Tuesday, September 26, 2017

PTSD Veterans Change Again With Service Dogs

Veteran: 'Just because we made it home…this fight's not over.'
Andrea McCarren
September 26, 2017

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - A major development played out on Capitol Hill for proponents of a bill helping veterans with PTSD get free service dogs starting next year.

"When I got Axel in 2012, I was on 32 different medications," said Capt. Haag. "Twelve of them were narcotics. I was severely addicted. I was abusing them. I was also drinking heavily."

Today, he has only needed two medications and neither is a narcotic. 
Capt. Jason Haag, U.S. Marine Corps veteran said his service dog changed his life. Photo: Elizabeth Jia, WUSA9
The Subcommittee on Health of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs held its first legislative hearing to discuss the PAWS Act. PAWS stands for Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers. 
To date, the bill, H.R. 2327, has 199 bipartisan co-sponsors in the House. The Senate has also drafted a corresponding bill, S.1014.

If the bill becomes law, then a five-year, $10-million pilot program would begin in 2018. It would grant $25,000 to eligible organizations to raise and train service dogs for veterans in need.

“We’re doing it to save lives,” testified Rep. Ron DeSantis, an original co-sponsor of the PAWS Act. The Republican from Florida added, “If you end up having a veteran where that works well and they stop using some of the prescription drugs, that’s actually going to save a lot of money.”

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REMINDER: Who you are is not changed by how you are. It is all still inside of you. These dogs can remind you of that by giving you love and hope once you see, your life can change again!

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