Oct 012017
 
icon-newspaper

How to Eat an Elephant

This past month I was reminded once again of an old adage…and how our take on this differs from commonly accepted belief.

If you ask most people the question “How do you eat an elephant”, the most common response is likely to be “One bite at a time”.  Here at the FSDS, we have a different philosophy.  We believe that regardless of how slow you go, and how many bites you take, if you attempt to eat an entire elephant two things will happen:

  1. You will have an epic case of indigestion.
  2. The elephant will spoil before you could finish, resulting in waste and depriving others of their part.

In this case, the proverbial elephant is the amount of work that must be done to keep the FSDS running and continue to provide services to meet the growing demands of our community.  Our response to the age old question is:

“The best way to eat an elephant is to invite the entire community to share with you.”

How true this is.  There is much work to be done, and the FSDS is actively looking to recruit the assistance of many here in our community to assist us.  There are many service dog programs that continue to sprout up in our community.  Often however, the costs are too high.   It does no good to continue to build programs that price out those with the greatest need.  If the programs are not financially accessible, then they are of little use.

The FSDS program has worked hard to hold down costs.  Despite the fact that we are nearing our 10th year of service here in AZ, we do not have a dedicated facility.  we have worked to hold down any administrative / overhead expenses, which has permitted us to provide SDs to those with the greatest need.  We provide SDs at no out of pocket cost to wounded military veterans and first responders.  We provide low cost SDs to families with chronically ill children, who due to their overriding medical expenses can not afford a down-payment or even a monthly payment plan to afford a dog from other programs.  For these individuals, the FSDS program has become a court of last resort.  It has become commonplace for us to hear from those accepted into our program that they had all but given up hope of assistance, and that acceptance into our program for them comes after many long and frustrating years of searching.

The FSDS administrators work from home, and we have been blessed with the gift of shared facility space in our community.  This has served to hold down the cost of services.  Though we lack the physical trappings of other organizations that may serve to impress at a first glance, what we have built is a program that truly works and is able to serve the most vulnerable members of our community.

As we near our 10th birthday, we send out an invitation to all to come share this elephant with us.  We need individuals with the following skills:

  • Event planning
  • Graphic design
  • Hands on assistance at events
  • Student trainers for the upcoming class

Our event planner, Mr. Gary Noble is looking to put together a committee to work on events and our upcoming graduation / birthday.  This is our “elephant sharing party” – and you are all cordially invited!  Please contact Gary for information on how you can become a part of our team.

Classroom News

Advanced Class – this past month our advanced class took their AKC Canine Good Citizen Tests.  We are pleased to report that the class performed well.  All of our students have done an outstanding job this past month, but there are just a few who deserve additional mention this month.

Pearl Willis and her SDIT Adara are doing a great job and we have observed that Pearl demonstrates outstanding abilities as a team player and a leader.  The same can be said of Amanda VanAsdall and her SDIT Shadow.  Pearl and Amanda are both young teens with a heart for serving their community and a willingness to extend a hand to others in need.  Recipient Catherine Teel gets four paws up this month for being a diligent and courteous learner.  Catherine keeps wonderful notes, and has been willing to share her own notes with any student who may have been absent.  She is noted to be kind and considerate to others, and has earned the respect of her classmates.  Many thanks to LeAnn Fuller for taking such beautiful photos of our teams and for her willingness to share these photos with others.

Beginner class – the new beginner class is scheduled to begin the first Saturday in November, so stay tuned for further information.  Enjoy the photos of our adorable new puppies in the photo gallery below.

Wellness Tip

IMG_1817Dermatitis, or inflammation of the skin, is a problem that can affect dogs.  Golden retrievers are notoriously susceptible to this condition.  Also known as “hot spots” that can be worsened by the dog picking, biting or licking at the affected area.  This can arise from anything that irritates the skin, such as a bite or minor infection, or constant licking due to stress or boredom.

It is important for all handlers to check their dog for hot spots on a regular basis.  In the event that you should discover a hot spot, consult your veterinarian immediately so that proper treatment can commence without delay.

