The VA Won’t Fund Service Dogs For PTS Therapy

Fflag is a retired explosives detection dog in search of a home    Photo: Brendan Mullin, U.S. Marine Corps

Military dogs are often homeless once they are retired from service.  And worse, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) won’t pay for veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) to adopt them or other dogs as service dogs. Congressman John Rutherford of Florida has introduced a bill — the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) Act of 2019  to provide funding to veterans diagnosed with PTS who would like to obtain a service dog.

Why This Matters: It would be a real win-win to see some of these dogs– or other dogs in need of homes — go to veterans who are suffering from PTS as an alternative or supplement to other treatments.  Veterans who have been given service dogs for their anxiety and depression say the benefits are clear, but the VA hesitant to go forward with this as a treatment until its ongoing research is completed next year.

The PAWS Act  

If passed, the PAWS Act will require the VA to provide a $25,000 voucher to veterans diagnosed with PTS for service dog costs.  A non-profit called K9s For Warriors is working to get the legislation passed.  The VA estimates that 11-20 percent of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTS plus there are other, non-combat veterans who suffer from PTS as a result of other traumas such as military sexual assault.

To Adopt a Military Dog:   The Air Force is looking for people — military members or otherwise — who want to adopt them.  If you are interested in adopting a retired military working dog, contact officials at mwd.adoptions@us.af.mil or call 210-671-6766.

Up Next

Heroes of the Week: Gurpreet Singh and the Riverside Gurdwara

Heroes of the Week: Gurpreet Singh and the Riverside Gurdwara

  The coronavirus pandemic has compounded food insecurity around the world and in the United States has placed great strain on foodbanks. As a result, faith groups have worked diligently to help feed their neighbors. As CNN reported, Gurpreet Singh and other members of the Sikh community in Riverside, California, started to organize efforts to […]

Continue Reading 233 words
Interview of the Week: Lori Lodes, Executive Director of Climate Power 2020

Interview of the Week: Lori Lodes, Executive Director of Climate Power 2020

We asked Lori about Climate Power 2020’s work to stop the spread of climate misinformation on Facebook. ODP: Facebook promised it would fact check misinformation and even created an Oversight Board and fact-checking operation to make sure it was not spreading lies. But disinformation about climate change is still getting posted on Facebook. What happened? […]

Continue Reading 685 words
Climate Crisis Creating a Marriage Crisis for Farmers in India

Climate Crisis Creating a Marriage Crisis for Farmers in India

Climate change is having long-term effects on the marriage prospects of farmers in Andhra Pradesh, India, The Conversation reported today. As part of a larger project running from 2018 to 2021, the researchers interviewing over 1000 farmers to learn about the “increasing vulnerability of agriculture” in the region.  What they found was, in their own words, “unexpected.”

Why This Matters: As the researchers note in their study, “the focus on climate change hitherto has mostly focused on the impacts on the natural environment.”

Continue Reading 546 words