Can Veterans Get A Service Dog
- October 15, 2021
Applicant’s with a PTSD diagnosis are required to be in current ongoing therapy and have been under the consistent care of a Mental Health Professional for a minimum of 1 year, prior to applying.Also eligible are professionals working with Military organizations that provide physical or mental health care to clients who will benefit from interaction with an Assistance Dog.If you are a veteran or first responder who is interested in applying for a guide dog, please review the following information to determine if you meet our eligibility requirements.— this includes your dog, transportation to and from our campus in Smithtown, New York, instruction, and more.If you have any questions about our programs, please reach out to the America's VetDogs Consumer Service office at 866-282-8047 or [email protected] .
The use of emotional support animals and therapy animals has risen dramatically over the years and has provided an important benefit to many within the veteran community.Service animals:.Are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and afforded rights to enter public establishments.Even though therapy animals and emotional support animals may be very well trained and properly behaved, they are still not qualified service animals and do not have the same access rights.The problem is, however, that no such registry exists, and even with a vest, non-service animals are still not legally afforded the same access rights.According to the ADA, “service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” The dog must not be a pet but is to be specially trained to assist the handler with tasks directly related to his or her disability.Is the dog indeed a service animal and required to assist with a disability?Handlers of service dogs cannot be charged more money because of their dogs nor can they be denied the rights and access granted to those without service animals.Service dogs should not be petted, fed or otherwise given attention while at work.In some cases, VA benefits will cover service dogs.Veterans need to meet with their health care provider to discuss their physical or mental health limitations to determine if a service dog will be an appropriate treatment approach.Working service dogs prescribed by the Department of Veterans Affairs are provided veterinary care and equipment through the VA Prosthetic & Sensory Aids Service.In 2016, the Center for Compassionate Care Innovation partnered with the VA Offices of Mental Health Services and Prosthetic & Sensory Aids Service to extend eligibility for veterinary care, travel support, specialized equipment and travel support to veterans with chronic mobility issues associated with a mental health disorder, to include help with costs involved with caring for their service dogs when they receive them from an approved agency accredited by Assistance Dogs International.Could your dog be a service dog?Many people wish they could take their pet everywhere with them.Among the many program that the Trust supports are several that deal with service dogs and other types of service animals.Dogs.NEADS Inc.: Supports ill and injured veterans in securing a trained service dog through the Service Dogs for Veterans program.Other animals. .
Veterans Can Train, Adopt Service Dogs Under New PAWS Law
As Chief of Staff and General Counsel of K9s For Warriors, Dodson serves as the chief personnel manager and legal advisor.She feels blessed that her diverse legal and management experience has allowed her to help K9s For Warriors carry out its mission.There, she tried first-degree murder cases while providing counsel directly to the elected State Attorney and managing all aspects of the largest law firm in Northeast Florida (350 government employees). .
Veterans with PTSD could get service dogs from VA under new law
Veteran David Crenshaw and his service dog Doc at a Capitol Hill news conference to promote House bill, H.R.WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed a bill into law that will allow some veterans with mental health conditions to receive service dogs.Previously, the VA only covered some costs of service dogs for veterans with certain physical disabilities, such as blindness, hearing impairment and mobility issues — but not mental health conditions.Some lawmakers and advocates have pushed the VA for years to help veterans with PTSD cover the costs of training service dogs.The study found veterans paired with service dogs experienced a reduction in the severity of their PTSD symptoms, and they exhibited fewer suicidal behaviors and ideations. .
Congress Passes Bill to Help Vets with Mental Health Conditions
A bill to connect more veterans with service dogs trained to support mental health conditions is headed to President Joe Biden's desk."Many veterans with mobility impairments have had their lives changed -- in some cases, saved -- by service dogs," said Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., one of the bill's cosponsors, in a statement Friday."Our bill would expand this treatment by launching a pilot program to make veterans with mental health issues such as depression eligible to receive service dogs."."This pilot program will prove, again, the life-changing impact a service dog can make in mitigating a veteran's symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress," Diamond said in a press release.The PAWS Act that will become law differs from a similar bill currently introduced in Congress that would require the VA to create a grant program to pay for service dogs for veterans with PTSD."Veterans suffering from invisible wounds of war are now one step closer to being afforded the opportunity to seek this unique and scientifically proven treatment through VA," said Bill McCabe, director of Legislative Affairs at The Enlisted Association, in a press release. .
