Proposed PAWS Act Would Cover Service Dogs for Veterans with PTSD

The US Department of Veterans Affairs currently does not offer reimbursement for the cost of service dogs for military veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

That could change with proposed legislation known as the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) Act, which is making its way through both the House and the Senate.

If passed, the PAWS Act would provide vouchers to veterans with mental health conditions, so they can acquire service dogs from nonprofit organizations.  Currently, only veterans with mobility issues qualify for service dog financial assistance.

According to an article on military.com, advocates of service dogs for veterans with PTSD point out that there is enough evidence that the dogs provide many positive benefits.  These dogs help the veterans feel secure in public places, and can be trained to wake them up from nightmares.

Additionally, advocates argue that service dogs are an important suicide prevention measure, giving veterans a reason to get up each morning, to care for their canine companions.

 

Small Pet Socialization Tips

There’s lots of information about how to socialize dogs and cats out there, but what about small and exotic pets?  They can learn polite behavior too!

The San Diego Humane Society’s San Diego Pets Magazine recently shared some tips on how to socialize your rabbits, rodents, birds, and reptiles.  Here are a few highlights:

Rabbits

  • Some bunnies can be shy so let them approach you first. If you do approach a rabbit, do so slowly, at their level, and from the side.
  • Offering treats like fresh vegetables is a good way for your rabbit to associate human interaction with a positive reward.

Hamsters, Gerbils and Other Rodents

  • Young children may be excited to interact with their new small pets, but give the animals some time to adjust to their new surroundings first. Then start with a few short sessions each day.
  • Approach rodents on their level, not from overhead.
  • Let them walk onto a neutral object and work their way to your hand gradually.

Birds

  • Bird are very social, so they appreciate lots of interaction and being included in your family’s daily activities.
  • Avoid sudden movements around birds. They appreciate pets on the back of the head and back, and slow blinks (like cats!).

Reptiles

  • Not all reptiles like to be cuddled or held, so check your expectations if you’re looking for a snuggle buddy.
  • Treats can help them associate handling with something positive. Certain reptiles like turtles and tortoises enjoy being hand fed.
  • Your lizard or other reptile may not like to be handled, but some might appreciate being near you for warmth.

 

 

Video: NFL Star Raises Awareness About Dogs Left Outside in the Cold

Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu has teamed up with PETA to create a public awareness video on the dangers of dogs being kept outside in freezing cold weather.

Tyrann stepped into a walk-in freezer to experience what it must be like for dogs left out in the cold.  He pointed out that their food and water also freeze solid when left outdoors in the cold.

Tyrann lasted about 20 minutes, but some dogs are left outside all day and night.

PETA recommends talking to your neighbors if you see that their dogs are left outside in the cold.  You can also see if your local government has a policy on chained dogs.

Check out the full video below and click this link for helpful tips on keeping pets warm in cold weather.