Sen. Al Franken is introducing a new bill which would give service dogs to injured veterans.
Franken’s legislation, which is an amendment to a 2010 military funding bill, would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to create a pilot program to train at least 200 service dogs through nonprofit organizations and give them to veterans with physical and mental disabilities.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Luis Carlos Montalvan, a disabled Iraq war veteran, suggested the idea to Franken months earlier at the presidential inaugural ball in Washington.
“It was really like a dream come true,” Montalvan, a journalism student in New York City, told the paper.
According to the paper, Montalvan told Franken that his service dog named Tuesday helps him deal with life after suffering fractured vertebrae and a head injury in an attack near the Iraq-Syrian border in 2007.
“There is going to be a clear return on investment here,” Franken told the paper. “My hope is that at the end of this they’ll go, ‘A ha! These dogs pay for themselves or more than pay for themselves, we have fewer suicides, fewer incidents of hospitalization, less costs in prescription drugs and more productivity.’ “
Our disabled veterans are definitely deserving of a service dog. After the program has been in effect for three years the National Academies of Science will be compiling a report on the feasibility and benefit of providing veterans with service dogs.