Congressman Castro Visits K9s For Warriors Campus in San Antonio to Highlight Value of Innovative Mental Health Services for Veterans
SAN ANTONIO – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) visited the K9s For Warriors Petco Love K9 Center on the city’s West Side to learn about the center’s work to train service dogs for veterans in need. During the visit, Congressman Castro also highlighted the bipartisan PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act, a new federal law he voted to pass that will help connect service dogs with veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Congressman Castro visits with veterans, staff, and service dogs at the K9s For Warriors Petco Love K9 Center in San Antonio. Congressman Castro engaged with service dogs only at the explicit invitation of their handlers. To download high-resolution photos, click here and here.
“San Antonio is home to thousands of veterans and military families who made enormous sacrifices in service of their country. When they need help, it’s an honor for our community to step up and care for them. I’m thankful for K9s For Warriors and all of the organizations in the San Antonio area who are working to connect service dogs with veterans, and I look forward to seeing the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act help more of our veterans get the support they need,” said Congressman Castro.
“K9s For Warriors is grateful to Rep. Joaquin Castro and his team for taking the time to learn about our vital mission to end veteran suicide,” said K9s For Warriors CEO Carl Cricco. “K9s For Warriors has the privilege every day to see the impact a Service Dog has on a veteran. With a battle buddy by their side, the veteran returns to a life of dignity and independence. We appreciate Rep. Castro’s support for our veterans and the important work we do each day.”
The PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct a five-year pilot program to provide canine-centered mental health services to veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Veterans who participate in the program will have the opportunity to train potential future service dogs, which they may later adopt if adoption aligns with their needs. The Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans’ Hospital in San Antonio will serve as one of five pilot sites for the PAWS for Veterans Therapy implementation and will work with selected local partners on implementation. If the program successfully expands beyond a pilot, organizations like K9s For Warriors could partner with the VA to provide direct services to more veterans in the San Antonio area and across the country.
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