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. Anastasia

    CNN... Just so you know, I do not grant permission for my writing to be chopped up or paraphrased. If it does not get published in the comments in it's entirety, then leave it out.



    July 20, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  2. Donna Kimmel

    Finally we have a politician who realizes we owe our vets. From what I've learned, the dogs can literally save lives & if the vets don't deserve that, who does? Right on, Senator Frankin. If there's a way I can help, I will do it!

    July 20, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Mary Lou Hamm

    bitter republican losers abound!


    July 20, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. snookers

    Cool, sound a lots more economical/humanely than hospitalization or Rx drugs.
    Besides the dogs cannot give kick backs for their newly found employment..

    July 20, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Nevada Joe

    A GREAT IDEA....the dog will love the vet and the vet will love the dog and the healing will start immediately....Nothing better than the love of a pet..

    July 20, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. Barb

    Excellent!!! This is a win-win program for all involved.
    Is it me, or are the bitter Republicans becoming more surly with every passing day??? Obama was handily elected ... get over it and grow up!!

    July 20, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. Susan (Michigan)

    If Republicans could muzzle their resentment and skepticism for 5 seconds, they would realize that Franken cares about the vets they profess to honor by cutting funding and medical care for. I think he is going to be a good Senator.
    And get over your beef with Sotomayor..Rush is wrong! Only THREE of her hundreds of decisions were overturned, and they reviewed all of five of her cases. That is hardly a huge number of denials, now is it? But then, Republicans love to stretch the truth (Palin and her bridge, for one of many instances) or outright lie (Rush and Hannity daily) so what else is new?

    July 20, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. Nevada Joe

    What is so wrong with my last post about pets that CNN wont post it???

    July 20, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. grammy11

    Not a bad idea but this is the wrong time.

    July 20, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. please go away gop wingnuts

    CNN's homepage editor should be fired for the headline 'Dogs first priority for Sen Franken.' CLEARLY the great program he is promoting is to benefit DISABLED AMERICAN TROOPS. This sensationalist garbage has to end. Report the facts and ONLY the facts or drop 'News' from your name.

    July 20, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. doug dreifort

    Bravo! Our neglected vets, many of whom suffer from severe depression deserve this. Service dog's provide so much more than "seeing eye" help these days. Not to mention the theraputic value. Franken is off to a great start!

    July 20, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. CWD

    What a bunch of sore losers you cons are! Al won, now get over it!

    BTW, I think dogs for vets is a GREAT idea.

    July 20, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Amy from MN

    Way to go Sen. Franken! It's nice to have a senator who recognizes that he was elected to represent the citizens of MN. I look forward to following your progress.

    July 20, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. Mario, mtl, ca.

    Good call senator

    July 20, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. Paul

    Are you stoned or just stupid?

    Would you rather the man start with some huge porkbarrel spending project that would only help a few well-placed constituents?

    The man has come out of the gate for the vets. Not a bad start.

    Get some perspective!

    July 20, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. Giovanni

    Okay, my thoughts of Franken just went from liking him to total distrust. He never told us his legislative agenda would be to add a bunch of forced laborers to the federal workforce... not a good idea.

    Can we please think about the poor dogs in there too?

    July 20, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. Alan in NJ

    This is a simple, straightforward approach to a difficult and painful problem. I think maybe those who find humor in this snicker that brittle laugh that comes from uneasiness. And, we should all be a little uncomfortable with the way we have treated our returning veterans since Korea. We have been very good at waving the flag and talking about the importance of their service and our concern for the difficulties they face—some of them for the remainders of their lives—but somehow we do very little that is concrete. As a nation, we talk a great game but, in the end, we behave like your blowhard uncle. Perhaps if Senator Franken proposed something that cost 10 times more or that took 1100 pages of legislation to describe, it would better fit our expectations. Something this uncomplicated, honest and decent just doesn’t have mass market appeal.

    July 20, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. dan, MI

    This guy wants to show that he is smart but he is a comedian. He is not fit to be in the senate. He brought Perry Mason story to Judge Sotomayor.
    Imagine current class of Democrats in the Senate. Now Al Franken has joined them. Losers.

    July 20, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |

    Not Dogs for vets, how about "Battle Buddies" for vets. People, who formally served, helping others who come back with their transition.

    Provides jobs, prevents suicides, and actually helps veterans, unlike the VA.

    July 20, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. Macc

    I agree with Franken . It was proven years ago that dogs and cats do a great deal to help our veterans. It has given our service men and woman for years comfort and even helped some of them through PTSD (Post Tramatic Stress Disorder). So if he can get the bill past this would be a great thing for our service men and woman. My husband is a Navy vet of 20yrs. And y son is also in the Navy and if go d forbid something should happen to him I would hope this bill would be in place to help him and others.

    July 20, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  21. Redbird

    It's nice to see someone new looking out for the vets Following in the foot steps of Wellstone who made veterans affairs a priority of his. Funny how its the Libs that look after the well being of the vets while the Repubs seem to equate support for the military with the amount of $$ spent on miltary weapons, most of which goes to militatry contractor buddies...

    July 20, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  22. Flash in the Pan

    I'm certainly no fan of Al Franken...But I can't really criticize this effort...

    July 20, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. Phat Elvis

    This is Socialism!! America cant afford to treat veterans at a time of war!! Let Market principles deal with the service dog shortage!!! It's Big Dog Government!!! It's a job killer!!! This will promote Illegal dog immigration from Mexico!! This aids the terrorists!! This will raise your taxes!!

    umm, did i leave anything out?

    July 20, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. theMark

    for Mr. Neumann -

    From FactCheck.org –
    Sotormayor Appellate opinions – 232
    Number of these that went to the Supreme Court for Review – 5
    Number overturned – 3

    Pick your percentages – 1.3 % of all opinions, 60% of reviewed opinions. (The average for ALL Supreme Court reviewed cases in 2006-7 was 68%. She is BETTER than average on these.)

    Oh, those liberal-based facts getting in the way again.

    July 20, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  25. Michigan

    For those that are making fun of Franken's ideas...it is well documented the power of a pet...there are so many homeless dogs that are just waiting to love someone and who better than a vet that may need unconditional love and loyalty....and costs little to nothing $$!

    July 20, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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