Plenty of evidence has been made available to prove the merits of pairing veterans with service dogs, so much so that national bills are being weighed in Washington to fund relevant programs on a larger scale. In local communities, these types of initiatives have boomed in the post-Sept. 11 era, especially for service members who were injured on duty. A range of individuals are driving the popularity of these programs in the United States.

Success in Scranton
WNEP recently reported that a group effort on behalf of nonprofit organization Dog T.A.G.S. and the Marywood University Student Veterans Alliance assisted in providing service dogs to veterans in need in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Those who participated explained how this has helped them overcome the challenges of living as a veteran, including Army veteran Scott Taylor who adopted a dog named Molly at the event.

"Before I got her, I did not want to leave the house. I did not want to do anything, and when I got her, I am out moving around in crowds, in front of a camera. She has been helping out a lot," Taylor told WNEP.

Service dogs have been found to positively benefit veterans with PTSD. Service dogs have been found to positively benefit veterans with PTSD. 

Larger-scale endeavor
CBS 19 reported that Marine Cole Lyle, who has himself lived with post-traumatic stress disorder since serving in Afghanistan, is working to get more service dogs into the veteran community. According to the news provider, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does not currently have a program in place to fund this therapy, but Lyle testified before Congress to do his part to change that.

Lyle had similar comments to those of Taylor, in that he cited not having as many harsh times as he did before adopting his service dog, Kaya. The source noted that he also brought up a study from Purdue University that proved the benefits of these programs in the lives of veterans living with PTSD.

"People with PTSD often experience emotional numbing, yet the presence of an animal has been reported to elicit positive emotions and warmth," CBS 19 cited from the report. "Animals have also been demonstrated as social facilitators that can connect people and reduce loneliness, which may assist individuals with PTSD break out of isolation and connect to the humans around them."

In the coming months, these types of national and local programs are likely to expand even further thanks to their overwhelming success thus far.