From MICHELE C. HOLLOW at Parade Magazine
Minna Moonsammy and her service dog, Rigby, are taking advantage of a new program that provides free pet insurance to veterans with service dogs. Pet insurance provider Trupanion was recently awarded a contract with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to provide medical insurance to veteran-owned service dogs at no cost to veterans. Veterans can take their eligible enrolled service dogs to a veterinarian, and Trupanion will pay the bill in full.
“Most veterans that are in need of these animals to assist us in our daily living do not have access to the funds necessary to keep these animals in the level of health required for longevity,” says Moonsammy, a U.S. veteran. “As with human beings, those with insurance and the ability to pay healthcare costs are more likely to visit a doctor more often which prevents major health problems from getting out of control.”
Veterans must have approval from a VA medical care provider stating that the dog is an essential part of the treatment plan for the veteran in order to be eligible for the veterinary benefits.
“Veterans, like Jason Haag, who desire to enroll their service dog in the program to get their veterinary bills paid should coordinate through their local VA medical center,” said a spokesperson from Trupanion. “The Department of Veteran Affairs determines the eligibility of the certified service dog, and veterans will receive notification from the Department of Veteran Affairs of their enrollment in the program.”
Veterinarians across the country who treat enrolled veteran-owned service dogs will be able to provide the absolute best medical care for the dogs without worrying about payment or administrative burden. Veterinary professionals will work directly with Trupanion to address and pay for the medical bills.
“Veterinarians who support this program are not only helping the dogs, but, are giving back something to the veterans who sacrificed so much for all of the people of this great nation,” said Moonsammy. “The only thing most of us need is the support of the general public so that we may once again contribute to our communities. These dogs work very hard and should be seen regularly.”
Michele C. Hollow writes the animal advocacy blog Pet News and Views. She specializes in writing about pets and wildlife for Parade and other publications. She is the author of The Everything Guide to Working with Animals. You can follow her at Twitter.