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Proposal before Congress would to help pair service dogs with struggling veterans

Dixie is a PTSD support dog. Registry programs for service dogs hope to expand to all members of the service dog community.
Claire Harbage
Dixie is a PTSD support dog. Registry programs for service dogs hope to expand to all members of the service dog community.

Last week, U.S. lawmakers unveiled a new proposal to use community grants to pair service dogs with struggling veterans.

The bipartisan Service Dogs Assisting Veterans, or SAVES, Act would set aside $10 million a year for nonprofit groups who have trained the dogs and handlers to work with veterans that need their services.

North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis is a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and one of bill’s the sponsors, and he said it will allow more veterans who are struggling with the invisible wounds of war to receive service dogs that could ultimately save their lives.

The Department of Veterans Affairs would administer the new program, which echoes past service dog efforts managed through the Department of Defense.

While the past programs were only open to veterans with PTSD, the new proposal would make eligible veterans with any disabilities recognized by the VA.

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. She has been involved in the media industry in eastern North Carolina for more than three years. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to ENC to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of toddler and baby cuddling, reading, designing costumes for children’s theater and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to