Service Dog Bill Passes

Service Dog Bill Passes

( – After years of trying, the House finally passed an act this month aimed at ensuring veterans with mental health issues get the help they need.

The PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act allows the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to start a 5-year pilot program. It’ll give grants to organizations that train service dogs to help veterans suffering from PTSD and other mental health problems. Currently, the VA only provides service dogs to veterans with mobility problems.

Lawmakers and advocates hope that this new program will help combat the high rate of veteran suicide, which happens at an average of 20 per day in the United States.

A similar program was attempted in 2010 but was discontinued after a few dogs experienced health and aggression problems.

The VA is expected to release its first report this summer on whether the program is actually helping veterans feel better.

The bill is now headed to a vote in the Senate.

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