Sep 202017
Poodle Pup2

The FSDS has openings available for individuals interested in acquiring SD training skills to participate in our upcoming Nov. 2017 class.  Eligible candidates must:

  • be able to house and care for their SDIT during the 18 month training program
  • have transportation to and from classes
  • be willing to commit to the entire 18 month training program, and this includes summer session
  • be mature and responsible
  • have a genuine desire to serve your community
  • have no criminal record
  • be preferably age 15 or older, but will accept slightly younger if mature for age

Teens and adults are eligible to apply.  Students learn everything from basic obedience instruction up to and including advanced SD training skills, nutrition, grooming as well as canine FA and CPR certification.  Interested individuals may download an application packet from our website.

Sep 082017
Emma Pro 001

As you prepare for the arrival of this monster storm, we remind you that steps must be taken to secure the safety of yourself and your dog in advance of this disaster.

  • appropriately sized life jackets should be accessible for both team members
  • please scan all veterinary records as well as a photo of your certification badge and all certification papers for our team to a Drive so that you can access these remotely from a hand-held mobile device
  • ensure that proof of all required vaccinations, particularly rabies vaccination, are included
  • ensure that the County license tag is displayed on your dog’s collar
  • make certain that an ID collar tag with your cell phone number is displayed on the collar (avoid use of your home phone in the event that your home sustains storm damage and evacuation to a shelter becomes necessary)
  • ensure that all of your emergency contact information that is linked to a microchip is updated
  • place all of your dogs food and medications in a double-waterproofed bag to protect against water damage
  • ensure that wherever you are situated, you keep a leash on your dog at all times during the storm, as dogs can be spooked and attempt to run – you must have a firm grasp on the leash at all times
  • locate a county or Red Cross shelter in advance – Red Cross Shelters do permit SDs, you must provide proof of such:
  • put together an emergency first aid kit for your dog, store this also in a double plastic bag to waterproof contents
  • ensure that you pack protective booties for your dog, debris that results from such a storm can present great risk for your dog to sustain paw injuries, you must keep booties on your dog in the aftermath to protect against injury
  • pack a familiar comfort item for your dog to help them stay calm
  • remain calm,  your dog will fare better if you remain calm and in charge

For those of you in the southeast who may be outside of the project path of Hurricane Irma, but potentially in the path of Hurricane Jose, now a powerful CAT 4 storm, please heed the advice above. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

Our thoughts and prayers are with each of you.  Stay safe.

Apr 182017

This morning we became aware that an individual or group located in Australia was linked to our Facebook page, using the name “Foundation for Service Dog Support, AAP”.  We wish to inform our readers that the FSDS is chartered in the state of Arizona and does not operate any satellite programs or conduct any business outside of the U.S.  We also do not operate any separate facilities or training programs outside of our AZ location.  We are unable to locate any website connected with the Facebook link.

This notice does not imply that another organization lacks any credibility as we are unable to confirm or deny this.  The intent of this notice is simply to affirm that there is no connection between this post and the FSDS.

Apr 032017
Emma Pro 001

If you are age 15 or older and would like to learn how to train service dogs, the FSDS SD Trainer Academy is for you.  This innovative program is open to any individual in the U.S. interested in acquiring marketable job skills as a SD trainer.  Students can earn credentials at four different levels:

  • Novice Instructor
  • Jr. Instructor
  • Sr. Instructor
  • Master Instructor

Unlike other programs that only teach obedience training, the FSDS program is a comprehensive program designed to give individuals the skills to start and maintain a training business.  We teach skills from early puppy training up to advanced service dog training skills,  teaching strategies and classroom management, nutrition, grooming, behavior, canine first aid and CPR and a host of other topics.

There are three required courses at each level that can be done online from the comfort of your home.  There is a requirement for 75 hours of hands on experience at each level that may be completed with a trainer in your area.  The Academy will open on June 1st of this year.

