Information courtesy of the office of Rep. Jim McGovern
U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-02) today introduced the bipartisan Wounded Warrior Service Dog Act in the House of Representatives.
The bill, HR 2847, would create a competitive grant program for nonprofits that train service dogs for use by veterans. It defines the term “assistance dog” to mean a dog specifically trained to perform physical tasks to mitigate the effects of a disability. This bill authorizes $5 million for each of five fiscal years.
On a recent visit to the nonprofit National Education for Assistance Dog Services (NEADS) campus in Princeton, MA, Rep. McGovern learned about how service dogs are helping to treat veterans with physical disabilities as well as individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress.
Assistance dogs help service men and women lead more independent lives, assisting with mobility and balance, retrieving and carrying objects, responding to sounds, getting help, and providing social interaction and companionship. Trained dogs also offer many therapeutic benefits to soldiers and veterans with post-traumatic stress by elevating their moods, building confidence, and reducing stress, all of which ease the transition back into civilian life.
“With so many veterans returning from war bearing both physical and emotional scars, we must do all we can to provide treatment that works,” Rep. McGovern said. “I was honored to visit NEADS and to see the extraordinary work they do every day. It is my sincere hope that through this program, we can better connect our veterans with service dogs in an effort to ease their transition into civilian life.”
The bill has 12 original cosponsors, including U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). It has been endorsed by the American Legion.