Proposed Legislation Could Make Therapy Dogs Available to Veterans with PTSD

By Staff Writer

Soldiers who have experienced trauma and during battle and currently suffer from post traumatic stress disorder may soon have a new treatment option available to them. U.S. Senator Al Franken has proposed a bill that would make therapy dogs available to veterans with mental disorders.

Studies have found that higher numbers of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are returning with PTSD than in any previous war. While drug rehab and mental health facilities can provide these individuals with effective treatment, many feel embarrassed about the problem and are reluctant to seek help.

Dogs can provide veterans with psychological disorders with another option. Experts say that therapy animals can provide emotional support, particularly for those who avoid seeking therapy.

Joe Dwyer, a therapy dog trainer, said that the animals help soldiers leave behind their memories of the war and reclaim their normal lives. If the bill proposed by Sen. Franken passes, it could make therapy dogs available to a greater number of veterans.