VA shares implementation plan and locations of PAWS Act pilot program

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The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced its plan for implementing the pilot program required by the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) for Veterans Therapy Act.

The PAWS Act, signed into law Aug. 25, 2021, requires the VA to conduct a five-year pilot program to provide canine training as an element of a complementary and integrative health program for eligible veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Veterans participating in the program will have the opportunity to train potential future service dogs, with the goal of helping veterans manage their PTSD symptoms.

The pilot program will be offered at VA medical centers in Anchorage, Alaska; Asheville, North Carolina; Palo Alto, California; San Antonio, Texas; and West Palm Beach, Florida.

Clinicians at the pilot sites will determine the eligibility of veterans interested in the pilot program. Agreements with the participating organizations that will furnish the training have not been finalized.