Funding to Train Service Dogs | VideoJessica Roose | 2/7/2013
Clark is a 18 month old service dog that has been in training since he was just a pup.
"He actually is a seizure dog. So he`s a medical emergency response dog," said Shelley Nannenga with Service Dogs for America.
Clark was at the capitol with members of Service Dogs for America. To advocate in support of a bill that would help get dogs like Clark to veterans in need.
"To train a dog it usually takes about two years. If it`s a specialty dog, someone that maybe has more than one physical challenge, it would take probably two and a half years. It all depends what it is," Nannenga said.
The training isn`t cheap. The new owner ends up paying about 15 to 20 thousand dollars to get matched with a service dog.
"It`s your daily independence, no matter if it`s for PTSD, for that internal war, or if it`s someone in a wheelchair that needs...that doesn`t want someone to open the door for them. They want to open the door themselves. That`s what our dogs do," Nannenga said.
If passed, the bill would help with the costs by allocating $50,000 for the biennium to the Department of Veteran Affairs to help train service dogs for veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
"When you get out of the military and you`re suffering from these psychological issues, you don`t have a wing man and you`re lost and you don`t have that safety net. But these dogs offer that by protecting you and being by your side," said Randall Pike with Service Dogs for America.
Supporters say dogs like Clark have been able to help returning soldiers deal with depression and prevent suicide.
No one testified in opposition to the bill.