Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder might be getting some much-needed relief in the form of a wagging tail and cold nose.
The PAWS act, which stands for Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers Act, was introduced to Congress on Wednesday by Florida Congressman John Rutherford.
If passed, the PAWS Act would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out a five-year program to provide grants to nonprofit organizations that provide service dogs to veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Meaning eligible veterans would be allowed the option of a service dog as part of their Veteran Affairs (VA) health care treatment.
Rory Diamond is the CEO of K9s For Warriors, a nonprofit dedicated to providing service canines to Warriors suffering from PTSD, traumatic Brain injury, and/or military sexual trauma as a result of military service post-9/11.
"Although we are the nation’s largest and leading service dog organization, we simply do not have the resources to accommodate the tens of thousands of veterans who could benefit from having their own service dog," Diamond wrote in the K9s For Warriors blog. "The need for this life-saving option is overwhelming. "
The PAWS Act would provide funds needed by these service dog organizations to go towards veterinary health insurance policies for the dogs, hardware required for the dog to perform the tasks necessary to assist the veteran, and payments for travel expenses to get the service dog.
Additionally, the VA would be required to develop data to measure the improvement in the psychosocial function of the veterans and any changes in dependence on prescription narcotics.
This collected data could drastically help future K9 service programs and the veterans that depend on them.