Politics

Cornyn Pushes Bill To Help Vets With PTSD Get Service Dogs

Training a service dog to aid a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder can take more than two years

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.

  • Senator John Cornyn at the press conference for Puppies Assisting Wounded Service Members (PAWS) Act (Photo Credit: Andrew Schneider | Houston Public Media)
    Senator John Cornyn at the press conference for Puppies Assisting Wounded Service Members (PAWS) Act (Photo Credit: Andrew Schneider | Houston Public Media)
  • Senator John Cornyn at the press conference for Puppies Assisting Wounded Service Members (PAWS) Act (Photo Credit: Andrew Schneider | Houston Public Media)
    Senator John Cornyn at the press conference for Puppies Assisting Wounded Service Members (PAWS) Act (Photo Credit: Andrew Schneider | Houston Public Media)
  • Vets talking to Cornyn about their service dogs (Photo Credit: Andrew Schneider | Houston Public Media)
    Vets talking to Cornyn about their service dogs (Photo Credit: Andrew Schneider | Houston Public Media)
  • Vets talking to Cornyn about their service dogs (Photo Credit: Andrew Schneider | Houston Public Media)
    Vets talking to Cornyn about their service dogs (Photo Credit: Andrew Schneider | Houston Public Media)
  • John Cornyn speaking with Lori Stevens, founder and Executive Director of Patriot Paws (Photo Credit: Andrew Schneider | Houston Public Media)
    John Cornyn speaking with Lori Stevens, founder and Executive Director of Patriot Paws (Photo Credit: Andrew Schneider | Houston Public Media)
  • Senator John Cornyn greeting vets (Photo Credit: Andrew Schneider | Houston Public Media)
    Senator John Cornyn greeting vets (Photo Credit: Andrew Schneider | Houston Public Media)
  • Veterans and their service dogs ahead of press conference for Puppies Assisting Wounded Service Members (PAWS) Act (Photo Credit: Andrew Schneider | Houston Public Media)
    Veterans and their service dogs ahead of press conference for Puppies Assisting Wounded Service Members (PAWS) Act (Photo Credit: Andrew Schneider | Houston Public Media)

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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