The House passed a bill Wednesday that would allow the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to begin a project connecting service dogs and veterans.
The bill, if implemented, could be critical step to improve Veterans’ mental health care.
The Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers for Veterans Therapy Act, authored by Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), would launch a program presenting federal grants to nonprofits providing service dogs to veterans suffering mental health issues. The VA would assess the effectiveness of dog therapy, according to a Stars and Stripes report.
“Our veterans fought for our freedom, and I’ve heard from many veterans who say that’s exactly what their service dog gives them – freedom.” Stivers said. “They’re free to go to restaurants, to fly on planes, to go to the movies, things that post-traumatic stress [disorder] had made impossible.”