The Shepherd has made such a significant impact on the lives of so many PTSD-afflicted veterans.
During her most recent Southwest flight, Kaya, the German Dog that served as the PAWS Act’s model, was recognized.
More than 250 times have been flown by the adorable service dog to lobby Congress to pass the historic PAWS Act. Kaya took a final journey to the funeral home after being informed that her cancer was terminal. Cole Lyle quickly started exhibiting the typical signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after leaving the Marine Corps. Also, he was struggling to deal with friends and other troops who had committed suicide. Cole, like so many other military personnel, did not gain anything from traditional therapy. Nevertheless, everything changed in 2014 when Cole met Kaya. Cole purchased Kaya from a breeder and paid for her specialized training out of pocket after learning that the VA does not usually provide support animals for troops with PTSD. Cole was fortunate to learn that he had a buddy who taught service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, and he offered to teach Kaya for a very low fee. “Service dogs are created particularly to do specific tasks, including waking a person up from a nightmare and assisting with anxiety attacks.
When estimating the cost of a service dog, take into account the dog’s temperament, it’s specific training, and the cost of paying the trainers. Cole estimates that the average cost is probably closer to $20,000 than not. Cole soon found solace from his problems in Kaya’s companionship. He felt incredibly fortunate and wanted to aid other PTSD sufferers in getting support dogs. Cole pushed the PAWS Act tenaciously, encouraged by his personal experiences and with Kaya at his side. The pair broadcast more than 250 times to advance the cause starting in January 2015. The PAWS Act, also known as the PAWS for Veterans Treatment Act, was eventually signed into law in August of 2021 as a result of Kaya and Cole’s efforts. In essence, the PAWS Act mandates that organizations that train service dogs and match them with veterans receive funds from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The PAWS Act also makes changes to former rules that only allowed disabled veterans to utilize service dogs. Veterans with mental health conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder can now be allowed a life-saving service animal. In Cole’s words, “the veterans who reached out to me and said that she motivated them to get their service dog, and if they hadn’t, they would have committed suicide, will always be Kaya’s greatest legacy. An alarmingly high average of 20 veterans every year pass away. Cole is devastated now that Kaya has crossed the rainbow bridge. Yet he finds solace in the knowledge that his beloved Shepherd has made such a significant difference in the lives of so many combatants who have PTSD. Kaya’s final flight was announced over the aircraft’s speakers by the senior pilot. Before departing on her final journey, Kaya is remembered in the video below. Peace be with you, lovely daughter.