Halloween Safety

October is here, and the Fall decorating and festivities are officially in full swing.  Halloween can be a scary time for your dog, and it is important for all handlers to be sensitive to the body language and needs of your SD.  Remember the following:

  • spooky or moving displays in stores can be confusing and frightening for your dog; approach slowly and let your dog observe from a distance at first before inching closer
  • keep all candy dishes well out of the reach of your dog, chocolate, macadamia nuts, raisins and other sweet treats are toxic to dogs
  • always supervise your dog around any costumes
  • keep home decorations out of reach of your dog; many items, if ingested, can cause intestinal obstruction and result in a need for emergency surgery
  • if you plan to have your SD at your side when answering the door for trick-or-treaters, make certain that they are on a leash; even a well-trained dog can run if frightened

Have a safe and happy holiday season.

Thank you

Our sincere thanks to the following for their generous support of our program this past month:

  • Valerie Schluter
  • Shirley Holbert
  • DAV Auxillary

Upcoming Events

October 14th, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.: This fun and family friendly event is designed to promote public safety.  The FSDS will be on hand to provide information on service dogs as well as hands-on demonstrations on first aid and CPR.  The event will be held at the Pioneer Community Park located at 8755 N. 83rd Ave, Peoria AZ.

October 21st, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Western Avenue, Avondale, AZ.  The FSDS will be on hand as a part of the Vetfest activities to provide information on SDs to veterans in need.

Photo Gallery

Enjoy some photos of our teams in training!  Many thanks to LeAnn Fuller for granting the FSDS permission to use these lovely photos.

Abigail and Oliver Daisy and Indy Duke FB Advertizing (1 of 36) FB Advertizing (21 of 36) Indy Oliver

Sep 012017
 
Poodle Pup2

Building Bridges

From the start, the FSDS training program has set out to connect youths with military and first responders.  Our mission has been to recognize and reward those who have served the community, and to provide youths with opportunities to get to know these individuals and learn first hand the dangers of the job.  It has long been our belief that in order to stem the tide of violence against first responders, we must make efforts to reach out to our youths, and to help them to develop a healthy relationship with these individuals.  At no time in our history as a community has it ever been more important than now, as violence against first responders has risen sharply.  A recent article calls attention to the fact that police officer deaths have risen by almost 20% so far this year.  A quick visit to the Officer Down Memorial Page reveals that thus far in 2017 there have been 82 law enforcement professionals killed in the U.S. and it’s territories.

Violence against officers is just the start.  Violence against all first responders has been on the rise, and several states are just starting to enact laws that make assault against any first responder a felony offense.  For the first time, society is beginning to realize the dangers inherent for all first responders.  This type of behavior should not be tolerated.

The FSDS youth-based program is built around certain core values and beliefs:

  • Youths are capable of greatness and it is up to those responsible adults they interact with to help guide them
  • Our youths must be regarded as agents of positive change in society
  • Instilling in our youths a belief that community service is a desirable behavior is vital to our success as a society
  • Connecting youths with military and first responders and allowing them to work side by side builds strong bridges and inspires respect and cooperation
  • A life spent in service to others is a life well-lived

Our program continues to strive to nurture and support those youths who believe that their voice matters, and that they are never too young to make a real difference in our world.

Classroom News

Advanced Class – our newly promoted advanced class has entered the final phase of training, and has begun the task of teaching the dogs to perform those service-related skills that will specifically mitigate the disabilities for the handlers.  It is this specific task training that sets a SD apart from emotional support animals, therapy dogs and other dogs, under ADA law. Kudos to Zanna Fehr and her SDIT Duke for their excellent work this past month in navigating elevators.

Our program is designed in three phases, each phase 6 mths long.  Phase I teaches those critical basic obedience skills that set a foundation for future success.  Phase 2, the next 6 mths teaches public access appropriateness.  Phase 3 provides task specific training, as the dogs have now arrived at an age where they have the maturity to focus on these upper level tasks.  Our students have all accepted this new challenge and are off to a fine start.

