BREAKING NEWS: U.S. House approves bill to pair veterans with service dogs

Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

By on February 5, 2020 with 103 Comments

The U.S. House has just approved a bill that would expand opportunities for veterans to get involved with training and adopting service dogs, leading to better lives for both the animals and the people helping them.

The PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act, H.R. 4305, will create a pilot program at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help individuals with post-deployment mental health disorders by pairing them with dogs to train as service animals. The bill directs the VA to provide grants to nonprofit entities that teach veterans how to train service dogs. Once the program is completed, veterans can, if they wish, adopt their dogs for ongoing therapy.

The measure passed the House by a voice vote. The issue has such strong bipartisan support, the bill arrived on the House floor with 324 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.

There are few who would deny that we owe a special debt of gratitude to those men and women who have served in our nation’s armed forces, especially in combat. This is particularly true given our current understanding of the significant emotional challenges associated with conflict and its aftermath. An alarming number of veterans and current service members face an invisible and formidable enemy in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health challenges.

The legislation relies upon some of the best mental health interventions available. Working with service dogs has been shown to enhance mental health. Among other benefits, it helps participants focus attention and energy toward training the dog. Moreover, the positive emotions they experience when the dogs perform their tasks well can produce demonstrable social and psychological benefits, too.

Therapy centered on productive and satisfying employment has also been shown to successfully lower depression, anxiety, anger, sleep disturbances and alcohol and substance abuse, as well as enhance interpersonal relationships.

Once the service dogs are trained, they can be invaluable companions for veterans. They often alert their owners to PTSD triggers, such as crowded areas or unanticipated risks. They can also help to reduce their handlers’ anxiety by providing security and a calming effect. And any dog breed is fit to serve, including Labradors, golden retrievers, mixed breeds and animals rescued from shelters.

No society can afford to neglect the post-deployment well-being of its service members. Our thanks to Reps. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., 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 so far in such a short time. We now urge the Senate to swiftly act upon a companion bill, the K9s for Veterans Therapy Act, S. 2948, sponsored by Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. This well-crafted, urgently needed legislation is worthy of every American’s support.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.


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  1. suzanne Kiggins says:

    Please do this for the brave wonderful service men and women who serve us. It’s a win/win for people and animals and would do so much good.

    • Chris pope says:

      The thing ppl need to understand is not just any dog can be a service dog. We cant just go to a local shelter to get a stray and make them a service animal.

      • Diane Meier says:

        I disagree with you Mr Pope. For the past 2 years our non-profit has taken dogs from high kill shelters and left them with select inmates at one of our state’s correctional centers where they train them for 14-16 weeks. Once that time has passed we then give those dogs to Veterans FREE of charge. We want to do what we can for those that have given so much to keep us safe and free. We have not only saved the life of a dog set to be euthanized, we have helped a Veteran and we are helping to rehabilitate the prisoners.

      • Pamela Barsottini says:

        My husband and I have two sisters that we God from the local Humane Society. We got them when they were 8 weeks old and they are now 16, and became service dogs at age 5. Yes you can go to local Humane Society and get a service dog its proper training and wanting to do so.

        • Charity says:

          So how does one go about getting this for a veteran? My dad could use this training for his pup and no one wants to help…he is a Vietnam Vet who retired from the VA after helping other vets for 20 plus years. Now he is alone and no one wants to help.

          • Janice Wolfe says:

            We are happy to help. Where do you live? Your dad and all other veterans in need, particularly those in active combat, deserve our help. Please reach out to me. Thank you and thank your dad for his service.

            • Gene Kirk says:


              I have PTSD and a “Service Dog” (4 years) that I trained with the corporation of a non-profit professional trainer.
              I currently found out that the trainer is not accredited by Assistance Dogs International or the International Guide Dog Federation which the VA requires for me to receive support (Insurance) for the dog.

              The dog is registered with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, under G.S. 168-4.3. My dog was trained to act and is functional for alerting me of my onset anxiety and seizures related to the PTSD.

              USAF Retired!

              Can you advise (HELP)?

      • Luv a bull says:

        But some of them can be trained to be a service dog

      • Joshua Harding says:

        I agree. I personally think German Shepherds are a great candidate.

      • Nancy Bailey says:

        Many can.

      • Jen C says:

        A lot of shelter dogs make excellent companions and love deeply. They have the makings to be very loyal, appreciative and to love hard.

