Clint introduces our guest speaker      Jessica Mendoza
 
Jessica is Development Manager, Major Gifts at K9s For Warriors.
 
She noted that K9s for Warriors is the largest trainer of Dogs in the US.
All dogs used are rescue dogs. If for any reason the dogs are untrainable or don't get along with the veteran then they find a home for the dogs.
 
Dogs are trained in 5 to 8 months. They learn phrases like, got my 6, meaning to check out what's behind the veteran. They also are trained to wake up the veteran if they are going through night terror.
 
One veteran was able to attend his son's high school football game with the service dog by his side. Dogs help with PTSD. 
 
Only mid sized dogs are used for the program as some vets need to lean on the dogs for support. After training then comes the bonding of the dog to the vet. This takes around 21 days. 
 
The waiting list to get a trained dog is now out to 2026.
 
K9s are connected to the paws act

Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers Act of 2021 or the PAWS Act of 2021

This bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement a grant program for the purpose of pairing service dogs with eligible veterans. Organizations that receive grants must provide veterinary health insurance coverage, hardware, and travel expenses for each service dog and veteran participating in the program.

Eligible veterans are those who (1) are enrolled in the VA health care system, (2) have been evaluated and treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but remain diagnosed with PTSD, (3) may benefit from a service dog, and (4) agree to successfully complete training provided by an eligible organization. Veterans are required to see a VA health care provider at least once every six months to determine whether the veteran continues to benefit from a service dog.

Eligible organizations are nonprofit organizations that

  • provide service dogs to veterans with PTSD,
  • meet publicly available standards set forth by the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans,
  • have expertise in the needs of veterans with PTSD,
  • agree to cover all costs in excess of the grant amount to guarantee the benefits of the program,
  • agree to reaccept or replace a service dog provided to a veteran, and
  • submit an application to the VA.

Any improvement in PTSD symptoms as a result of the provision of a service dog shall not affect the veteran's eligibility for any other VA benefits.

The Government Accountability Office must report on the grant program.

 

Several vets have reported that since they got a dog they went completely off all meds that they were taking for PTSD. They got there first Vietnam vet in the program last year.

for more info https://k9sforwarriors.org/program/

 

Across US Vets that have received dogs

Vets in Texas