IMG_1361

Youth trainer Heather Vedeler and SDIT “JW”

Beginner Class – we are in the process of welcoming a new class, and have been fortunate to secure four beautiful puppies thus far.    We are also excited to welcome in some new student trainers.  We welcome back to our program Brianna Espinosa, who is currently fostering one of our new Golden Retriever pups.  We also welcome Heather Vedeler, pictured at right, who will be training a sweet and gentle Golden Retriever pup named “JW”.  Also joining our class will be Lindsey Carlson, a young woman who is currently being home-schooled.  Lindsey will soon receive one of our beautiful purebred Standard Poodles.  This year, for the first time, we are excited to be able to secure two such beautiful poodles from a reputable breeder as a hypoallergenic option for those with family members who may suffer from dog allergies.  More seats are available for local youths who are interested in participating.  If you are interested in enrolling your son or daughter in our program, please contact us for information.

Wellness Tip

Fall arrives later this month, and we are reminded that some Fall yard clean-up will be in order.  Summer monsoons bring with them an overgrowth of weeds, and these provide hiding places for snakes and other dangerous animals.  Here is AZ, as well as in other places in the nation, Fall brings a break in the hot weather and it an ideal time for dogs to get outside to run and play in the yard.  Remember to remove all possible hazards from the yard:

  • Ensure all gardening tools are out of reach
  • Rake up and remove any tall grass or piles of leaves where snakes or spiders can hide
  • If you are planning to put new mulch in your garden beds, avoid use of cocoa mulch as this can be toxic for dogs
  • Remove rock piles from the yard
  • Inform your pest control service that you have animals and ask them to use pet-friendly products
  • Keep all animals indoors for at least 24 hours after spraying pesticides or herbicides

With Appreciation

Our sincere thanks to those individuals who have generously donated to support the FSDS mission this past month:

  • Valerie Schluter
  • Jessica Etheridge
  • Mark Fowler / AZ Alliance Traffic School
  • Disabled American Veterans

Upcoming Events

October 14th, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.: This fun and family friendly event is designed to promote public safety.  The FSDS will be on hand to provide information on service dogs as well as hands-on demonstrations on first aid and CPR.  The event will be held at the Pioneer Community Park located at 8755 N. 83rd Ave, Peoria AZ.

Photo Gallery

Enjoy some photos of the new puppies we have welcomed this past month for our upcoming class.

JW 4 mths JW day 3Poodle pup1Poodle Pup2Amanda and ShadowAmanda Jacob AbigailDaisy and IndyZanna and DukeAbigail and Oliver

Aug 012017
 

Seeking Puppies for New Class

We are beginning the task of searching for the right puppies for our training program.   If you are a breeder, or know of a breeder who will have a litter of Golden Retrievers or Lab Retrievers (prefer yellow labs) please contact us.  The ideal puppy will come with:

  • AKC papers; we are not seeking breeding privileges
  • OFA certifications for both the dam and sire
  • Up to date on puppy vaccines
  • No history of hip dysplasia or genetic diseases in the bloodline for at least the prior three generations
  • Prefer dew claws removed
  • Gentle temperament for dam and sire
  • Puppies should be well- socialized by breeder
  • Breeder should have plan in place to minimize risk of parvovirus

Puppies should be ready to be re-homed at approximately 8 weeks of age.  We are also seeking individuals who are interested in fostering a puppy prior to their placement with a trainer.  For more information, please contact us.

Classroom News

Advanced Class – It is official – the former beginner class has been promoted to the advanced class as of July 29th.  Congratulations to all of our hard working teams.  During this final stage of training, the teams will be working on mastering the task specific skills that qualify the team as a SD team under ADA law.

New Class for the Fall – Yes – applications to receive a SD from our training program are being received, and a new class is planned for this Fall.  For those interested, we are accepting applications from:

  • Individuals who wish to learn to train a SD for someone with a disability
  • Individuals who are in need of a SD to assist them

If you have resided in AZ for at least the past year, you are eligible to apply for assistance from our program.  For more information and to download a copy of our application packet, visit our apply for a dog page on our website.