      • R MUSSELWHITE says:

        You’re right Chris not just any dog can be a service dog but shelter animals have just as much of a chance as any other animal does as far as the training goes.

      • Carla says:

        I beg to differ! We have a local org that is doing exactly that! It is called Veteran k9 Solutions. They help vets select an appropriate dog from the local shelter or rescue if they do not have their own. Partnered with master trainers and well experienced volunteers the vet is taught how to train their dog. As a team the dog and vet go through k9 Good citizen and other test points. At the end of the training the dog must be able to test and pass skills performance, manners and obedience. The vet must demonstrate the skills to properly care for their K9 and the ability to immediately correct inappropriate behaviors. Upon satisfactory completion of the program (the better part of a year)the dog & vet are provided an organizational patch to be displayed on the k9’s vest. Check out They are truly changing lives, one vet and one dog at a time.

      • JJ says:

        Some stray dogs make the best service dogs around! I’ve been training strays to be service dogs for the past five years!!

        • Kerry says:

          Could you please let me know if you can help me with my dilemma I have a dog already I am curious if she is too old to train or if it is possible.

      • Shane Whitecloud says:

        Chris is absolutely correct. As a Veteran with a service dog, people need to understand that there is a huge difference between service animals and therapy animals. Service animals are trained from puppies to perform a service. They are put through intense, specific training and then a lot of licensing requirements. You can’t take an adult dog from the shelter, teach it to sit and call it a service dog. A therapy dog, or emotional support dog, only requires documentation from a mental health provider. A service dog requires ADA certifications and licensing documentation that can only be given upon completion of each stage of the service training. For example, seeing eye dogs are service dogs that are trained from puppies for the sole purpose of providing a service to a blind person. A shelter dog would not be able to perform those same functions without the years of training required. People get this confused all the time and seem to think that any animal can be a service dog, which devalues the years of intense training and the thousands of dollars that go into acquiring the proper certifications and licenses.

        This article needs to be reworded to cover therapy animals, also known as emotional support animals.

      • EJ says:

        As a trainer, I completely agree. Not all ”companion dogs” qualify as service animals. Their intelligence AND temperament are vitally important. These dogs must be calm & focused.

      • Linda says:

        Sometimes you can, it depends on the dog, their personality, and their experiences. An experienced trainer can train the right shelter animal to be a service dog.

      • Jim says:

        True not every dog can be a service dog but every dog deserves the opportunity to show they have what it takes. My dog comes from a rescue and I’m sure when we are done training she will be an excellent service dog.

      • Amy Stryker (LuvABull) says:

        Chris, I disagree. Every dog’s goal is to please their pack. I have rescued dogs for more than 20 years. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I thought I saved them…but in reality, they have saved me. Never discount a rescue or shelter dog, they know they are getting a second chance. Once they have bonded, they will lay down their life for their pack. You can teach an old dog new trick, IMHO…b/c I have done it♥️🐾🐾♥️

      • Chris Corry says:

        I did just that, I rescued a pit bull from my local shelter and he ended up being the second pit bull service dog allowed in the City of Denver. Jethro just passed so I got another dog from the shelter and he is doing just fine. You do have to find one with the right temperment.

      • Laurie says:

        You right but a lot of puppies & young dogs from shelters can be. My service dog I rescued in Bahrain & he l7ved until 18

  2. Becky Brown says:

    Yay please use Shelter dogs they need the veterans as much as veterans need them. We at Brown Paws Rescue have a beautiful story about Red a shelter dog that was adopted by a young serviceman and it warms my heart to see them together :)This is awesome !

  3. marilyn boehm says:

    GREAT news! So glad this passed.

  4. nancy says:

    I do hope consideration is given to careful wording and guidelines for veterans to qualify for a service dog, otherwise an onslaught of possible side effects are possible for the dogs wellbeing. There is no question about mental health benefits, but service dog language itself needs to undergo some changes and be updated and unified across all federal platforms. Otherwise this could escalate further confusion and cause an unprepared veteran problems out and about in public possibly unfamiliar with their state and county laws much less federal. The Veterans Administration has their own federal guidelines and each local administration has been allowed through their own policy to police their own. This has caused problems with access allowing veterans into medical facilities, etc. All of this needs to be taken into consideration for the health and wellbeing of both the Veteran and the wellbeing of the service dog. Establishments need training not just the dog and handler!