Contact us to request information about this program.


Feb 152017
Bill and Zeus2

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Zeus, a graduate of the very first FSDS training class.  Zeus was partnered with military veteran and wounded Peoria police officer Bill Weigt.  Zeus passed away February 14th after a brief battle with cancer.

Bill and Zeus graduated from our program in 2010, and have been one of our most successful teams and beloved figures around the FSDS.  For the past 7 years, Zeus has been constantly at the side of Bill as his service dog, best friend and as Bill would say…”my son”.  From early on in his training Zeus showed exceptional patience and an affinity for service work.  He served faithfully until the end.

We know that Zeus has led a full life, filled with love and happiness.  Bill has been an exceptional handler and has provided for Zeus’ every need.  They worked together each day at the police department, took many trips and had great adventures together.  Bill also saw to it that they took time to play together.  Zeus loved to swim and play fetch and Bill was always eager to join in with him.  Please join us in sending condolences to Bill on his loss.  RIP, dear friend.

zeus and bill zeus swimming zeus1

Jan 262017
Duke close up

Come on out and join us at the Westbrook Village Veterans Support Club Old Car Show.  This event will be held on Feb. 26th in Westbrook Village at the Vistas Recreation Center, 18825 Country Club Parkway, Peoria, AZ.  Proceeds help support the FSDS mission to provide service dogs to wounded veterans.  Come on out to meet some of our staff and teams and have a great time at this family friendly event.

Jan 262017

We are now accepting applications from individuals interested in participating in the FSDS training program.  This process is open to the following individuals:

  • individuals seeking to train a dog for their own needs
  • community members high school age or older who wish to acquire training skills by training a dog for someone else in need
  • individuals who need a service dog but are not able to train the dog for their own needs

Visit our Apply For a Dog page to learn more.

Jan 012017

Selecting a Service Dog

As the new year starts, it is a good time to revisit the FSDS policy on selection of service dogs.  Early on, during the infancy of our program, the FSDS accepted screened dogs from local shelters.  Though many of these were wonderful, loving dogs with good temperaments, it became evident that the unknown medical backgrounds in their lineage presented some challenges that were not acceptable for a service dog program.

The cost of training a dog is high, and with rising costs and scarce funding this cost has been rising at a rate that exceeds the usual cost of living.   For this reason, it is of great importance that the dogs that are selected are properly vetted and that their bloodline has been screened for genetic problems.  It makes no sense to invest close to $20,000 in training, only to have the dog forced into retirement within a year or two due to the development of medical issues that are known to be genetic.  For this reason, we no longer permit shelter dogs to be accepted into our program.

A note to this effect was posted prominently on the “Apply for a Dog” page on our website.  This is the very same page where one must go to download the application packet.  Despite this, we get requests on an almost daily basis from individuals who wish to enroll their recently acquired shelter dog in our training program. In all cases, we must decline.

The FSDS currently hand picks dogs from a small and select group of breeders.  We then re-home the dogs with intended recipients at the start of a new class.  Moving forward, plans are in place to start a breeding program of our own in the near future in order that we may continue to provide our recipients with medically sound dogs that have a greater potential for a full working life.

Classroom News

CB6 – This class has just completed their first full year of training, and are now heading into the final 6 months.  During this time, the teams will work on higher level service tasks and customizing the training to suit the individual needs of the recipients.  The anticipated graduation of this class will occur over the summer of 2017, so stay tuned.

CB7 – Congratulations to all beginning students on their recent success on the AKC S.T.A.R. Test.  The puppies have all demonstrated an ability to perform some basic commands such as “sit”, “down”and “recall from 15 feet”.  Handles have demonstrated an understanding of responsible puppy ownership including veterinary needs, grooming and nutrition.  Kudos to all of our hard working teams.  The class is also at work on their canine safety skills training unit.  So far they have completed CPR, choking, and bandaging skills.  They are also creating their own fa kits for their puppies.  Our teen trainers Grace Ganahl, Amanda Van Asdall and Brianna Espinosa from the advanced class are involved as student mentors, a necessary step for them to earn their Jr. Canine Safety Instructor status.