Graduation 2017

Another graduation has come and gone, and we are so proud of all of our recent graduates.  Our hearty congratulations to our recent graduates:

  • The Foundation for Service Dog Support

    Congratulations to our 2017 graduate recipients and student trainers

    Sharon Richter and Nahla

  • Tim Smith and Zazu
  • Sam Webb and Doug
  • Jacob Cosper and Sully
  • Grace Ganahl and Teddy

And our student trainers…

  • Jolie Jendry
  • Amanda Van Asdall
  • Brianna Espinosa
  • Tim Wiley
  • Deb Hoffman

Congratulations are also in order for the class of 2018, recently promoted to advanced class:

  • Pearl Willis – student trainer and SDIT Adara
  • Adam Croner – military veteran / recipient
  • Amanda Van Asdall – student trainer who has joined this class to train dog #3 for the FSDS with SDIT Shadow
  • Abigail Van Asdall – student trainer and SDIT Oliver
  • Adam Sierra – police officer and SDIT Jax
  • Lanitta Richter – alternate handler
  • Wife of military veteran / name withheld upon request
  • Zanna Fehr – recipient and SDIT Duke
  • Daisy Saenz and SDIT Indy

Wellness Tip

Each year during the monsoon season, the problem with toads here in AZ becomes are more prominent issue.  We remind our readers that toad venom is toxic for dogs .  In Arizona, the Colorado River Toad commonly comes out once the sun goes down.  They can be found near a back porch with a light on (to catch and eat bugs that are attracted to the light).  Any dog that is let out into the yard to potty in the evening, and catches a toad in their mouth can be poisoned.  Also, toads that get into the water dish can secrete venom causing illness and in some cases death to a dog.  Some steps you can take to keep your dog safe include:

  • Do not leave food or water dishes outdoors for your dog
  • Leave the porch light out by the door you use to take your dog out to potty at night, turn it on only when ready to go outdoors
  • Stick your head out the door to check for toads prior to letting your dog outdoors
  • Supervise your dog at all times when outdoors

Many Thanks To…

We wish to express our sincere appreciation to the following individuals for their generous support of our program this past month:

  • Valerie Schluter
  • Cynthia Traylor
  • Shaleese McPhee – in memory of Jennifer Robinson
  • Barbara Ruga
  • Rob and Mary Young
  • Nicole Hess – in memory of Jennifer Robinson

A very special thanks to all who donated items for the silent auction.  We are pleased to announce that this event was a huge success, thanks to the involvement of so many.

Upcoming Events

TBA – stay tuned

Photo Gallery

Enjoy these photos from our July 29th graduation ceremony.  We note with deep appreciation that the photo above and the final 5 photos in the photo gallery were provided by professional photographer Jonny Stalnake.  He very generously volunteered his professional services this year to photograph the event for us, and even offered sittings for all of our teams.  Many thanks to Jonny for his generosity.

IMG_1755 IMG_1756 IMG_1757 IMG_1760 IMG_1761 IMG_1770 IMG_1781 IMG_1788

The Foundation for Service Dog Support

The Foundation for Service Dog Support

The Foundation for Service Dog Support

The Foundation for Service Dog Support

The Foundation for Service Dog Support

 

 

Jul 012017
 
Trevor2

A Message to Students, Parents and Graduates

Each year we have the privilege of graduating a new class, and this presents a wonderful opportunity for all of us at the FSDS to pause and recognize the efforts of all.  This year, we note that all of the teens training dogs for someone in need are young women.

To the parents of our student trainers – we wish to thank you for your support and your willingness to allow your daughter to participate in our training program.  Thank you for accepting a SDIT into your home and allowing them to be a part of your family over the past 18 months.  Thank you for feeding, sheltering and loving our dogs.  Thank you for driving your daughters back and forth to classes each week, and to field trips and FSDS sponsored public events.  Thank you for your unwavering support of our mission.

To our graduating recipients – please accept this gift of a certified SD along with our thanks for your services and sacrifices to our community.  To our military and first responders, how can we ever truly thank you enough for sacrificing your lives for our sake?  The gift of a certified service dog is all we can offer, and we remain eternally grateful to you.  For those who have earned their dogs through our Pawsitive Community Program, it is our hope that this opportunity for you to serve your community has sparked a fire inside of each of you, prompting you to continue to serve the community in the years to come.

