U.S. President Joe Biden signed legislation on Aug. 25, 2021, that allows veterans to train and then adopt service dogs trained to help veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The new law, Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers, or PAWS Act, was passed with bipartisan support in Congress.
Today, President Biden signed the PAWS Act into law, which requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide Service Dog training to veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 26, 2021
According to the law’s text, placing a service dog with a veteran costs approximately $25,000. But research indicates these dogs can literally save lives by ameliorating the symptoms of PTSD and thus preventing veteran suicides.
Under the law, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will partner with nonprofit organizations like K9s for Warriors, which provides service dogs to disabled veterans. It will give the veterans dogs to train that they will then have the opportunity to adopt.
Service dogs help people with various disabilities navigate life. In the case of PTSD, the service dogs — which can be any breed and, in the case of K9s for Warriors, are often shelter rescues — are trained to do specific tasks that alleviate depression and anxiety. Tasks include interrupting panic attacks and provide assurance by providing physical cover to a veteran in the types of situations that trigger their PTSD.
If you need help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. Or contact Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
SourcesHernandez, Joe. “Veterans Can Train And Adopt Service Dogs Under A New Law Signed By Biden.” NPR, 26 Aug. 2021. https://www.npr.org/2021/08/26/1031285993/veterans-can-train-and-adopt-service-dogs-under-a-new-law-signed-by-biden.Nieforth, Leanne, and Marguerite E. O’Haire. “Service Dogs Can Help Veterans with PTSD – Growing Evidence Shows They May Reduce Anxiety in Practical Ways.” The Conversation, 26 March 2021, http://theconversation.com/service-dogs-can-help-veterans-with-ptsd-growing-evidence-shows-they-may-reduce-anxiety-in-practical-ways-156550.H.R.1022 – 117th Congress (2021-2022): PAWS Act of 2021. 22 Mar. 2021, https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1022/text.