Military DogsTherapy Dogs

Dog Therapy Bill for PTSD Vets

In an article written about dog therapy for PTSD vets, Sharon L. Peters wrote, “Man’s best friend could soon be veteran’s best friend.” She wrote that a bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives to help veterans receive rehabilitation and re-entry assistance through certified dog therapy.

Known as H.R. 3885, the Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act will be a pilot program, focusing on PTSD or other mental health conditions of troubled veterans with the help of trained service dogs. Over a five year period, the program would develop three to five medical centers at a cost of $7 million dollars.


Each facility would require one certified dog trainer and two recreation therapists, with one director and one recreation therapist over the entire program.  It is set up to not affect the budgets of tribal governments, local or state finances. Five service dogs are trained every two years, with the trained therapy dog to go to disabled vets.

Another plan by Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y. is for PTSD vets to received instructions on training their own dogs. But both plans encourages using shelter dogs if possible.Mental health war wounds of vets like PTSD, anxiety, physical disabilities, depression and TBI have been treated successfully with several dog therapy services  throughout the armed forces.

Additional dog therapy programs

~ Dog Tags

Soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center work with troubled shelter dogs, with many cruelty cases, twice a week for several weeks in a program called Dog Tags.  Six soldiers in three learning levels work at the Washington shelter for two hours of hands-on training twice a week.

Over 50 dogs have benefited from the program, adopted quicker because they are more well-behaved.  The soldiers who worked with them said that in the process, they also were healed.  Many of the vets are now working in veterinarian offices and other shelters.

~ Operation Heroes and Hounds

Dog trainer Tamar  Geller purchases death row behavioral dogs in shelters for $200 to help wounded Marines at Camp  in a California program called “Operation Heroes and Hounds.”  In 2008, they linked with “New Directions” to transition veterans into civilian life. Veterans follow Geller’s positive methods of dog training.

“The veterans learn new ways of approaching things,” Geller says. “They feel pride, rightfully, over what they’ve accomplished with the dogs. They see they can make a difference.”  (USA Today)

~ Military Advanced Training Center at Walter Reed

Severely disabled veterans receive rehabilitation and stress relief through the assistance of certified therapy dogs.  Not only are the soldiers receiving advanced medical technologies but are able to survive devastating injuries through the assistance of advanced dog therapy.

“Service dogs are 24/7 companions that can retrieve and carry objects, open doors, call attention to safety hazards, help with stress and balance difficulties, and provide a bridge back to society.”  (Healing Paws)

Websites for Wounded Warriors who receive dog therapy assistance.


A special thank you to Robert McCarty from Barking Planet Blog who sent this information to us about a bill for a new government-supported program of dogs helping PTSD vets called the  “Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act.”  It had been sent to him from a friend who has had two tours in Vietnam working with vets. We hope you enjoy it and it changes your lives,helping you to better focus on how to help.


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  1. Steve McCraven
    September 7, 2017 at 6:57 pm — Reply

    I appreciate you trying to assist me with a service dog. However, I am in the process of training my own dog. I have had him for about 5 years and he goes with me everywhere, well almost and sleeps in the bed with me. He senses when I am having nightmares and either cuddles close to me or gently “paws” me waking me up. He is extremely well behaved and I have registered him as my service dog. No more hateful looks or someone asking me if I have a problem reading the sign that says “no dogs allowed.” It’s working out really well.

    • Tabitha
      October 10, 2017 at 11:23 am — Reply

      Where did you go to get your dog certified as a service dog?

      • October 16, 2017 at 10:46 am — Reply

        Tabitha, a lot depends on the state where you live and what you want your dog certified for. I would contact the state disability organization or state military organization for information.

  2. Steve McCraven
    August 24, 2017 at 5:58 pm — Reply

    I am a 100% disabled vet from the Vietnam era. I have suffered from chronic PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Night Terrors and more plus am on a lot of medications. Where would I start in trying to get my dog trained or receive a trained dog to assist me daily. My doctor thinks that this would be good for me.

    • September 7, 2017 at 7:54 am — Reply

      Your doctor is right, and I am still searching for you. These are expensive dogs, so I am trying to locate assistance for one or for a dog that is not as expensive. I have not forgotten you, Steve, just that I would like to get you the best help I can. Where are you located at and have you talked to anyone yet?

  3. Karen
    October 30, 2015 at 8:20 pm — Reply

    I want to adopt a military dog with special needs like me. I have PTSD anixtey and depression. I know that military dogs who can not do their job anymore some get put down. If anyone could help me find out how to adopt a military dog please please let me know thank you all for your service

  4. cynthia
    June 25, 2013 at 2:48 pm — Reply

    We have been approached by a foundation that is raising money for a dog to assist a vet with ptsp. The price of the dog is $ 17,000 which seems very expensive to us. What is an appropriate price and the availability of such dogs.

    Any advise is appreciated.

    • June 25, 2013 at 6:35 pm — Reply

      Yes, I agree….it seems very expensive.We are assisting a young man from the military who has a therapy dog. I will ask him some questions and get back to you.

  5. Linda Merz
    July 30, 2011 at 7:37 pm — Reply

    I am a retired animal cop, shelter director(s), and educator. I am also a researcher re: the relationship between animal cruelty and predatory violence and a published author (“Cruelty to Animals: Pathway to Violence against People”, co-authored by Dr. Kathleen Heide. I continue to conduct research and serve as a resource for various advocacy groups. I am the former spouse of a military officer (20 years) and understand quite well the challenges and sacrifices of military life. Ironically, I suffer from PTSD for all the animal lives I had to authorize be taken due to over-population and pursuant to the cruelty cases I conducted. If I can be a resource to your noble cause, please contact me. I reside in WA state near the Vancouver VA Center and there are numerous shelter/rescue resources located in southwest WA and the Portland, OR area. I have a MA in Criminal Justice from the University of South Florida, Tampa, FL. Thank you.

    • July 30, 2011 at 8:02 pm — Reply

      Dear Linda,
      Thank you very much for your email. Would it be possible for you to do a guest post on your PTSD due to over-euthanazing animal lives? That is a field that people do not realize affects people, which I know personally that it does. Anything else you can think of would be more than welcome.

      Thank you,
      Nancy Houser

    • Chuck
      April 22, 2012 at 1:06 am — Reply

      Hi Linda,

      I checked out the websites you suggested. Am very interested in hearing more…
      Chuck Beeler

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