Marine Urges VA To Provide Service Dogs To Vets With PTSD

Cole Lyle believes that the dogs could be a crucial part of treating the condition.

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Cole Lyle testifies in front of Congress (Yes, his service dog is under the desk). Via Rep. Will Hurd/Twitter

Cole Lyle, a Marine veteran, used to endure horrific nightmares as part of the PTSD he has suffered ever since serving in Afghanistan. But, thanks to his service dog, Lyle has had some help with his nighttime terrors. As a result, he says his waking hours have been better, too. Now the Texas man is lobbying on behalf of other veterans with PTSD, urging the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to change its policies and to provide service animals as part of its treatment for these vets.

On Thursday, Lyle testified before Congress, telling the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about Kaya, his own service dog, and all of the support, companionship and health benefits she has given him, ABC News reports. He purchased Kaya on his own through an Assistance Dogs International-accredited trainer, spending more than $10,000 in the process — but not every veteran has those resources.

“I believe that allowing veterans to fight PTSD without all options available to them is tantamount to sending our military to fight an enemy without a secondary weapon in their arsenal,” Lyle said, according to ABC News.

The VA does not provide or cover the cost of service animals for veterans with PTSD because the organization says that it does not believe the dogs are particularly effective in helping with that condition. But a new bill, H.R. 4764 (also known as the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers Act) would launch a five-year pilot program in the VA, one that would allow veterans who served on active duty after September 11 and have been diagnosed with PTSD to be provided with service dogs.

“There are thousands of veteran suicides that could’ve been prevented if they would have had access to a service dog,” Rory Diamond of K9s for Warriors, told Congress.

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  • I was diagnosed with PTSD upon my return from Iraq. If it weren’t for my dog I don’t believe I would’ve been able to continue in the military. Working with my dog gives me a piece of mind that compares to nothing else. Just petting him and knowing he’s there at the end of my day makes it easier for me to deal with stressors at work.

    Elizabeth Pena April 18, 2016 9:41 pm Reply
  • My service dog saved my life i used train a dog save a warrior at no cost to me

    robert April 19, 2016 4:31 am Reply
  • We run a service dog program for our local combat veteran in western New York (buffalo NY area). We have 16 in the program and 5 waiting to start. We have had several service men and women tell us how their dogs have saved their lives, their marriages and have gotten yhem of dozens of medications. Our government needs to review their policies on service dogs for sure!

    Sandy April 19, 2016 5:32 am Reply
  • Drugs are not working for most of these veterans. I run a non-profit service dogs, Missouri Patriot Paws.
    I have seen these dogs save lives and families. Service dogs not only change the veterans lives but they begin contributing to their communities through shopping, eating out, volunteering, etc…

    Susan Hinkle April 19, 2016 7:12 am Reply
  • I am taking a number of drugs to treat my PTSD which I earned in the thankless war in Vietnam. All of the drugs are not as effective as the most loving pit bull who knows when I need the warmth of his love and the look of love and devotion in his eyes. He is not a service dog but is my service dog.

    Dan April 19, 2016 3:11 pm Reply
  • I have served in Iraq in 04-05 and suffer from PTSD and severe anxiety. My dog whom I train personally has saved my life on more than one occasion. I will be starting a non-profit organization here in Atlanta for our service members, free of charge for them. We have paid enough and have earned the right to peace of mind.

    Jessica April 19, 2016 3:57 pm Reply

    Patsy April 20, 2016 4:10 am Reply
    • They also accept any ERA Veteran that has been diagnosed with PTSD/TBI AND OR MST

      (TADSAW). I’m a first gulf era veterans a my Ju has been a God sent for me. The past two holidays are when my PTSD is highly elevated, were two of the best I’ve had in years. I’m still antisocial, but when I go out in public, I tell you, she’s fantastic.

      Follow our journey at
      Juju the Service Dog on Facebook

      Tammy April 20, 2016 6:08 pm Reply
  • I have a somone who has PTAs he got a dog fro the VA it is helping.

    Jean Bailey April 20, 2016 6:47 am Reply
  • I have PTSD, I got my dog and myself trained threw at no cost. She has saved me from multiple things. I recommend TADSAW to everyone.

    Leland Miller April 20, 2016 7:15 am Reply
  • I just had AJ now 3week and I’m getting help to have her train to be my service dog but I see small changes and so does my family since I’ve gotten

    Steven April 21, 2016 5:14 am Reply
  • We have a Service DoG for my Husbands PTSD and a few other medical conditions due to serving in Iraq and Afgan. We have had him for 2 years and it has changed my Husband’s life for the good. We were lucky to be accepted into a no cost training program for Veterans.

    The bad part is that his Doctor at the VA does not believe in service dogs and he can not take him to his appointments.

    Teresa April 21, 2016 6:52 am Reply
  • I have a service dog that i obtained on craigslist for free when he was 8weeks old i paid to have him trained because my psychiatrist stated the VA doesn’t provide them for PTSD I suffer from PTSD due to an MST from fellow veteran’s. I still dont socialize but less medications, helps with nightmares , my marriage is better and I have a companion that helps relieve negative thought through out the day, I don’t know how the dog does it but I can be at on end of the house emotional in tears and he just shows up rubs against me and makes me feel like it’s going to be O.K. something a pill doesn’t do

    Luis April 22, 2016 5:17 am Reply
  • My husband is a 20yr Navy Veteran, 100% disabled, mentally/PTSD and some physical limitations and as a medical corman, he has seen and survived some horrific situations. He nows suffers severe ptsd/depression. His VA psychiatric Dr. Recccomended he get a dog , for a service dog, and explained to us how this could improve some of his conditions. Well throughout the next few weeks, we went to our local SPCA and found the cutest 3 month old APBT that would fit lovely in our home. Well this is where we ran into some trouble….we telephoned (I telephoned), every Military/non military service dog training companies in and around Delaware (where we live) and attempted to get our dog officially trained but we were told that we should have called prior to getting the dog because they only train dogs they hand select or ones they already have on site… Our oncome is limited and to get our dog lovey professionally trained would cost thousands of dollars. This in itself has been so devastatin for my husband our dog Lovie (theAPBT) IS now 1yr and she is a big softy, and my husband loves her to death , everyone who meets her loves her. We’ve trained her the best we can and I know she is capable of learning so much more, and it would take so much more stress off my husband. Does anyone know of anywhere we can get her professionally trained, we live in Delaware, on the east coast…we are willing to travel anywhere we need to . Please let me know if you can help. Thank you.

    Jill May 10, 2016 9:19 pm Reply

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