    • Elizabeth Ormerod says:

      Thank you for your very considered points. Very careful planning and protocols are indeed required, Dr Elizabeth Ormerod, SCAS UK

    • Vincent says:

      Absolutely agree!

      • Tammy McGuigan says:

        Thank you Dr. As a veteran with PTSD, my mom gave me a Bichon puppy when I retired from the military. She’s four years old and is great in the morning but has anxiety the rest of the day which doesn’t help me at all. She goes nuts when strangers are either driving by our house or the mail persons drop off mail or packages. I love her but she really stressed me out. I’m disabled and confined to a wheelchair now. Before I was in the chair, she was not so nervous. I would love for a trainer to help me train her but it costs too much for us. Any advice you have would be great.
        Retired SFC Mcguigan from Camden NC

    • Gary Reick says:

      Your. Points are good but let us not put so much red tape and regulations on things that nothing can get done or delayed for 10years

      Yes watch out for problems but help our vets and dogs

      • nancy says:

        Agree Gary. I speak from a place of supporting Veterans. We need them carefully paired for the best outcome. I have groups on FB and Linkedin that supports this discussion around service dogs for veterans.

      • Mindy says:

        I have a husband who is a veteran. I think he needs a service dog and all other veterans too!

    • Marilyn Hernandez says:

      I agree. Our wonderful Vets deserve all the help there is. Dogs are also wonderful but are USED so often by humans but not protected by humans. Dogs must never be placed with anyone who becomes violent, emotional trauma is also harmful. Dogs must be protected also. They will give and give but can be traumatized by violence and emotional abuse.

    • Carol J Livingstone says:

      Agreed! I think this program is heading in the right direction, but this description of it really muddles the difference between true service animals — who are trained to a specific task — and emotional support animals — whose presence is calming to the owner. It sounds to me that this program is to train emotional support animals, not service animals.

      • Karin Fahey says:

        There definitely is a difference. I am United States Navy Veteran as was my husband who recently passed away with Glioblastoma Brain Cancer. I have been in need for awhile/ I have found a wonderful equine therapy and i think horses can heal too. Service animal versus emotional support animal is way different. Mini horses make great emotional support animals and can be used for therapy. Horses are trained to potty on demand or they wear a bag. The horse poop does not stink like dogs poop does. Just saying!

    • Lee Ann Lasher says:

      Well said Nancy. Let’s not forgot our other Veterans that needs Service Dogs (SD) for medical and physical reasons. They to need to be trained and given the same as our Veterans with Behavior Health issues such as PTSD.

      Lee Ann Lasher
      Co-Chair K9 PTSD Program American Legion Kuttawa KY

    • Mary says:

      Policies need to be in place to protect the dog and make sure the vet can provide for the animal. In our local community, there is housing for Veterans and they bring in dogs all the time. Dogs who roam the streets, who are short-chained in front of the residence without food, water or shelter, dogs who receive no veterinary services, who are not walked or socialized. There is NO effort made to oversee the conditions the dogs are placed in. Most of the vets want pit bulls and do not make sure they are “family” friendly. Any animal chained up on a short chain and ignored will become angry and frustrated. The many dogs come and go. It is heartbreaking for an animal lover to see this lack of compassion or care. NO, local authorities will NOT step in. First, make sure the Vet is capable of responding to the needs of the animal. Education is the key. Second, put a plan of care in place for the dog, make sure vaccinations are kept up to date, inspect regularly {scheduled as well as unscheduled} to ensure the dog is being treated well and can interact with the Vet -not chained up – dogs are wonderful companions and our service people deserve all the help they can get.

    • Penelope Jupiter Zela says:

      Oh God are you really more concerned about the Dogs than our Veteran HUMANS? OMG. Is this bill for dogs or people?

      • Nancy says:

        No Penelope at least in my comment I support the two as a team. Service dogs are partners of the person and that is how the union needs to be unless it’s just emotional support which is valuable also, but the dog is based at home without public access. We (my company Service Dog Nation) just want to make sure those unions are the right fit with protections for both the dog and the person. What I am referring to is the current language as written into the different Federal Agencies now vary and that variance can be very difficult when out in public. It’s wonderful news to hear this is happening, it’s something many of us have worked hard for, we just want it safe for all. Not just the dogs but the two as a team.

      • Eric says:

        Because of my illness I was unable to keep my dog. I gave her up and it was a horrible set back to learn that I’m not well enough to have a dog not even. A well trained service dog

    • Cynthia McGuire says:

      Many things need to be addressed, certainly, but it’s a step in the right direction. Many veterans will be getting the dogs and benefitting from that but the dogs will be big winners also.

