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A service dog . Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Service dog providers are seeing an increase in applications from veterans who have been sexually assaulted while serving in the military, NPR's Adelina Lancianese writes.

Why it matters: Despite veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma being vocal about the support these dogs have given them, the Department of Veterans Affairs still doesn't recognize psychiatric service dogs as proven therapy for mental illness. Currently, the VA only provides service dogs to those with physical ailments.

By the numbers: One in four women and one in 100 men in service report experiencing military sexual trauma, which includes sexual assault and sexual harassment, Lancianese writes.

But those who have psychiatric service dogs and are dealing with MST say the benefits are real:

  • Leigh Michel, a retired first sergeant in the Army who was assaulted at least three times by male service members between 1990 and 2005, called her service dog her trainer, "getting me to talk to people."
  • Her dog, Lizzy, helps keep her calm through panic attacks and nightmares, Michel says.
  • Lizzy recognizes when Michel is distressed, and works to comfort her.

Be smart: Research shows that there are similarities between veterans who experience MST and those who have combat-related post traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms for both include agoraphobia and antisocial behavior, Lancianese writes. Service dogs are trained for both.

The other side: Despite those similarities, the VA still hasn't recognized psychiatric service dogs as a fix for traumatic stress. It argues that there isn't enough reliable evidence to prove it works and that service dogs may render "veterans unable to function without a dog at their side."

Yes, but: Most recommendations for service dogs come from doctors at the VA, Christopher Baity, the owner of Semper K9 where veterans apply for service dogs, told NPR.

  • "A service dog is a service dog, no matter if the person is blind or assaulted in the military and can't perform normal life," Baity said.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Why Trump may still fire Barr

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Attorney General Barr may be fired or resign, as President Trump seethes about Barr's statement this week that no widespread voter fraud has been found.

Behind the scenes: A source familiar with the president's thinking tells Axios that Trump remains frustrated with what he sees as the lack of a vigorous investigation into his election conspiracy theories.

Mike Allen, author of AM
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Scoop: Trump's spy chief plans dire China warning

Xi Jinping reviews troops during a military parade in Beijing last year. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Thursday will publicly warn that China's threat to the U.S. is a defining issue of our time, a senior administration official tells Axios.

Why it matters: It's exceedingly rare for the head of the U.S. intelligence community to make public accusations about a rival power.

Ina Fried, author of Login
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Tech's race problem is all about power

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As problematic as the tech industry's diversity statistics are, activists say the focus on those numbers overlooks a more fundamental problem — one less about numbers than about power.

What they're saying: In tech, they argue, decision-making power remains largely concentrated in the hands of white men. The result is an industry whose products and working conditions belie the industry rhetoric about changing the world for the better.