Service dogs can be a big help to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. But the wait for an animal can take up to three years. Senator John Cornyn is hoping to change that. He brought his message to Houston on the eve of Veterans Day.
Senator Cornyn is cosponsoring the Puppies Assisting Wounded Service Members (PAWS) Act. The bill would set up a pilot program through the Department of Veterans Affairs, which would cover the costs of training service dogs for veterans with PTSD.
"Part of what we owe them is that when they take off the uniform and they become a civilian that we help them with that transition," said Cornyn, after meeting with veterans and animals paired by the Texas-based non-profit Patriot PAWS Service Dogs. "And this is just one small way we can help them make that transition in a way they can live full lives and productive lives, rather than live alone, tormented by some of these invisible wounds of war."
Lori Stevens, the executive director of Patriot PAWS, said her organization gets as many as 400 requests for service dogs a month. Training each animal takes up to two-and-a-half years.