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 relive the stress induced and frightful memories through Post Traumatic Stress Disorder & Post Traumatic Stress Injury other wise 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 they 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 service men 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 a strong and resounding bipartisan support on the House floor with 324 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle as 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, mans 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.

The beauty of this program 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 successfully complete training by the eligible organization.

Our American culture can no longer afford to turn our backs out of negligence when it comes to 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 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. If this bill passes the Senate, the VA has 120 days to implement the program.