    • Timothy says:

      Meh, just give us good dogs and don’t destroy the program with loads of bureaucratic meddling.

    • Rida Budde says:

      I agree with your comments. My 81-year-old husband was finally diagnosed with PTSD after leaving the Navy in 1965 following 10 years of service. His service dog was a rescue from a reputable shelter. They both underwent training through a local organization made up of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. There are lots of misconceptions about service dogs even at the local V.A. health center.

  5. Joaquin Juatai says:

    According to, this bill has NOT passed. Rep. Stivers made a motion for it to be placed on the House calendar on Jan. 9, 2020.

    This bill needs a lot of work. I am a disabled Veteran who uses a task trained Service Dog, and the PAWS Act does not meet MY needs, or the needs of many of my fellow Veterans.

    • Amanda D says:

      This bill is meant for veterans who are “treatment resistant” to the VA’s conventional means (CPT/CBT and PE) for PTSD and or TBI. Currently, the VA will cover the cost for a service connected veteran’s service dog for physical disability. They currently do not cover this cost for a veteran service connected concerning mental health. The VA feels as though there is not enough evidence (or research if you will) to reflect the efficacy of the service dog on PTSD symptoms. Although I beg to differ because I just spent the last three months reading peer reviewed articles about these very studies. All of them point to two things (there were other themes as well), veterans receiving a service dog do and have shown vast improvements in PTSD symptoms, and there is a need for more empirical studies.
      The whole point of H.R. 4305 is to direct the VA to establish this pilot program and report the data. The data will guide them as to whether service dogs are an effective treatment or, co-treatment if you will. If the VA believes the data points to effectiveness, then it becomes a little more difficult for them to say they won’t pay for this effective treatment.
      So, no, this bill does not reflect the guidance of your ‘task trained service dog’ because the VA already accepts that as a means of treatment for your disability. But for the record, PTSD/TBI service dogs are also task trained.

  6. Sharon says:

    This is sooooo wonderful.thanks for passing bill, it means so much for all our service people .

  7. Pam Fogt says:

    Tuesday and Captain Luis Carlos Montalvan
    Would say its about time and thank you
    Pam Fogt

  8. Bob says:

    I retired in ’98. Been trying to get a service dog for over 10 years. Multiple TBI’s resulting in epilepsy. PTSD. Totally disabled.
    Yes. I contacted lots of the Vet Service Dog trainers/providers. Wait another 3-5 years? I spent a long time with one organization, in the beginning, filling out and mailing my way through their layers of screening questionnaires. In the end they wanted a video. I had no way to make a video. I quit.
    I’m not holding my breath for this to happen in my lifetime. 🇺🇸

    • Nell says:

      Agreed! This bill needs alot of refining to be realistic. There are so many restrictions, requirements etc. that ppl really needing a service dog can’t obtain one in a free, timely manner. Before you say “this is amazing” read the bill. It’s an election year…

    • Karin Fahey says:

      Sorry Bob, try calling your local Veteran’s assistance center. They have many resources for you!

  9. Kate says:

    As a female Veteran with severe PTSD, I would love to have this here in Kansas

  10. Suzanne says:

    Yes PTSD is one of the most recognized need for a service dog. But more help for other reasons for need for a service dog shud be included! My husband needs one for migraine detection,(like stroke) depression, and stubillity .But has been turned down for help because PTSD was not main reason!

    • Amy Trickett says:

      My husband served in Vietnam. He has a lot of health issues. We are renting but can’t have a dog. I told him several times to get one, but he didn’t want to go through all the drama with the landlord concerning it.


        there should be no drama, all you should need to obtain is a letter from doctor that the dog is instrumental in assisting your husband maintain the optimal health benefits, and under FAIR Housing Act, the landlord HAS to allow the animal. Not sure where you live but in Washington State, the landlord cannot even charge a pet deposit either.

      • Mt says:

        What would a dog do to help anyway?

    • Paul Ware says:

      I am being medically retired from active duty Army after spending the majority of my adult life In the service starting at age 19 I am 53. I was recently diagnosed with early dementia. I did not qualify for a service dog because my PTSD was not severe enough to be service connected. My second deployment I served as a operating RN and seen a lot of death. After that deployment I self referred to psychiatry when I returned to Germany and was diagnosed with depression and still being treated today. By far service dogs and living with a dog is the best therapy there is. I was fortunate enough to purchase a pure bred Labrador puppy that was a natural therapy dog with zero training. I think what you are all doing is extremely important for our wounded warriors and their family members. God Bless you all.