VA Grant Program to Provide Service Dogs for Veterans With PTSD
For veterans, service dogs provide more than just emotional support, especially for people dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).Specialized service dogs not only perform specific tasks that not only help with these conditions, but recent studies show that they can also reduce the amount of medication some veterans require for treatment and alleviate their overall symptoms.Senator Deborah Fischer has introduced a bill to fund service dog programs for veterans diagnosed with PTSD or TBI.Grants would also be available for trainers and programs whose dogs meet the standards established by the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans, which requires passing several levels of AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) tests, in addition to performing tasks that help mitigate the veteran’s specific disability.“This is a fantastic step forward in helping veterans,” says Tom Coleman, Executive Director of Pawsitivity Service Dogs.Veterans with PTSD suffer from a number of conditions including hypervigilance, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and night terrors.“Turning on a light switch when entering a dark room, pulling the covers off of a bed or nudging the bed to wake them during night terrors, standing in front or back of them to give them space in busy settings, and shaking hands with strangers to help them socialize are all tasks that service dogs can perform,” says O’Brien.Service dogs are literally and figuratively opening doors for veterans, allowing them to socialize, go back to work, and even travel.“Peter reports that, after training with Daniel, the relationship has made it possible for him to spend time in public and in his workplace with increased security and confidence.”. .
Is adopting a service dog right for you? What veterans diagnosed
But the agency can recommend veterans work with nonprofits that are members of Assistance Dogs International or the International Guide Dog Federation, coalitions that provide accreditation to organizations who train and place service dogs, to start the process of adopting a service dog.In order to apply for a service dog, veterans typically must submit documentation that they have been diagnosed with PTSD from their military service, conduct a series of interviews over the phone and/or at home with the service dog providers, undergo criminal background checks, and participate in a training course.This is to ensure that Southeastern Guide Dogs knows important information about the applicant up front to prevent wasting a veteran’s time, and the organization’s time if it’s not a right match.Altogether, it can take up to two years for Southeastern Guide Dogs to train the service dogs the organization breeds, Wilburn said.Similar to Southeastern Guide Dogs’ application process, veterans must submit documentation from a physician confirming they have service-connected PTSD.According to Drafts, 85 percent of the dogs K9s for Warriors trains are rescue dogs.According to Drafts, K9s for Warriors has accepted approximately 360 applications in 2019.Once veterans graduate from programs like Southeastern Guide Dogs and K9s for Warriors, they must cover costs associated with having a service animal.Drafts said approximately 38 graduates from the K9s for Warriors program have received approvals for this benefit this year.Service dog vs. emotional support animal.“The big difference between a service dog and an emotional support animal is actually not the dog itself, but the handler,” Rory Diamond, K9s for Warriors CEO, told Military Times.That differs from an emotional support animal that could help anyone “feel better,” regardless of whether the handler has a disability or not, Diamond said.Wilburn also pointed out service dogs have public access rights covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which only recognizes dogs and miniature horses as animals specifically trained to perform tasks for those with disabilities.Groups like K9s for Warriors do not charge veterans going through their program to train and place a service dog.“The PAWS Act would change VA policy completely,” Diamond said, adding this could allow groups to match more veterans with service dogs.The legislation would instruct the VA to establish a grant program to give veterans with PTSD $25,000 vouchers they can use to adopt a service dog, if that organization belongs to the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans.“It’s not just that we’re providing service dogs for veterans,” Drafts said.“We’re here to help any and every veteran.”. .
Service Dogs for Military Veterans
A service dog can help a Military Veteran facing PTSD, anxiety, depression, or any post-war disability.Trained service dogs have solid temperaments, can serve under pressure, and maintain a constant calm demeanor.They are highly intuitive, ensuring that their Veteran is protected against migraines, seizures, or mood-shifts before the person recognizes any symptom.Some service dogs are specially trained to interrupt a night terror, get emergency help, and retrieve items as needed.The disabled-vet-trained service dog provides balance while walking or standing, assists with transfers, can open doors, retrieves items, turns off lights, and alerts the individual to dangerous complications.However, the VA does provide for the veterinary care and needs through the Prosthetics and Sensory Aids Service.We partner with several different organizations in Colorado Springs that provide service dogs to our local Military Veterans.This organization helps veterans affected with PTSD and other disabilities to receive an improved quality of life through a relationship with a service dog.The three core services offered include Transition and Employment assistance, Behavioral Health and Wellness support, and Veteran and Family Resources (non-clinical crisis case management).Carmel also offers support through connections to community resources, monthly food distributions to those in need, and a safe event space. .