Newly sworn in Senator Al Franken (D) of Minnesota has announced his first legislative item of business following a nine-month battle to secure his senatorial status. And funny business it is not. Franken has pledged his commitment to providing funding for the training of service dogs to assist wounded veterans.
“Yes, they provide companionship. But they can also detect changes in a person’s breathing, perspiration, or scent to anticipate and ward off an impending panic attack with some well-timed nuzzling. They are trained to let their masters know when it’s time to take their medication and to wake them from terrifying nightmares,” wrote Franken wrote in a column for the Star Tribune. Franken cited the potential for service dogs to reduce suicide rates among veterans, among other studied benefits of a service dog program.