Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Vets get free pet health insurance


Vets get free pet health insurance


In January, the Department of Veterans Affairs signed a contract with Trupanion that pays 100 % of the health care costs for military service dogs.  That includes preventive medicine, prescriptions and emergency services.

The dogs must be designated “medically necessary” by the Veterans Administration before the insurance applies.  And vets still must pay for elective surgery, dietary supplements and over the counter medications.

But it’s great news because these service dogs are lifelong caregivers for veterans with spinal cord injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other traumas.

TADSAW, a San Antonio non-profit organization aptly named “Train A dog Save A Warrior,”’ underwrites the highly specialized training needed for dogs to help vets with PTSD, TBI or other trauma. Once the dogs are trained, TADSAW matches them with wounded warriors who need a canine caregiver and then gives them away for free. Any wounded warrior. active duty or veteran qualifies. 

 Veterans with PTSD often live in isolation, avoiding crowds and loud noises.  Even movie theaters, with their darkness and whispering, can cause panic attacks.  These vets suffer from hyper-vigilance. They are also “emotionally numb,” and can’t respond to those who love them. TADSAW dogs enable them to go out in public and enjoy family life again.

 Dogs have been our BFFs for at least 30,000 years.  They give us unconditional love and stand by us no matter what.  They are sensitive to our moods and needs. That’s why TADSAW calls them “battle buddies.”  They can sense looming panic attacks in their veteran companions and ward them off with a paw on the lap, a lick on the hand or other comforting contact.

Other specially trained service dogs help paralyzed vets with a variety of tasks depending on their needs.  They can help vets dress and undress.  They can open refrigerators, turn lights off and on and even bring a veteran a ringing telephone. They are devoted companions that never stray from a veteran’s side.

 Paralyzed vets can contact the Department of Veteran Affairs for a free service dog at  Veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI or other trauma can contact TADSAW at for a free service dog.

Now that the VA is paying for their health insurance, these “battle buddies” will get the medical attention they deserve and their veterans won’t have to worry about how to care for their beloved companions.   



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