New legislation modeled after Warrior Canine Connection’s Mission Based Trauma Recovery Service Dog Training Model
August 26, 2021
BOYDS, Md. – In July 2008, Warrior Canine Connection Executive Director and Founder Rick Yount piloted the first Therapeutic Service Dog Training Program for Veterans at the Palo Alto VA Medical Center’s inpatient PTSD program. The testimonies from the Veterans in Rick’s program inspired lawmakers so powerfully to the degree that they asked Yount and Veterans Affairs to help draft the original language for what would become the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act. After many challenges and 13-years later, on August 25, 2021, President Biden signed the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act into law.
Under the new law, the Department of Veterans Affairs will launch a $10M, five-year pilot program that provides service dog training to benefit Veterans diagnosed with PTSD. In addition to expanding Yount’s therapeutic service dog training model to five VA hospitals around the country, it is the first law that authorizes the VA to provide support for Veterans who utilize service dogs to help them mitigate their psychological injuries.
Rick Yount, Warrior Canine Connection, issued the following statement after yesterday’s signing.
“Thank you to the leadership at the Palo Alto VA, especially Recreation Therapy Services for its forward-thinking and willingness to explore a new way of caring for hospitalized Veterans,” said Rick Yount, executive director and founder, Warrior Canine Connection. “They put their faith in me, allowing me to bring four Golden Retrievers on a daily basis into a very intense clinical setting at their Menlo Park Trauma Recovery Program. This legislation has been a long time coming, and it validates the Mission Based Trauma Recovery training model that Warrior Canine Connection created to help our Warriors in recovery. Furthermore, it underscores the importance and power of the human-animal bond and will provide significant support and resources for Veterans who can benefit from their relationship with man’s best friend.”
The $10M, five-year pilot program will take effect on January 1, 2022.
Please direct any media inquiries to Beth Bourgeois, Warrior Canine Connection, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-216-3206.
About Warrior Canine Connection
Warrior Canine Connection is a pioneering organization that utilizes a Mission Based Trauma Recovery model to empower returning combat Veterans who have sustained physical and psychological wounds while in service to our country. Based on the concept of Warriors helping Warriors, WCC’s therapeutic service dog training program is designed to mitigate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other challenges, while giving injured combat Veterans a sense of purpose, and help in reintegrating back into their families and communities. For more information, visit www.warriorcanineconnection.org.