To our graduating student trainers – words can not express just how proud we are of each of you.  You represent not only the hopes and dreams of those who are the recipients of your kindness today, but the hopes and dreams for the future of our community as well.  You stand as role models and inspirations to all youths in our nation.  As you continue your journey in life take this advice with you:

  • Work as hard as you can as long as you can, do as much as you can for as many as you can.
  • Be certain of who you are and what you stand for, then STAND for what is right!
  • Be kind, fair and honest in all dealings.
  • Become good at what you do; but remember that being a good person while you are doing it is even more important.
  • Always treat others as if they are your own family; treat others as you would want to be treated.
  • Get involved; choose to be part of a solution rather than part of a problem.
  • Remember that what you do becomes who you are; take pride in all you do.

Know that in your short lives, you have already done more good for the world than many adults will do in a lifetime.  Your hard work has left a permanent and positive mark in the world, and this is only the start of many wonderful things to come.

Sending your beloved dog to their recipient to begin their working life will be as difficult for you as it will be for your parents to send you off to college and out into the working world one day.  Remember that you are forever connected and just as one day you will come home to visit your parents, visits with your dog are also possible.  Maintain a close relationship with your recipients and learn from what they have to teach you about what it means to serve.

To each of you: you are an amazing and unique person and great things are in store for you.  We love you.

Oliver TP

“You did say it was playtime, right?”

Classroom News

Beginner Class – this class is putting the finishing touches on CGC testing and we are anticipating good news in the near future.  After many months of hard work, this hard working class will be promoted to the advanced class during the graduation ceremony.  Awards for accomplishments to date will be presented.  Kudos to all.

Advanced Class – this class will take their final certification test just prior to graduation later this month.  Congratulations on all for a job well done.

Kudos to our four teams who attended the Graduation Party sponsored by CR Bard employees: Sharon Richter and SDIT Nala, Amanda Van Asdall, Sam Webb and SDIT “Doug”, Brianna Espinosa,Tim Smith and SDIT “Zazu”, and Abigail Van Asdall and SDIT Oliver.

Graduation

The much anticipated graduation event will be held on July 29th at the Radisson Hotel Phoenix North.  Advanced ticket purchase is required as we must know in advance how many attendees to expect so that we may inform the caterer. If you are unable to attend but would like to purchase a ticket to be used as a complimentary ticket for our military veterans and wounded first responders, this will be greatly appreciated. Please contact our Event Planner for further information.   Tickets are NOT available for purchase at the door.

  • Starting time:  The ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m. sharp
  • Doors Open:  9 a.m. for silent auction viewing and bidding
  • Ending Time:  1:30 p.m.

A catered lunch will be provided.

SILENT AUCTION – this year for the first time we will have a silent auction, and thanks to the generosity of many individuals and businesses here in the community we have some amazing items up for auction.  Please note that cash will not be accepted, nor will we be able to process credit or debit card payments.  Please bring a check with you for the purposes of payment.

Many thanks to the generosity of the community we are excited to announce an impressive array of items for bidding, including: a family four pack for Phoenix Zoo with gift store items, Golf Foursome Certificate from Orange Tree Golf Club in Scottsdale, (2) admission passes to the beautiful Desert Botanical Garden, a one year membership to the Senita Club of the Desert Botanical Garden, a very large autographed poster of Shaquille O’Neal, custom beaded dog collars with matching leads – perfect to reward the canine graduate on your list, jewelry and more.

Once again this year Donna Rossi from Channel 5 will be on hand to Emcee our event.  Her kindness and caring over the years is gratefully appreciated.  Donna has a heart for those who have served, and has served as a wonderful inspiration to our youth trainers.  We are looking forward to her participation.

Our keynote speaker for this year is Dr. Margaret Brown, an accomplished research scientist, military veteran, VA physician, world traveler and humanitarian.  As the wife of a SD handler, she is a staunch advocate for those with SDs in our community.  We are privileged and humbled to have Dr. Brown as our keynote speaker this year.

