Paws For Veterans Therapy Act – Will Improve the Lives of Our Veterans

by | Feb 14, 2020 |

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Throughout decades of armed conflict, our nation’s culture has been redefined and realigned by the war machines weaponization of the human being. We’ve created an epidemic of suicidal statistics, an emerging crisis on average of twenty-two souls a day among the less than one percent of American valor returning home from battlefields plagued and haunted by death, destruction, and the nightmarish cries of fallen comrades.

Survivors of war carry the burdens of seen and unseen battle scars; they often relieve the stress-induced and frightful memories through Post Traumatic Stress Disorder & Post Traumatic Stress Injury, otherwise known as PTSD & PTSI.

The signs and symptoms of living in a stressful environment during fight or flight have consequences upon those returning home from military to civilian lifestyles. Many of these warriors alienate themselves from their loved ones or are alienated through divorce and family break-ups.

These transitioned Veterans exhibit many different forms of physical, mental and emotional disorders, triggering, anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks and other repercussions of the chaos they thought they left behind.

Diversified treatments for PTSD & PTSI have been administered by the Veterans hospital and other private doctors and care groups. Yet aside from the traditional mental evaluations, prescribed medications, physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, yoga, acupuncture, and other therapeutic modalities that have remedied portions of the traumas⏤, the one technique that seems to heal the mind and the soul the most is the companionship and skilled understanding of service dogs.

Through years of research and tried and true techniques, the United States House recently approved a bill that would enhance the lives of our Veterans in adopting and training service dogs.

Yes, man’s best friend will provide a very beneficial role in life through rescuing survivors of war through the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act, H.R. 4305, by creating a pilot program at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to aid our servicemen and women with PTSD.

This bill authorizes the VA to provide grants to the vast number of nonprofit groups that teach Veterans how to train service dogs. Once the program is completed, Veterans can adopt one of these dogs for their ongoing therapy, or should I state that it’s the dog that chooses its owner.

This bill passed with strong and resounding bipartisan support on the House floor with 324 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. It should be as our military personnel represent all American citizens regardless of race, religion, or political party.

These paws for Vets reduce their handlers’ anxiety by providing security and have proven a calming effect when in crowded areas or unanticipated risks; man’s best friend will alert their owners to PTSD triggers.

Mans best friend has successfully proven to alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress including anxiety, sleep disturbances, anger, depression, lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse, better relationship building skills, and a greater sense of over all mental well being.

This program’s beauty is that not only do the dogs rescue their owners, but owners rescue dogs from various animal shelters around the country. The most common breeds of service dogs are Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Greyhound, Standard Poodle, German Shepherd, Saint Bernard, Beagle, Border Collie, Rottweiler, Pomeranian, as well as mixed breeds.

Veterans who wish to apply for this program must first be recommended by qualified health care providers and must agree to complete training by the eligible organization.

Our American culture can no longer afford to turn our backs out of negligence regarding our beloved Veterans.

Responsible for this bill are, Reps. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, Kathleen Rice, D-NY., John Rutherford, R-Fla., Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., Michael Walz, R-Fla., Gil Cisneros, D-Calif., Neal Dunn, R-Fla., and Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., for recognizing the social, psychological, and medical benefits that the human-animal bond provides to improve the health and well being of veterans, and for their leadership in bringing this measure to attention in such a short duration of time.

We now urge the Senate to act upon a companion bill swiftly, the K9s for Veterans Therapy Act, S. 2948, sponsored by Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. If this bill passes the Senate, the VA has 120 days to implement the program.

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Susan Price is a National Gold Star Mother and resides in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. The daughter of a Marine, and Army Veteran, She is also the Mother of a Fallen American Hero, Gunnery Sgt, Aaron Michael Kenefick, a highly decorated and stellar Marine of over twelve years. The tragic loss of Susan’s son and his Marine Embedded Training Team raised more questions than answers. It was through a Mother’s undying love that Susan transformed into an Investigative Researcher. Through her countless hours, days, weeks, and years connecting the dots, factual documentation, eyewitness accounts, and more, emerged a back story to the crimes that took place on the battlefield that fateful day of September 8th, 2009.

Susan is also known as a Veterans Advocate and a National voice. She has appeared on 60 Minutes and other national media as well as and Patriot radio. Having worked with various Congressmen concerning our Military and Veterans, she has been sought out by many as the “the Gold Star Mother with a voice” – and “go-to person.”

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