Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

November 19, 2012

COLUMN: Veteran's Corner

— The Department of Veterans Affairs will no longer cover the cost of service dogs assigned to people with mental disabilities, such as post traumatic stress disorder. The VA has laid out a long list of regulations concerning veterans in need of service dogs. The VA claims there is not enough evidence to support the medical need for the veterans suffering from PTSD or TBI.

The VA will continue to provide service dogs for people with visual, hearing or mobility impairments. However the department said it will be up to the veterans to pay for the service dogs’ needs if the needs are not clinically prescribed by a veterinarian. The funding loss comes as a blow to trainers and people who help place veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI and other service related injuries.

A solution to this problem can be found with several non-profit organizations, one being “Paws and Stripes.” Located in Rio Ranco, N.M., Paws and Stripes provides service dogs for PTSD and TBI affected military personnel. These service dogs are obtained only from shelters and are trained by professionals specializing in service dogs. It is the aim of this organization to provide these dogs and training at no cost to the veteran.

All dogs trained by Paws and Stripes are service dogs, not therapy dogs. It is important to know the difference between a therapy dog and a service dog not just because they perform different jobs, but also because you would interact with each differently.

A service dog is trained to provide specific medical assistance to one individual. Such tasks include medical alerts, mobility assistance, seeing eye for the blind and much more. When you see a dog that is a service dog, usually labeled on a vest, you should NEVER talk to, pet, stare at or distract the dog. If you distract a service dog, then this dog may miss a vital signal to provide a medical alert for seizure or miss a cue to assist with fall risk and more. Distracting a service dog puts the handler in jeopardy. An individual with a service dog has a disability that requires constant help. A service dog is not a pet, and pets are not service dogs.

Therapy dogs are trained to be very social with one or more individuals. Therapy dogs are taken to hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, orphanages and other facilities for patient and residents to interact with the dog. They spend time with people who are ill, elderly, in recovery, or otherwise in need of comfort. Thus, their job is to provide comfort to many, rather that perform specific tasks for one.   

Organizations such as Paws and Stripes rely on the general public for assistance financially. Contact for this organization can be found at www.pawsandstripes.org or by calling 505-999-1201. Go to www.servicedogsforveterans.com for additional organizations.  

Hope Veterans Day was a memorable one for all. Thanksgiving is around the corner. There are many groups that provide Thanksgiving Dinner for veterans. Find one and volunteer. You will feel great.

Reach Jim Vines at jim.helpingveterans@gmail.com.

1
Text Only
Viewpoints
  • 0912 one bday wm j kelly 2013 mug.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    Not much is known about this Joseph’s life. The one thing I know for sure is that he was a very brave man.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hamilton, Lee.jpg HAMILTON: Government as innovator? You bet!

    Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it’s down to $134 billion.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Showing respect

    My sister Robbie Benton’s funeral was Friday afternoon at White’s Funeral Home. The gravesite was outside of Mineral Wells. The respect shown by the good folks of Parker County and the surrounding area was overwhelming.

    April 17, 2014

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Going on a wild goose chase

    In recent years I’ve written quite a bit about the introduction and negative consequences of non-native or invasive species. Fire ants, killer bees, English sparrows, Asian carp, feral hogs and others too numerous to list have forever changed our local ecosystem.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: TV offers

    Have you seen those TV offers where they give a price for one product and then offer a second like items for-free? All you have to do is pay a separate shipping and handling charge for the “free” items.

    April 13, 2014

  • John Paul Carter-color.jpg NOTES FROM THE JOURNEY: What’s in a name?

    Names are important. When my son, Rush, (who’s named after my father) and his wife, Vanessa, were expecting their third daughter, I gave up on having a male namesake and suggested, in jest, they call her “Johnnie Pauline.”

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • tiscione, lou.jpg TISCIONE: The Christian and the government

    The church in the Old Testament lived under a theocracy. That is, both the church and state were one. God anointed kings. Civil laws and religious laws were one and the same.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Getting in the chicken business

    Anyone who is my age or older has heard the famous quote, “A chicken in every pot.” It is normally attributed to Herbert Hoover during his 1928 presidential bid.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIEWPOINT: Obsessed with sports

    I remember reading a synopsis of the five reasons for the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” by Edward Gibbon in which he listed the Romans’ obsession with sports at the coliseum as a cause of the fall of the empire.

    April 6, 2014

  • 0912 one bday wm j kelly 2013 mug.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    On March 21, this paper published an article about a six-month drug trafficking investigation involving 12 people. On the front page was a photo of the 12 people involved. The use of drugs had made them a sorry-looking bunch. The look in their eyes was particularly disturbing.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest