Kaya is a retired military service dog who inspired the PAWS Act which was signed into law in 2021. The PAWS Act expands the coverage of service dogs for PTSD treatment through Veteran Affairs. The retired pooch and her handler were flying from Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. to Dallas Love Field Airport in Dallas, Texas, where Kaya was honored by the captain and passengers for all her work and achievements.
The bill states its purpose is, “To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a grant program under which the Secretary shall make grants to private entities for the provision of service dogs to eligible veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, and for other purposes.”
Kaya was recently honored on a Southwest Airlines flight with her handler, Cole Lyle, an airline which the two often traveled on when lobbying for the PAWS Act. Lyle also operates a nonprofit organization known as Mission Roll Call which advocates for service dogs. “We have a special guest on today’s flight: Kaya is a German shepherd service dog, who has been with her handler Cole since 2014,” the captain of Southwest Air Flight #1154 said over the intercom to the passengers.
“Lobbying for the PAWS Act and traveling with Cole, Kaya has flown on Southwest over 250 times out of her 320 flights she’s been on,” said the captain. “On behalf of Southwest Airlines … we thank both Kaya and Cole, a Marine Corps veteran, for their service.”
Unfortunately, Kaya was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she didn’t have long to live. “Sadly, Kaya was recently diagnosed with an untreatable cancer, so we have the solemn honor of taking her on what will be her last flight, as she goes home to rest where she was born and where she first met Cole,” the captain announced on Kaya’s final flight.
The captain encouraged the passengers to research Kaya’s fully story and to “pay her a visit when we arrive in Dallas to show her some love.” Kaya deserves every bit of love for all she has accomplished for our veterans who served our country. “On behalf of Southwest Airlines, your two veterans upfront — we thank both Kaya and Cole, a Marine Corps veteran, for their service,” said the captain, to cheers from the aircraft.
Kaya rested on a blanket on the floor of the airplane while the captain spoke praises to her and lifted her head in to acknowledge all the passengers who gave her a much deserved round of applause. Sadly, Kaya succumbed to her cancer on February 4th in College Station, Texas.
Lyle told Fox News Digital, “Kaya’s life was characterized by service. From helping me overcome my own service-related issues during difficult times to being a catalyst for nationwide service dog legislation — and serving as a de facto ambassador for all veteran service dogs in America — she was truly one of a kind.”
“Of course, her greatest legacy is — and always will be — the other veterans who were inspired to get their own service dogs and confessed they would’ve taken their lives had they not done so,” he continued. “I would also like to thank the millions who have seen and shared her story across the internet, and the thousands — family, friends and complete strangers — who have reached out to support me in this difficult time.”
Lyle said, “Kaya’s legacy lives on. Never Give In.”
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