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. Pete K.

    Praise God for this, as many vets need service dogs! This will be wonderful to see all those dogs out there, helping their papas and mamas in everyday life. Then the American people will see how valuable not only the vets are, but what the dogs can do! Snickers is my hearing dog and has been on duty since mid-2002, she will be pleased to see many of her colleagues out there so she's not alone!

    July 20, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. Lisa

    I think it is an awesome idea. We can't do enough for our sevice men and women.

    July 20, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. Jose

    Nice idea, wrong approach!

    July 20, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. Typical Republican

    No way! Do NOT help our veterans. Do it the Bush/Republican way. Send them to die and then don't give them anything...cut their benefits and vote against better benefits.

    Republicans: We talk a good game, but screw the military. They are meant to be killed...let's keep it that way!

    July 20, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. Tim

    Hey Doug,

    I've reviewed her cases. She's been overturned less than 2% of the time, when one remembers that she's written hundreds of opinions. Her overturn rate on cases picked up by the Supreme Court is in line with every other appeals court judge. This is because the Supreme Court routinely overturns 75% or more of the cases that it decides to hear.

    But what does that have to do with Al Franken apparently wanting to spend our money on dogs for vets? Aren't there charities for that Al? I'd prefer my money be spent a little more wisely!

    July 20, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. saftgek

    This is precisely why Senator Franken was an excellent choice by the voters of Minnesota. Sound logic and decision-making; understanding why our Creator gave us two ears and only one mouth; seeing a relatively simple solution to a fairly complex problem.

    As a Minnesotan for 50 years before relocating, I am very pleased Senator Franken has the opportunity to clean-up his predecessor's office. It certainly needed fumigating !

    Let's support Senator Franken, and give him a chance to make positive things happen.

    July 20, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. single mom

    I can see how this would be a worthwhile cause, but maybe working to make sure the soldiers have the equipment they need for combat in the first place would be better.
    However stunned I am that Al Franken is actually a Senator, I am willing to see how he does. Can't be worse than proposing a health care plan that costs a trillion dollars, can it?

    July 20, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. Bonnie in Seattle

    Once again, the right comes out with their vicious comments. Did you even read what the dogs are for? Vets people!!! Men and women who protect and protected our country with their lives. My God, can you not once support something a democrat puts forth with out the vile crap you post on here? SUPPORT OUR VETS!!!!

    July 20, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  9. OhGoodGrief

    I think this story is spun in the "trivial" direction by a badly (wierdly) chosen headline.

    One's expectations are immediately changed when the headline is something like "Aid for Veterans Top on Franken's List." Looks a lot less idiotic if you start it in the right direction.

    July 20, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  10. ak

    Great idea, Al! You're off to a good start, hope the service dog legislation goes through

    July 20, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. Brian from Philly

    There's a Veteran's Affairs building down the street from my house and I know that a lot of veterans could really use trained dogs and I feel as AMERICANS we OWE them at least that much. They risk their lives to fight a war they didn't want to fight.. HOWEVER THEY BIT THE BULLET AND WERE DEPLOYED. $25,000 is a small price to pay for what they have already sacrificed. Nice job Al, keep it up.

    July 20, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. Thebe

    Doug Neuman you should really stop listening to Rush.
    As Newsweek reported, "Limbaugh is wrong on his cases, and thus wrong in his calculation."

    July 20, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Danny E. Gonzalez

    Doug, hav you read the 3000 + cases Judge Sotomayor has render a veredict on? also out of the 2nd circuit court do you know the rate of overturned cases? did you know that the other (2) judges are self-claimed "conservatives" and that 16 out of 22 courts in the circuit courts are also "conservatives"? perhaps he is sucking up a little. that is what politicians do... I do think that is a good thing that he is proividing and discussing some of his ideas to help, I don't care what issue it is (even if it is parental notifcation of abortion); it is better to have the debate out in the open, rather than to wait to a close session of congress where they let the Lobby groups go at it and the public does not get to hear about it from the actual senators... he is showing activism, that is the feature of a senator... I don't know how good he will be, but I wish him success and I will wish success on any "conservative" senator doing the same thing for their convictions...

    July 20, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Lisa, Saugus MA

    Why not place an unemployed person to stay with the vet. At least the $25,000 will help that person pay off debt and maybe even stimulate the economy.

    July 20, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. history repeats

    you know what makes this good? theres no MONEY in it. this is what he will be. hes already rich so hes not going to be in anybodies pocket. he obviously isnt doing this for POWER. he is doing this for the people. a simple idea that will greatly help the people that go to war for the rich. democrats support our troops. they support the troops MORE then you "so called conservatives" so much that they dont want them to go fight and die so rich people can get richer!!! we want to use them for protection not aggression. GOOD JOB AL FRANKEN!

    July 20, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. Tari Phillips

    Good Man! Thats where Great MEN start! And everyone has to start somewhere, right?

    July 20, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. Karl

    Sen. Frankens, thank you for thinking of the troops since many of your colleagues choose not to care for them...us.

    July 20, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  18. deb

    Funny how all of the warmongers, i.e., Republicans, couldn't care less about the sorry state of the treatment of our veterans! Pathetic!

    July 20, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. Arden Muller

    Sanford should be fired. Not just because he is a lying, cheating, ass but he has used taxpayer money for his love affair, he has turned down stimulis money that will help the people of his state and he continues to deny everything.

    July 20, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. Bill Persons

    Frankly, I think Franken has a connection with dog trainers he wants
    on a government hand-out. Wait and see!

    July 20, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  21. Pastilles

    I don't think we should be so harsh on Senator Franken. Listening to most senators in Washington makes me wonder where these people got educated. Sometimes I wonder; How did they get these jobs anyway?

    July 20, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. Coloradem

    Having worked with people with disabilities I can tell you that this is a great piece of legislation. Given the time that Senator has spent much time over the last several years on USO tours it only seems natural that he has taken on the cause of disable vets as a top priority.

    Good work, Senator Franken!

    July 20, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  23. Angi's mom

    It is a smart thing to do for the troops, but a smarter thing is to bring them home.

    July 20, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  24. Ken in Los Angeles

    He's always been a supporter of Veteran's issues.

    July 20, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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