More funding for the Psychiatric Assistance Dog Program

An additional $22 million has been announced for the Psychiatric Assistance Dog Program (the Program) to support more veterans with their clinical recovery from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The funding provides for an expansion of eligibility for veterans who would have otherwise been eligible for the Program, but had privately sourced their own accredited psychiatric assistance dog prior to the start of the Program in September 2019. Eligible veterans will receive maintenance funding for expenses such as veterinary bills, pet insurance and vaccinations.

The announcement comes as the Program celebrates a milestone 100 dogs placed in new homes with veterans.

This life changing program matches a highly-trained dog with a veteran to support their clinical recovery from PTSD by performing tasks specific to supporting their needs. The dogs are trained to provide a range of unique supports to their veteran, such as waking their veteran from a night terror, scanning the environment for the veteran to reduce hypervigilance, and providing a barrier between the veteran and the public to induce feelings of safety.

The individualised training provides veterans the reassurance they are supported to care for and work with their dog into the future.

Since the Program’s launch, feedback has been extremely positive with veterans advising the Program has supported an overall improvement to their mental health, wellbeing and relationships.

Veterans currently accessing treatment for PTSD can speak to their mental health professional about how a psychiatric assistance dog may assist in supporting their clinical recovery.

For more information about DVA’s Psychiatric Assistance Dog Program visit the DVA website.

Watch these veterans share their stories and how their psychiatric assistance dog has changed their lives for the better: How The Psychiatric Assistance Dogs Program is helping veterans with PTSD - YouTube.