GRANTS PASS, Ore. — A service helping veterans cope with mental illnesses will be cut next month.
The Department of Veterans Affairs will no longer cover costs for service dogs who help soldiers suffering with post traumatic stress disorder. Though, the VA will continue to provide service dogs for veterans with visual, hearing or mobility disabilities.
One Southern Oregon woman is taking the matter into her own hands to help veterans. Kristi Rush has trained hundreds of service dogs for nearly 18 years in Indianapolis. Recently, she moved back to Grants Pass and decided to continue her work there. Rush says the service dogs she trains can help veterans cope with PTSD both physically and emotionally.
“When the soldiers come home, is that they don’t want to talk about it. They won’t talk about it to another human. We have an extremely high suicidal rates with our soldiers. They’ll talk to a dog. A dog’s not going to judge you, a dogs not going to give up your secrets, they’re just going to sit there and love you,” says Rush.
The new VA rule takes effect October 5, 2012. Rush is planning to have a training session at the Home Away from Home Pet Spa in Grants Pass on September 21, 2012.