  11. Anthony Cesario says:

    Well said
    I have been on a list for years.
    Never received a call back after many attempts.
    I decided to try on my own.
    Everything seems to get me in trouble for doing this on my own.
    I lost a good friendship with Lon Hodge and Gander his service dog because of how I’m training ECHO The Illinois law allows service dogs in training the same rights as service dogs. They mentioned PAWS the waiting list and finding the right dog could take years.
    You have brought up some very important issues. How can we solve problems before they happen I believe the true test is being involved 110 present and having training with experts and keeping your dog with during the training. The bond is amazing but I need help and soon that has been very difficult. The cost of training is coming out of my disability checks. The cost is nothing compared to what I am receiving. My Anxiety is up and ECHO helps but I worry that I’m not doing everything correctly and I need help.
    If you have anyone that is willing to help me train ECHO for my PTSD, BI-POLAR and high blood pressure etc contact me at
    847 751 1212
    Anthony Cesario USMC
    1139 Thornwood court
    Lake Zurich, illinois 60047
    ECHO is a year old has already been socialized. I have been drug free for over 28 years. I bring ECHO to AA meetings.
    LOL Echo has 1 year of sobriety
    He has already helped others and myself.
    I just would love to have a professional Service Dog Trainer take the rest of the way to making him a Service Dog.
    I will explain the problem I had with Lon Hodge and Gander his service dog or we can let that go but I believe its important we know our rights. My cost in court was $2,600 just to prove I have the rights to bring a service dog in training to the same places service dogs are admitted. The person that took me to court was Lon Hodge we no longer talk and I can’t even trust him anymore.
    I raised thousands of dollars for operation Fetch over the years.
    My sharing this could be used against me.
    I hope everyone who reads this will understand when you stand for the law
    Your not standing alone.

  12. Markus says:

    Yes. First, there is a lot more to being a service dog than just tasks involved with PTSD! The law should include other types of service such as mobility, sight, hearing, etc tasks that service dogs are currently trained for. If you get a PTSD Only trained dog but you can’t see, what good does that do for you beyond PTSD?What about training and access for those service dogs?

    Second, let me give a shout out to Victory Service Dogs in Colorado Springs. If a vet lives near there, they can help you train your own dog for PTSD, mobility, etc. Word to the wise, don’t go out and get a dog to train NOT completely understanding WHAT characteristics you NEED in a service dog. A lab who is real birdy or has a strong prey drive isn’t it. So do your homework first!

    Finally, Talk to some trainers and organizations that actually train service dogs before you get a puppy or dog to train. And ask yourself are you ready for a dog who will be attached to your hip?Do you have a fenced yard? How many dogs do you have already? Are you serious about training yourself and the dog for probably 1-2 years AND refresher training? Can you afford the dog with vet bills, food, etc? Trust me, it’s like having a child. In the end, it is worth it!

    • Paige says:

      It’s not like having a child.

      • Kimberly Luce says:

        Yes it is page!
        They are very much like a child. The dog is with you 24/7. They depend on you as much as you depend on them to be their in your moments of need.

        • Gloria 🐾 says:

          Well said Kimberly! I totally agree with you. Dogs are the best, wonderful companions, you never feel alone when you’ve got a dog they are your best friend and family.

  13. Robert Fourniadis says:

    Please keep posting on the progress. I am a member of a philanthropic organization that has, as one of its many endeavors, a program that raises funds to sponsor service dogs for veterans. Ahepa-service Thanks for proving this information.

  14. Diane says:

    How so? What is the program missing?

  15. BILL SUDDUTH says:

    How would a veterans such as my self be abke to sign up for this program i have severe PTSD so a service dog woukd be great to have , other wise i have ti resort to being medicatied and staying in my own house, im not able to travel or go.out into public places do to my PTSD.

  16. Pam Barnett says:

    Pam Barnett
    Learn seven years ago to start training the veterans before they got a dog then once they get a dog to your program once a week continuing education. Works great!
    Gives the veterans time to become a family of their own with the other veterans in the club

  17. Tianna says:

    I’m really confused… I was already a part of a service dog pilot through the VA and received a service dog. They did this already! I’m glad to hear they’re still advocating for it though– my service dog changed my life in the just positive way!!