Wellness Tip

The new year is a good time to revisit your dogs files and make certain that all vaccines, microchip registration and county license tags are up to date.  Check the expiration dates on all flea/tick and heartworm treatments to make sure that they are current. We recommend uploading all important health and vaccine information onto a Drive that may be accessed remotely.   Wishing good health to all of your service dogs in the coming year.

Upcoming Events

January 11th – Autism Event sponsored by the Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration & Autism Society of Greater Phoenix.  The event is held in downtown Phoenix between 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Thank You

Our sincere thanks to all of the following donors for their generous donation during the month of Dec. 2016:

  • Sun City Grand Armed Forces Support Group
  • Tim Smith
  • Barbara Ruga
  • Dave and Debi DeBlois
  • Stu Lofquist
  • Mr. and Mrs. Barry C. MacKean
  • Valerie Schluter
  • Gary Noble

Photo Gallery

Enjoy these photos.  Our CB6 class works on higher level skills, our CB7 class works on our state of the art canine manikins to practice canine CPR, and both classes get together for a relaxing and fun holiday party.

holiday1 holiday2 holiday3 holiday4 holiday5 holiday6 holiday7 holiday8holiday9 - Copy holiday10 - Copy holiday11 holiday12 holiday13 holiday14 holiday15 holiday16 holiday17 holiday18 holiday19


Nov 232016

On Thanksgiving, we remind our readers that those foods that we enjoy may be toxic for your dog.  Remember to keep human food away from your dog, keep a lid on your garbage can and take the trash out after your meal, and remove all candy and nut dishes from low-lying coffee and end tables where your dog may access them.  Some examples of foods that are harmful and/or toxic to dogs includes, but is not limited to the following:


  • chocolate
  • raisins and grapes
  • macadamia nuts
  • onions and garlic
  • avocado
  • caffeine
  • Xylitol containing products (such as chewing gum)
  • alcoholic beverages
  • citrus
  • coconut water
  • dairy products
  • salty foods
  • fatty foods
  • yeast dough

Stay safe, and from our family to yours, our best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Nov 012016

Are You Prepared?

Fall has arrived, and on Nov. 6th people in many parts of the nation will set their clocks back by one hour.  We urge readers to make a few other tasks a part of the routine when setting clocks ahead or behind.  The most important of these tasks is re-visiting your emergency preparedness plan.

The time to prepare for an emergency or natural disaster is before it happens, not after.  This month we provide some practical suggestions.  We encourage readers to print this out as a list, and check off each item as it is completed.

Home readiness– make certain that your home safety issues are addressed:

  • change batteries in smoke and CO2 detectors
  • clear out dead and dried brush, trim trees to clear defensible space around your home
  • inspect electrical cords to ensure that they are not frayed or damaged
  • check lint filters in clothes dryer to ensure they are clean

Veterinary care and records – check veterinary records to ensure that your animals are up to date on all vaccines.  Remember that in some instances, you may not have enough advance warning to gather records and evacuate, so we recommend that you do the following:

  • load all veterinary records onto your Drive, if one is available with your email account: and/or
  • place all records in a folder and give it to a friend or family member who can access these for you if needed
  • keep all medications in one convenient location so that if time permits, you can pack them quickly

Evacuation plan– make certain that at a minimum, your plan includes the following:

  • a plan for how to evacuate, if needed; make certain that you have a plan for how to evacuate animals from above ground level if you reside in a multi-story dwelling.  A crate or carrier that can contain your animal is preferred and it should fit through the window or opening that you plan to use for evacuation.  A rope or similar device to lower the crate should be available; suggest a rope ladder or similar device to evacuate humans.
  • a plan for where family members should meet if an evacuation is needed
  • information on shelters that will house pets
  • contact Red Cross or local shelters to learn about their rules in your region for housing SDs

Classroom News

Community-based (CB) 6 – with the public access testing behind them, our teams are hard at work on advanced SD skills and gaining experience in different situations in public.  Special thanks to Grace Ganahl, Sharon and Lanitta Richter and Cindy and Samantha Aguilar and all of their SDITs for their appearance at the recent Puppy Shower held by Bard PV.  A good time was had by all. We would also like to recognize Amanda VanAsdall who was awarded her perfect attendance pin this past month…good work!

