Dogs Save Lives! But You Knew That! Now, Please Tell Congress
Please ask your US representative to cosponsor H.R. 2493, the Wounded Warrior Service Dog Act of 2015. H.R. 2493 would help soldiers and veterans with physical and mental health needs resulting from their service to take back their lives by making it easier to partner them with service dogs.
If you have ever petted a dog, ridden a horse, or had a purring cat asleep on your lap, you know the tremendous sense of well-being that accompanies such interactions. You also know what good social catalysts animals can be—try walking a dog around the block without someone wanting to stop and say hello and give her a pat.
To no one's surprise, we are finding that animals work wonders when they are paired with wounded warriors. We have long known the benefits of dogs who help individuals with physical disabilities. But we are now seeing the transformative effects specially trained dogs can have on members of the military with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), or other mental health issues arising from their military experiences. There is mounting evidence of the tremendous benefits these dogs provide these soldiers and veterans, including increased mobility and independence, improved social interactions, less panic, and greatly reduced stress. In many cases, the individuals are able to eliminate or reduce the medications they take and their quality of life improves tremendously.
Furthermore, the benefits of these pairings are not a one-way street. There is a strong mutual bond of affection and trust between the military members and their canine partners, and many groups that train the dogs rescue them from shelters, thus giving both human and animal a new lease on life.
The need for such dogs is growing and the expenses associated with their care and training are substantial, so we need your help in getting more cosponsors for a bill that will help address this problem. Introduced by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), the Wounded Warrior Service Dog Act of 2015 directs the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs to establish a program to award competitive grants to organizations that train and place service dogs with members of the military and veterans with certain physical and mental health needs, including PTSD. Among other things, the application for a grant must state "the commitment of the organization to humane standards for the animals."
What You Can Do:
Please email, call, or write your US representative and ask that he/she cosponsor H.R. 2493 so that legitimate service dog training programs committed to humane standards will be better able to meet the needs of the many service members and veterans who can benefit from these amazing canine partnerships.
Please be sure to share our "Dear Humanitarian" eAlert with family, friends and co-workers, and encourage them to send a message also. As always, thank you very much for your help!
Senior Policy Advisor