Photo of service dog, Battle, and veteran Lawrence Montoya, by Jeri Clausing/AP
This article in a recent Washington Post about the increasing interest in service dogs to help returning veterans deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), caught our attention, and for all the "wrong" reasons. The article discusses the increasing disputes between the traditional trainers and providers of service dogs, like the Veterans Administration and Assistance Dogs International and the International Guide Dog Federation, and the "growing list of small nonprofits involved in training affordable assistance dogs for vets...trying to fill what they call a crucial void." The Veterans Administration (VA) currently requires that the service dogs it covers be trained by groups accredited by either of the two traditional groups (Assistance Dogs International or the International Guide Dog Federation). But if the Va doesn't cover the cost of a service dog, many veterans can't afford the exorbitant amount for a properly trained canine, which, according to the article, can run between $10,000-$60,000.
What do you think? Should the VA stick to its standards and only cover the cost of dogs trained by organizations accredited by these two traditional groups? Here's our question:: how are these other, small nonprofits training their dogs and why can't they also obtain accreditation by the traditional organizations...?
Let us know!