Scott_Bigby_FrankCongratulations are in order for wounded Phoenix police detective Scott Sefranka and his newly certified dog Bigby.  Scott and Bigby have trained with the FSDS for the past 18 months, and this past month they successfully passed their certification test.  Scott suffered a near fatal shooting injury on Dec. 31, 2013.  It has been a long road to recovery, but today he and Bigby are enjoying success and independence.  Scott has joined the Board of Directors and currently serves as Board Treasurer.

CB7 class– our new class of students are hard at work learning about the important of being leaders to their pups, and laying a foundation for tasks such as “sit” and “down”.  We would like to recognize Zanna Fehr for her generous donations to help out her classmates in training. Zanna donated a large puppy gate and a series of dog food bags for the other teams in the morning class. We would also like to recognize military veterans and family members Dennis Metzler and Samantha Aguilar who have earned their academic achievement pins for outstanding performance.

Congratulations to Tom Linton and Charlie

P1020191On October 28th, our very own Tom Linton was inducted into the AZ Veteran’s Hall of Fame.  Tom served in the Marines and retired as a Gunnery Sgt. in 1973.  He has provided over 1,750 of volunteer service hours at the Phoenix VA Hospital, and has been an ambassador for the FSDS for the past several years.  He serves as Treasurer for DAV and has provided transportation for over 100,000 veterans to the VA hospital for care.  Tom epitomizes what it means to be a true hero.  Tom received his SD “Charlie” at no cost from the FSDS, and it is such an honor for us to have Tom and Charlie as such a big part of our program.

Upcoming Events

10/29 – VET Fest in Avondale – 410 E. Western Ave, Avondale between Litchfield Rd and 3rd St, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
11/3 – Bard PV Health & Wellness Fair
12/3 – FSDS Holiday Party

A Very Special Thank You to…

  • Del E. Webb Foundation for their generous grant to support our training program
  • Bard PV and Rob Schwemer for hosting a tremendously successful puppy shower
  • Peoria PD and Lisa Mattox for allowing us the privilege of participating once again at the G.A.I.N Event
  • Phyllis Davis and the Best Friends Dog Club for their invitation to help educate club members on SD issues

…and the following individuals for their very generous contributions to the FSDS –

  • Carrie Curvin
  • Angie Padgitt
  • Valerie Schluter
  • Diane C. Stamp

Wellness Tip

Thanksgiving and the holiday season is almost here.  As you prepare for the holidays and guests, remember to take a few extra precautions to safeguard our dogs:

  • When invited to a holiday gathering, remember to call the host in advance and let them know you will be arriving with a SD.  Let them know about “no pet” rules so that they can share this information in advance with other guest- particularly those who may bring small children with them.
  • Keep all candy and nut dishes off of coffee and end tables and out of the reach of animals.  Remember that though dogs can not jump to high places- a cat can.  If you have a cat- consider placing all dishes that contain snacks inside of the pantry at night so that they are not knocked over, giving access to these foods to your dog.
  • Ensure that all garbage cans that may contain bones and scraps of your feast are covered so that your dog does not eat bones or other foods that can harm them.

Photo Gallery

Bard PV Shower Oct 2016 Bigby CPR Demo FSDS_GAIN4 FSDS_GAIN5 Sharon20161014_090223Aguilar_ArkaiDennisIMG_5004