Wellness Tip

The heat is on in many parts of the nation, and in particular for the desert southwest.  June saw record breaking temperatures as high as 120 degrees.  Yes, we do have three temperature settings here in AZ – hot, scorching and VOLCANIC!  This past month was certainly volcanic!   It is important to remember that dogs are susceptible to heat stroke, and care must be taken to protect your furry friends.  Some safety tips for the heat include:

  • walk your dog early in the morning only
  • always have plenty of cold water on hand for them to drink
  • do not leave your dog outdoors
  • make certain that you have thermal working booties for your dog to prevent them from sustaining burns to the pads of their paws from hot pavement

It is a good rule of thumb that when you consider going outdoors, remove your shoe or sandal and place your own foot on the pavement.  If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your dog and you must put booties on your dog.

Be safe, have a happy July 4th.

With Sincere Thanks

We wish to thank the following individuals and groups for their generous donations during the month of June:

  • Valerie Schluter
  • CR Bard Foundation
  • John Van Vleet
  • Glenda Wilson
  • Kristen Nedoba
  • The employees of CR Bard, Inc.

We note with great appreciation that not only did the CR Bard Foundation award a generous grant, but the employees of CR Bard also sponsored a graduation party for our teams, providing an impressive array of gifts to help transition the service dogs from their trainers to the new recipients.

Upcoming Events

July 7 – July 8:  AZ Families for Home Education (AFHE) Conference, Phoenix Convention center, South Bldg, 33 S. 3rd St., Phoenix, AZ ; the FSDS will be on hand at booth #1209 to invite youths and families to participate in our youth training program.

July 29: Graduation 2017; 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel Phoenix No., 10220 N Metro Pkwy E, Phoenix, AZ

Photo Gallery

Enjoy some photos of our teams at work during the month of June!  When not actively engaged in training exercises, the dogs enjoy time relaxing with their families, riding the light rail and attending college classes.

adara frisbee adara hose adara lightrail adara training class adara pearl adara shadow abby ollie ahoy doug bff doug oliver doug college doug midwestern Happy DougIMG_7979IMG_7984IMG_7986swim dateIMG_7962IMG_7965IMG_7968

 

Jun 012017
 
icon-newspaper

Preparing for Natural Disasters

Summer officially begins later this month, and with it comes the threat of natural disasters for many across the U.S.  Hurricane and monsoon season start in June and wildfires are already on the rise.  Tornado activity has been increasing, and already in 2017 there have been 34 deaths in the U.S.  Of those 34 deaths, 19 (54%)  of these were individuals who were in a manufactured home.  All SD handles need to be aware of the risks in their region and have an emergency response plan in place to ensure the safety of their team.   This plan should include signing up for emergency notifications for warning of tornadoes or other events, and an evacuation plan.  The following steps should be taken into account for evacuation:

  • If the evacuation plan is to a storm shelter such as in a basement, then you must ensure that any family members with disabilities must be able to retreat there in the event that they are alone when the warning is issued.  Ensure that the SD can also make it down into the shelter.  Ladders are not accessible for dogs, and an alternate plan must be in place to lower the dog safely into the shelter.
  • In the event of a fire evacuation, ensure that all papers regarding health care and vaccination are stored on a Drive that is accessible by mobile device; in the event that a rapid evacuation must take place then all important papers for your dog must be retrievable to assure the workers at the evacuation shelter that your dog is indeed a service dog AND is up to date on all vaccines and preventive treatments.
  • Store all medications and medical records for both humans and dogs in one location, preferable in a box for each so that if time permits, the boxes can be accessed easily and packed into a car.
  • If you reside in a multi-story building, ensure that an evacuation plan is in place for those with disabilities and SDs in the event that stairway access is not an option.
  • Designate a meeting place so that in the event your family is separated, or if you are evacuated from different locations you will know where to meet up with family.
  • Practice, practice, practice in advance!  The start of each season is an ideal time to have an evacuation drill.

