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For many veterans, it can be hard to return to normal life, performing daily activities, connecting with others, or managing stress of what they've been through. Trained service animals offer a way to manage the symptoms of PTSD without resorting to the antipsychotics often prescribed to these veterans. Millions of animals, meanwhile, sit in shelters and foster homes, waiting for a place to call a home of their own.
Congress has acknowledged this discrepancy with the Dog Training Therapy Act, legislation that directs the Department of Veteran Affairs to carry out a pilot program to train service dogs for veterans in need of therapeutic care for post-deployment mental health. Such a pilot would lay the groundwork for a large-scale program that could benefit the hundreds of thousands of veterans suffering from PTSD.
Rather than prescribing more pills, this legislation provides veterans with alternative care that can be integral to their recovery. Sign in support of a service dog pilot program for veterans coping with PTSD.
Dear General Eric Shinseki, USA, (Ret.):
It's no secret that many of our dedicated soldiers are coming home with the wounds of war. And some of these wounds don't bear visible scars: depression, combat flashbacks, and PTSD. Often, coming home from battle can mean returning to another, more perilous war at home — a war inside the mind and one that cannot be won without help from outside sources.
That's why the Dog Training Therapy Act is so important. This piece of legislation would help train service dogs for veterans in need of therapeutic care for post-deployment mental health and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. With over 6,000 veterans committing suicide each year — the number one cause of death for our veterans today — we must consider all possible alternatives, including therapy dogs.
Given your own military experience, you understand the importance of taking care of a nation's veterans. And as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, you are in the best position to do so. Lend your support to a pilot program that provides therapy animals to veterans.