    • Caryl Swain says:

      Was this the study that Canine Companions for Independence was involved in? I am a puppy raiser for the organization & one of the dogs I raised graduated in this study. So happy to hear that it all turned out great for you.

  18. Lori says:

    It’s nice that this way of Veterans learning training with potential service dog is being recognized. Our MI based company has been doing this for 5 plus years. As well as getting veterans a dog when needed at no charge. The VA does not recognize us as we are nonprofit but not accredited due to the hugh cost, and we won’t charge our clients in anyway unless they break their contract. Smaller company trainers aren’t recognized, only the larger who charge exuberant amounts….this is so wrong.

  19. Cathie says:

    Meanwhile, Vietnam War Veteran who lives with his PTSD dog, Diamond, at Freedom’s Path on the Chillicothe VA Medical Center campus in Ohio. Recently, the 73-year-old veteran received a threatening anonymous letter that asked him to move out. The letter said:

    “Willie, it’s time for you and your dog to go. You will no longer be tolerated. Move out.”

    He’s been told by officials and their lawyers if he doesn’t get rid of the dog he will be homeless.

  20. Saunnymeyer says:

    Thank you. How do you get one.

  21. Lynn Martin says:

    Check out The Laws Under the American Disability Act and read about service animals. Last time I checked it said you can train your own dog.

  22. Lee Ann Lasher says:

    Well said Nancy. Let’s not forgot our other Veterans that needs Service Dogs (SD) for medical and physical reasons. They to need to be trained and given the same as our Veterans with Behavior Health issues such as PTSD.

    Lee Ann Lasher
    Co-Chair K9 PTSD Program American Legion Kuttawa KY

  23. Frances Leard says:


  24. Kevin Graves says:

    Better write your Senators or it will lie dormant (Due) in the Senate

  25. Kimberly Luce says:

    I think this is well over due. A clear and concise “title” with all its rights must be designated for those Veterans needing a dog for PTSD. The American with Disabilities Act only gives full rights to dogs who “complete tasks” for individuals with disabilities. For example the Veteran is blind, mobility impaired, hearing impaired etc.
    It is a very touchy subject for Veterans needing a dog for the “invisible wounds” such as PTSD.
    I have been cursed with this awe full diagnosis and many more. Looking at me you would not label me as disabled – but I am. I went out and got a dog after my third deployment. She was a natural as far as caring for my needs. I sought help through my physician but was guided to getting my dog registered as an emotional support animal. This does NOT give my dog the same rights as a true service animal. The Vet Centers have denied soldiers the right to bring emotional support dogs to counseling appointments. I don’t know about anyone else in this forum but when I do my sessions I end up a ball of emotions during and after my appointment. This is when I need her the most!
    Veterans with PTSD should have their own category title for their use. Meaning the dog is for Psychological purposes and being given the rights as a full service animal.
    I 100% agree it is the handler who needs to know how to give a command to their dog. Education is key here! Also the handler must also be educated in caring for their dog – what is acceptable and what is not (ie leaving them chained up, as stated in an earlier post).
    I would love to become a trainer, I would love to help other Veterans learn how to train their dogs.
    My dog even though registered as emotional support has gotten me through a lot of situations such as:
    Being able to leave my house
    Helping me socialize with strangers
    Wakes me up when I’m having nightmares
    Likes my face and wakes me during bouts of sleep apnea
    Comforts me when I am upset or crying and has done the same for others in my company
    And so much more……..

    In my eyes, she does conduct tasks and does service me in many different aspects of what PTSD has done to me.
    I hope this can be put into motion quickly to help many Veterans with PTSD. We need it 💗

  26. Julia Ramirez says:


    This legislation MUST provide funds for the shelters to provide the necessary kennels for the pets. The kennels MUST be cleaned by the pet owner making it safe for the next user. The ckeanibg supplies can also be figured into this legislation. Simple white vinegar is a non toxic anti bacterial cleaner and inexpensive.

    ABOVE ALL…VETERANS SHOULD NEVER, EVER be required to “abandon or give up” their family member (their pet).