Remember not to wait until the last minute – if you are placed on evacuation alert then gather up your things and get to safety before the roads become impassable.  Do not attempt to “ride out” a natural disaster, as this places your team, your family, and the emergency first responders in your area in jeopardy.

Stay safe and have an enjoyable summer.

Classroom News

bill sully kiss

Military veteran Bill Riley and SDIT Sully take time to cuddle.

Beginner Class – this past month the class has been focusing on areas students still needed practice with their SDIT: Reaction to another dog, leash manners.  Excitement runs high as they enter their final preparations for the CGC test and the upcoming graduation in July.  When the advanced class graduates as certified teams, this class will be promoted to the advanced class.  If you see them out and about in public, please stop to offer them a few words of encouragement.

Advanced Class – this class has been refining service skills, including picking up dropped items, finding items, alerting to medical needs, opening doors.  Recipients have received additional practice doing some basic obedience with student handlers at a further distance.  Our wonderful group of teen student-handlers mentored their recipients through training exercises by standing across the room while recipients did some 30-foot sit and down stays using a long-line.  The student-handlers then left the room (watching around the corner), returning every 30 seconds to 1 minute to help instruct the recipients on how to solidify their down-stay out of sight skills.  The class is preparing for their final certification test that will take place next month.

Graduation

Each year we have the privilege of graduating a new class of certified SD teams. Graduation day is a special time for all and this is a wonderful time for all of our readers to come out and meet us, and say a personal thank you to our deserving recipients for their service to our community and our nation.  We are honored to have Dr. Margaret Brown as our keynote speaker this year.  Dr. Brown is a military veteran, having served as a commissioned medical officer with the Marines.   She has traveled the world, is an accomplished research scientist and currently works at the Tucson VA Hospital caring for other wounded military.  She dreams of serving with Doctor’s Without Borders upon retirement.  Returning for her second year to Emcee this event will be Donna Rossi from Channel 5.  Donna began her career as a Phoenix Police Officer and has worked hard to bring to light issues surrounding wounded first responders.

This year graduation tickets will be only $50 each, and this includes a catered meal.   Tickets must be paid in advance and will not be sold at the door.  If you wish to purchase tickets for yourself, or complimentary tickets to be used for a recipient or student trainer, please contact us to learn more.

Training Tip

School is out in many parts of the nation, and this means vacation for some teams.  We remind our teams to contact any friends or family members in advance of a visit to make certain that they, and any small children, are aware of SD etiquette rules prior to your visit.

Teach friends and family to be “dog smart” when greeting a dog for the first time.  Did you know that dogs communicate through body language, and looking a dog in the eye and approaching fast is viewed as a sign of human aggression by dogs.  Small children who may be on eye level with a dog need special assistance to greet to avoid a fear response from the dog.

A small child should be held by an adult.  Turn sideways, avoid direct eye contact with the dog and hold out their hand palm up.  Let the dog come to you to sniff first.  Adults and children alike should be instructed to resist the temptation to rush up to your furry companion, throw their arms around their neck and hug and kiss them!  Remember that when it comes to new introductions, slow is fast!

Wellness / Safety Tip

If you plan to allow your dog to be in or on the water this summer, make certain that you provide them with a well fitted, suitable life jacket. This is a good idea if you have a pool, plan to visit a lake or will be boating.  FSDS certified teams are entitled to a 50% discount at Ruffwear.com , and you can contact us to learn more.

Congratulations!

jolie graduation

Jolie Jendry and Sully

Please join us in congratulating student trainer Jolie Jendry on her recent HS graduation.  Jolie is raising SDIT “Sully” for military veteran Bill Riley.  This is the second dog that Jolie has trained for the FSDS.  Jolie has a bright future and we are so proud of her. She and Sully walked together in graduation and it was a special day for all.

A Warm Welcome

We wish to extend a very warm welcome to our newest student trainer Brianna Calvin.  Brianna is a local HS student and will take over the training of  SDIT Shadow, who was being trained by one of our military veterans for his own needs.  Due to medical issues, assistance was needed in completing the training for him.  When Brianna learned of the situation, she stepped up to the plate and offered to assist.  It is heartwarming for us to see our young teens demonstrating such respect and appreciation for those who have served.

