Rep. Mike Garcia (CA-25) cosponsored H.R. 1448, the Bipartisan Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) for Veterans Therapy Act. This bill would create a pilot program within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that would provide veterans access to therapy dogs.

“As a combat veteran myself, I understand just how important it is that the men and women who fought for this country get the help they so desperately need,” Garcia said. “Many veterans often suffer from PTSD and working closely with a service dog could save their life. I am proud to support this bill that would further ensure that veterans receive the services and support they earned.”

Recent data shows that an average of 20 veterans die by suicide everyday. The bill would create a pilot program to allow veterans to learn about the art and science of dog training followed by the opportunity for veterans to adopt the service dog they helped train at the end of the program.

The service dog would then provide continued therapy and assistance to the veteran, something that a recent study by the VA has confirmed would be beneficial.