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It is our turn to act! The Puppies Assisting Wounded Service members (PAWS) for Veterans Therapy Act, H.R. 1448, passed in the House and moved to the Senate.


May 20, 2021 |

Col. Sam Harper, Dogsport Reconnaissance


I don’t keep up with legislation the way my daughter does but this service dog bill sure caught my eye with this statement, “These men and women fought to protect the American way of life…With the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act, we can make sure that they’re able to enjoy the things they fought to make possible.” ~ Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio.



Veterans will finally get more help in obtaining service dogs through the Veterans Therapy Act, H.R. 1448 {Ref #1}, led by Stivers and Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y. The act passed the House with 317 cosponsors. That’s like a company salute! Now it goes to the Senate.


I called the editor about covering “Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers” which is nicknamed PAWS. She said “absolutely” but there was a pause and then she explained about losing our rights due to the cleverly named animal rights legislation also known as PAWS. That was in 2005 and so hopefully no confusion over acronyms.


Mrs. Andrews said Republican Thom Tillis (NC) is leading the bill along with Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. “BJ” Andrews lives in NC and she sent me this quote by Tillis ~ “Our veterans deserve every tool in the toolbox when it comes to their mental health, which is why I’m proud that this legislation encourages dog training therapy for veterans.


The bill moved to the U.S. Senate March 1, 2021 so give your state reps a shove… I think it is part of the “Veterans Therapy Act”, S. 613 (IS) - Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers {Ref #2}


Me and my buddies hope you will actively support Veterans Therapy Act, H.R. 1448, preferably hard-mailing a short note to your Senator and following up with a call or email to make sure he or she received it. Frank said they always say they did so politely ask for their quotable position or better yet, ask your state rep to email you his or her take and intention to support Senate bill 613, AKA PAWS.  Here's instant!!! Contact Information for ii YOUR Governor, Senators, and Congressional Representatives.


Here’s the deal in short form, the Senate bill requires DVA (Department of Veterans Affairs) to start or support a pilot program. It says they need about $10 million to “cover the cost of pairing disabled veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with service dogs.


They are saying it could cost $25,000 per veteran. I called a buddy who trained dogs in the Army and he said it doesn’t cost near that much… but yeah, those “nonprofit organizations” need to get paid so his group will push for enactment of the legislation.


Mrs. Andrews sent me this “clip”, suggesting I include it in my column. So I am…


We applaud Reps. Stivers and Rice for leading the charge on this legislation to pair American heroes with animals who can help them live fuller lives,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action. “Animals help people in so many ways in society, and here’s one extraordinary example of how that happens through the power of the human-animal bond.


What is the cost of a life worth??? According to U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio “every day we lose an estimated … 22 veterans to suicide?”


We can change that by giving these vets work-therapy, getting them involved in training a dog or even a horse for therapy work. Stivers is “confident that our true bipartisan collaboration will soon result in offering more veterans the treatment they need to heal.” The Center for a Humane Economy, American Humane, and K-9’s for Warriors also back the service dogs bill.



The editor also told me about horses which she said can’t be by a veteran’s side like a dog but that they are exceptional mental and mobility therapy for struggling veterans. Later that day she sent me info on this veteran’s group.


Animal Wellness Action has, over the past several years, secured $5 million in federal grant funding for the Veterans Affairs’ Adaptive Sports Grant Program {Ref #3} that provides funding for equine-assisted therapy of veterans with PTSD and other mental and physical conditions.


For more information, contact Marty Irby at 202-821-5686 or by email;

Animal Wellness Action, 611 Pennsylvania Ave SE #136, Washington, District of Columbia 20003, USA.


{1} Veterans Therapy Act, H.R. 1448  {2} S.613 (IS) Puppies Assisting Wounded Service members  {3} Veteran's Affairs EST 2002 © May 2021



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