteran must have gone through traditional therapy that did not relieve symptoms of PTSD.

To remain qualified in the program, the veteran must continue to meet a VA medical service provider every 6 months.

A veteran would need to request a service pet through an authorized company, Lyle said. The organization must be certified by either Help Dogs International or the Association of Service Pet Providers for Armed Force Veterans, a newly-formed association created to increase the requirements of accreditation and ease any concerns with service industries, such as airline business.

Exactly what is the fiscal effect of the program?

The program allocates $10 million over 5 years to fund the arrangement of service dogs for veterans.

Grants are topped at $25,000 per veteran that includes the training of the pet dog, veterinary care and travel to get the service animal.

And numerous service canine companies have the ability to train and supply pets for a more affordable expense than the $25,000 cap, DeSantis said. An organization in his own district in Florida provides canines for under $20,000.

If it proves to be effective and we believe it will be and the proof is out there once the VA has the ability to see that its efficient, then I believe we will have the ability to probably reroute more funds to it if thats something theres a requirement for, DeSantis stated.

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Ptsd Treatment Using Dogs

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Veterans, Lawmakers Team up to Treat PTSD with dogs

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