VA spends $12 million to link service dogs to PTSD alleviation

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is conducting a $12 million study to see if service dogs help post-traumatic stress sufferers get better, or just feel better.

The VA says it lacks clinical evidence that dogs help in healing. But some, like Rick Yount of Warrior Canine Connection, say the study is built around tasks that could further isolate vets. The study guidelines require dogs to sweep the perimeter of a room before a veteran enters or protect the veteran by “blocking.”

Providing benefits for psychiatric service dogs would cost the agency, and that’s why some critics contend the study is designed to fail.

VA chief veterinarian Michael Fallon says the study was designed in consultation with PTSD experts and veterans. It is due for completion in late 2018.

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