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Thursday, October 18, 2012

High Demand for PTST Service Dogs For Veterans Causes Problems

     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!

2 comments:

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Alas, the VA should always try to do the right thing, and this is not specified in their mandate.

Eliz C said...

The whole certification for dogs has caused quite an uproar in the Veteran and dog communities. I think they should be allowed to be accredited by a reputable organization but that seems to be where the problems are. Therapy Dogs International will not allow a service dog to be a therapy dog and many people with service dogs are up in arms about this. I think it will be a while (if ever) before everyone is happy about this.

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