BRECKSVILLE, Ohio - Many war veterans have returned home facing new challenges. Physical and mental disabilities, like post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, have surfaced.
Medication can help many, but the use of a service dog can make a world of difference. Marine Leo Robinson returned home from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Robinson suffers from high anxiety.
"Angel allows me to got out in public and not have to worry about watching my back. That's what she does for me," Robinson said.
Angel is a service dog provided to Robinson from Wags 4 Warriors . The Brecksville-based non-profit organization has been providing service dogs for qualifying veterans free of charge.
Owners Frank and Jen DeLorenzo are proud of the service they provide to veterans. But they pointed out that things may get a little bit harder for clients to keep their dogs.
"The Veterans Administration is no longer going to pay a yearly stipend for our service dogs. They say there is no evidence that they help," Frank DeLorenzo said.
Until now, a yearly stipend has been available for several hundred dollars for owners of service dogs The money is used for veterinary bills and equipment for the dogs.
The stipend will continue to be available for war veterans suffering physical disabilities. DeLorenzo said it will end for those suffering from mental disabilities.
"We actually have Cleveland VA doctors writing letters for the veterans prescribing these dogs for them," said Delorenzo.
Many Wags 4 Warriors clients have praised the dogs and the services they provide. They claim they are more effective than their prescribed medication.
"They need to go back and look at the evidence. If they are saying there's no evidence, then come to Cleveland. We have many veterans here that know they work," DeLorenzo said.
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