Fact Check

PAWS Act Will Help Veterans with PTSD Get Service Dogs

Biden signed the legislation with bipartisan support.

Published Aug. 26, 2021

 (Screenshot, Kyle Griffin Twitter page)
Image courtesy of Screenshot, Kyle Griffin Twitter page
U.S. President Joe Biden signed legislation that helps veterans with PTSD get service dogs.

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.

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 or someone you know is experiencing a mental health, suicide or substance use crisis or emotional distress, reach out 24/7 to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) by dialing or texting 988 or using chat services at suicidepreventionlifeline.org to connect to a trained crisis counselor.


Hernandez, 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, https://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.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more