From performing sentry duties to identifying the existence of improvised explosive devices to accompanying Navy SEALs on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, dogs have performed important duties for our military and are widely appreciated for their efforts.

The government has not, though, fully utilized “man’s best friend” in one area of increasing importance: helping veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress.

Veterans from America’s post-9/11 military conflicts have returned home with a variety of battle wounds, including wounds invisible to the naked eye — which nevertheless can exact a debilitating toll on even the bravest warrior. The battle against post-traumatic stress has come a long way in recent years, but there is still more that can be done. Non-profits such as K9s for Warriors have seen incredible success with their work to pair service dogs with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress - so why isn't this an option offered by the VA?

That is why Congressman DeSantis introduced the Puppies Assisting Servicemembers (PAWS) Act. This measure will make a big difference for thousands of veterans by allowing the VA to utilize the specialized care of service dogs in their fight against post-traumatic stress. We have asked our veterans to endure great sacrifice so that we may live in freedom; we must provide the best care possible to those bearing invisible wounds of war such as post-traumatic stress.

With over 200 bipartisan cosponsors in the House, providing the best care possible for servicemembers who are battling post-traumatic stress is a pressing issue that is yielding broad support. 

Additional supporters of the PAWS Act include the American Legion, Concerned Veterans for America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans, AMVETS, American Kennel Club, K9s for Warriors, Human-Animal Bond Research Institute, Heritage Foundation, Association of the United States Navy, and the Humane Society of the United States.