  27. Barry Engle says:

    I rescued a Belgium Malinois but the truth is he rescued me if I have a bad dream he wakes me up if I have too much anxiety he comes and pushes on me so I think more about him than myself it really is great he’s a great dog trained as a service dog he’s very protective he’s changed my life greatly and I love them

  28. L. Thompson says:

    Thank you!! While our service men and women are the greatest, giving of themselves to help keep our country free, we applaud you! What I’m about to suggest is no where near to the great need of our services men and women, but….. could we also include the men and women of public service example, police, fire fighters, emergency rescue workers, ect, that has also given of themselves, on a much smaller scale, that is afflicted with PTSD,depression, and other mental handicaps. As with our military, you would have to be there to understand. Thank you, again.

  29. Jack Mills says:

    Can we all please set aside partisanship to help our veterans and man’s best friend?

    Please contact your Senator and ask for FAST TRACK APPROVAL of K9s for Veterans Therapy Act, S. 2948. This provides a way to help veterans and help man’s best friend.

    We could literally see dogs rescued from shelters that are fully capable of helping a veteran that needs a service animal.

    JBM, CMSGT(ret)

    • Rev Leslie says:

      Fantastic. Thanks for sharing. Here on Long Island, NYS, there are a few rescue organizations that focus on taking dogs from shelters and pounds and matching them with vets. Once matched, the programs are ongoing so that the new teams always have the support they need. I will contact my Senators on behalf of your request.

  30. Brenda Robinson says:

    I have shared this information with the Canadian Veterans Association. I hope they introduce a program like this in Canada. A definite win/win situation! Thank you for sharing!

  31. Bill Sherman says:

    I’m a disabled Vet and picked out a rescue dog at10 weeks old. Trained him and I through Dogs4Vets (American Service Animal Society) in Gilbert, AZ. My quality of life has improved, my marriage has improved and no longer suicidal or depressed. ASAS is truly amazing for disabled Vet’s and there is NO cost to the Vet either. I’m blessed beyond words.

    • Rev Leslie says:

      Utterly fantastic, Bill. Those of us who have these animals in our lives know first-hand what it means when the quality of our lives are changed for the good and even if our lives are saved. Thank you for sharing a beautiful story. There is so much more “thinking-compassion” in this world that we never hear about, like these win-win situations between people-in-need and animals-in-need. I just find, when I ask, “how can I help?” and apply this question in light of how many resources are available, there is so much more “win-win-win-win . . .” enjoyed as a result. Someone pointed out to me once that, if my dog made me smile, and then I felt smiley all day, others end up feeling it too. EVERYone wins!!! HURRAY 🥰 ! ! ! Blessings, love, & compassion to you & yours.

  32. Rev Leslie says:

    Excellent news!!!

  33. Lorre says:

    Many shelter dogs have ptsd from trauma too, so they would be a perfect match for traumatized soldiers.

  34. Cherry Jenkins says:

    Our organization In Dog We Trust San Antonio have been assessing dogs and training them for veterans since 2013, except we train the dogs WITH the veterans the dogs are not pretrained so the dogs bond with the handler which is crucial for service dog training, and like the above comment, not every dog can make it, We can pass 20 kennels before we can pick that diamond in the rough.

  35. Kemra says:

    How can I help?

  36. Carol Kuietauskas says:

    Would like more info on how to get my fiance on list. Also if he just saved a puppy does he get to bring done of choice for program.

  37. Kathryn kut says:

    I have a friend/veteran suffering from PTSD who has been denied one. What should I do for him?

  38. Sgt. Stephen Jones odsvet says:

    I’m a combat vetwhom has gone to a rescue for my service dog that I am training myself I think it is possible vets to Succeed training your self with some education for myself it’s very therapeutic having a purpose again with a certification system the worst that could happen is the certification would not be completed Vet and dog both win No matter what There’s definitely not a shortage of either If a dog can help you get through the day it’s performing a service for you no matter what anyone thinks!

  39. Amanda D says:

    I’ve spent a little bit of time looking and this website is one of the better ones that I’ve found that seems to have organization, structure, and know how.
    Unfortunately it does take some time to receive a service dog. I applied for mine last year in June 2019. I’m still waiting to hear if I’ve been approved but COVID has slowed things down. However, in the mean time, i know that the organization I’ll be working with is working with my dog and 11 other veterans dogs, so when we meet in the fall he or she is already a working dog. We’ll spend 10 days on site bonding and working with each other, becoming a team.
    Other organizations do their training differently but this was the way I preferred to go about getting a service dog.
    This link will also help you understand all about the ways a service dog can be obtained.

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