Following the recent enactment of the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers for Veterans Therapy Act (“PAWS”), the Department of Veterans Affairs has taken the next step and designated five VA Medical Centers to implement a pilot program for training canines for eligible veterans with PTSD.
The pilot program will be offered over the next five years at Anchorage VA Medical Center (Alaska), Charles George VA Medical Center (Asheville, North Carolina), Palo Alto VA Medical Center (California), Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital (San Antonio, Texas), and West Palm Beach VA Medical Center (Florida).
The next step is to award grants to non-profit organizations in the five locations noted hereinabove. The organizations which are awarded grant funding will be tasked with training and matching service dogs with veterans.
The objective of this program is to address and alleviate symptoms of PTSD and reduce the average suicide rate of veterans, of which PTSD is a huge contributor. Service dogs have demonstrated the ability to wake an individual up from night terrors or help find an exit in a crowded area, for example.
Avard Law Offices will keep veterans updated as further developments occur in the implementation of PAWS.