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Rubio, Fischer, Colleagues Reintroduce PAWS Act

Mar 24, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Deb Fischer (R-NE), and colleagues reintroduced bipartisan legislation to help U.S. veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) Act would help to improve the quality of life for veterans suffering from PTSD by providing them with access to service dogs.
“We can never repay the debt we owe to our nation’s veterans, but we can ensure that they have access to the resources they need to help them live comfortable post-service lives,” Rubio said. “Service dogs have proven to be effective in managing post-traumatic stress disorder and can provide veterans with a sense of confidence, security, and independence. I am proud to support this legislation that would ease the post-service lives of our nation’s veterans.” 
“We are deeply indebted to the veterans who fought for our freedoms,” Fischer said. “For veterans suffering from the invisible wounds of war, service dogs have been shown to provide comfort, hope, and companionship. The PAWS Act would pair more of these men and women with service dogs as they reintegrate into civilian life.”
For a full list of cosponsors and quotes click here
A recent study by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) found that participants who were given service dogs experienced a reduction in their PTSD symptoms and had fewer suicidal behaviors and ideations. PAWS Act cosponsors have long pressed the VA to acknowledge these conclusions. This long-awaited study brings our nation one step closer to getting veterans with PTSD the support they deserve.
The PAWS Act would establish a 3-year program in which the Secretary of Veterans Affairs would provide grants of up to $25,000 per veteran to eligible organizations to pair veterans suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with service dogs. Although the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) covers service dogs for veterans with physical disabilities, it does not currently cover service dogs for veterans with PTSD, despite evidence of the efficacy of service dogs for this type of treatment.  The bill would authorize a total of $10 million to carry out the program from FY 2022 through 2024.