July 20th, 2009
04:43 PM ET
13 years ago

Franken's first goal: Dogs for vets

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/13/art.franken0713.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Al Franken unveiled his first legislative goal Monday."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Newly-minted Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, unveiled his first legislative goal Monday - providing funding to train dogs to work with wounded veterans.

"Service dogs … can be of immense benefit to vets suffering from physical and emotional wounds," Franken wrote in a column published in the Star Tribune. "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."

Franken, who was recently sworn-in after a nine month battle over the election results, said it costs about $25,000 to train and place a dog and noted his bill would provide hundreds of them to veterans.

The Minnesota Democrat also said there is evidence to show that this kind of program could help reduce the suicide rate among veterans.

"Frankly, I believe it is enough simply to improve the lives of those of whom we asked so much," Franken wrote. "But this program isn't just the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do. This is win, win, win, win. I've been a senator for only a few days. But I've learned that it's better to listen than to talk, that you don't have to be a lawyer to be impressed by a tremendous jurist like Judge Sotomayor, and that I enjoy working with my Republican colleagues as much as I do with my fellow Democrats."

Filed under: Al Franken
soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Well, you have to start somewhere, this is a worthy effort on behalf of our men and women in uniform.

    And I agree with you Franken: listen, listen to the voice of your constituents.The path will be much clearer to you then.

    July 20, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. Mobius


    THIS is what we waited for all these months to get this brilliant political mind in the US Senate? I guess that *is* change, but......

    I'm amazed that our country is still functional with the new brand of nonstop idiocy which has gripped our Government since January....and of course, except for the brand name, it's not really any change at all.

    July 20, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  3. Doug Neumann

    "..Tremendous judge like Sotomeyer?" Hey Al, have you reviewed her cases and how many times she has been overturned?

    What a suck up.

    July 20, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. ken

    right on al!

    July 20, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. Roger

    Did he really? Or is this just a comedy skit? With these celebrity politcians you never know when its for real or an act made for T.V. The Gipper did it better than anyone or was his name Dutch? Anyhow the guy that was on the cowboy show Borax 21 mules sponsered.

    July 20, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. Gary

    Is the is a Joke??

    I love dogs and I love vets....but how about a plan to get out of Iraq. How about a plan to kill Bin Laden and win in Afghanistan. How about a plan to get the economy growing again. More Jobs? Balanced budget? Health reform that doesn't require a tax increase? North Korean Nuke Program? Iranian Nuke program? Our failing public education system?

    Is this really Franken's priority or is CNN just trying to make him look stupid?

    July 20, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    A better idea than 99% of the Obama agenda.

    July 20, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I knew you were elected for a reason Sen. Franken. A politicain who actually listens. Why hasn't anyone else in Congress come up with this idea?

    July 20, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  9. Fair is Fair

    Thanks, Minnesota.

    July 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    I think this is a GREAT idea! Senator Franken wants to take care of others before he takes care of himself ... something that most of those sent to Washington to govern have forgotten.

    To all the critics of this idea ... remember, that sometimes the smallest thing can reap the greatest rewards!

    July 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. Tim

    I am not a fan of Al Franken but I do like this idea and commend him making it a priority.

    July 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. Wake-me-when-it's-over

    I applaud this effort to put my tax dollars to good use (for once).
    I think it is an excellent cause, and agree that anything we can do
    to support Veterans mental and physical well being, is the Patriotic thing to do. Thank you Senator Franken.

    July 20, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. Matt in KC

    I'm surprised at the responses to this article. It's a great idea. I guess it goes to show that to the negative posters that "ingnorance is bliss."

    July 20, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. Steve

    Dogs for vets? Republicasn will slam this down for sure. Veterans are NOTon their priority list.

    July 20, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. rick DC

    is this a joke

    July 20, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  16. Larry

    Nice place to start Sen. Franken.

    July 20, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. laurie

    Seriously? What is so terrible about training dogs to be of service to veterans? You soulless Republicans. You sent those people there and then you have the audacity to balk when an opportunity comes along to help them. You are heartless. Yeah. Send them back for more counseling at the vet's hospital. That has worked out so well.

    July 20, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. You lose all credibility when you say Palin is smart

    Let's see how many people complain about this. I'm curious to know how many people on here don't believe that our veterans deserve the world for defending our country.

    Please, voice your hate so we know how much you care about the men and women who sacrificed their personal life to defend yours.

    Maybe this isn't some comlicated piece of legislation but our veterans are treated like total crap and we have negleted these brave people for too long. It's time we gave back to them.

    July 20, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  19. Chris

    And if the dog is good enough and smart enough, well gosh darn-it....those veterans will like it.

    July 20, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. Barbintx

    Good for him...he is wanting to make a difference in the lives of our valued vets while saving animals from possible euthanasia! Luv it!!!

    July 20, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. Shirley In California Now On The Fence Re Obama

    Thank you Senator Franken. Finally, someone is looking out for our vets!

    July 20, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  22. Mark

    Thank you Senator Franken for helping the veterans and thank you for visiting the Soldiers overseas. My home state Senators (Kalifornistan) could learn from your example.

    July 20, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  23. Pete


    Why is it that Republicans like yourself extol the vitures of our Veterans, but then promptly turn your back on them when they get wounded in one of your phony wars?

    July 20, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. worriedmom

    I have nothing against this idea however Sen. Franken is this what you can only come up with, when the economy is down the drain, Obama is trying to ram down everyone throats his thug versionof the health bill, which i just read includes 12 million illegal immigrants covered (who don't pay taxes!!!) and why aren't you questioning the fact that the Obama administration is suppressing the budget outcome for mid-July until mid-august . What is in the budget results that Obama does not want us to know. Talk about transparceny!!!

    July 20, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. cyndy c.

    All of your horribl ecynics ned to get a life. You should all be shipped off to the war that your beloved President Bush and his sidekick Cheney created.

    These poor people come home from this awful war not knowing what hit them. I think the love and companionship of a wonderful animal trained for this type of thing is the least we could do.

    Or perhaps you folks would like another tax cut for the rich??

    July 20, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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