by James Carafano and Madyson Hutchinson

Congress and the Administration both have roles to play in expanding veterans’ access to services that help heal the wounds of war, both physical and psychological. In 2015, a congressional report on military casualties estimated that approximately 140,000 of America’s veterans deployed post-9/11 suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Standard treatments include cognitive behavioral therapies and psychiatric medications that often produce negative side effects and have even been linked to an increased number of suicides among veterans. Service dogs offer an alternative to traditional treatments by acting as highly trained companions that provide both practical and emotional support to veterans suffering from PTSD. The proposed PAWS Act sets up guidelines to make service dogs an official treatment option for American veterans—an alternative that Congress should support.

About 140,000 of America’s veterans deployed since 9/11 suffer from PTSD. Standard VA treatments have been ineffective, or even made things worse.

Service dogs offer an alternative to traditional treatments as highly trained companions that provide emotional support to veterans suffering from PTSD.

Congress should set up guidelines to make service dogs an official treatment option for American veterans.

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