Thank You

Our sincere thanks to the following individuals who have donated so generously to our program this past month:

  • Valerie Schluter
  • Armed Forces Support Group of Sun City Grand
  • Arizona Disabled Veteran Foundation

Upcoming Events

June 9 – Community presentation in Scottsdale, AZ

June 21st at 2pm CR Graduation Party for our students, open to CR Bard Employees who will be collecting gifts and showing up to honor our graduates and say thank you to them for their services to our community.

July 7 – July 8:  AZ Families for Home Education (AFHE) Conference, Phoenix Convention center, South Bldg, 33 S. 3rd St., Phoenix, AZ ; the FSDS will be on hand at booth #1209 to invite youths and families to participate in our youth training program.

July 29: Graduation 2017; 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel Phoenix No., 10220 N Metro Pkwy E, Phoenix, AZ

Photo Gallery

This past month the classes took a combined field trip.  After a ride on the light rail, they visited the AZ Science Center, where the dogs practiced performing tasks while faced with sensory stimulation and unusual sights and sounds.

bill and sully cb6 smell the flowerscb1cb2cb3cb4cb5cb6cb7cb8cb9Pearl and AdaraPearl and Amandascary hatsharon crutcheschurch shadowsully bottlesully car

 

May 012017
 
icon-newspaper

A New Era in Training

On June 1st the FSDS will launch the new SD Trainer Academy.  Last month we outlined how the program is constructed.  This month, we take a closer look at the intent of the program and what we hope to accomplish.

A Holistic Approach

While most other canine training programs offer education in canine skill training, behavior and the basics of canine care, we have taken this a step further.  It is our belief that programs that focus all of their attention solely on the dog fall short in helping new trainers develop the skills needed to be truly effective.  We realize that when approaching canine training, you have two students to consider- the dog and their human.  Let’s face it- the dog will not be the one to contact you and sign up.

When approaching SD training, this issue of training the humans is further complicated by the fact that as opposed to a general obedience class, a SD class will exclusively contain a population of humans with varying levels of ability and disability.  For many, the issues of chronic pain, PTSD, polypharmacy and such will impose secondary learning challenges for the humans.  Since a SD trainer relies on the human to go home and be in charge of the training during the intervening time between classes, addressing the learning challenges is critical to success.  An entirely different approach must be taken to education.

Ask any experienced teacher and they will tell you that teaching is a specialized skill set.  We believe that there are three developmental tasks for our students as they progress through their journey to become competent SD trainers:

  • know what you do not know
  • learn how to learn
  • teach how to teach

Our Academy is designed to move students through this process and help them to develop those skills needed to become proficient trainers who are able to address the myriad needs of both dogs and humans.

Dog Training vs Management

It is our belief that unless a trainer fully understands what is required to keep their business up and running, they will not be successful.  The dog training that goes on inside of the classroom is typically the “easy part” of the job.  It is what goes on behind the scenes in preparation for the lessons, and to manage the business that occupies most of the time and energy of the trainer.  While most programs do not provide instruction on how to start and manage a business or how to organize instructional materials into a comprehensive and logical curriculum, we have taken considerable time to address these issues.  Students who graduate from the FSDS Academy will leave with a clear understanding of what is required for them to be effective managers.

Depending on which statistics you read and how they go about data collection, most are in general agreement that that for the average small business, only approximately 1/3 will survive to the 10 year mark.  This is a sobering number, and one that all new trainers need to be aware of.  It is a goal of our Academy that our trainers will graduate with the skills needed to start, maintain and grow a successful training business.

Classroom Management

Young trainers who are starting out may face a “playing field” that is not level with regard to their students.  A SD program tends to run the gamut from young people to adults; from little education to those with doctorate degrees; and those who are starting out in life to those who are retired and have extensive life and work experience above and beyond that of the trainer.  It is important for all trainers, and especially those who are starting out, to understand how to effectively manage a diverse classroom.  Just as a SD handler must be the leader of their team, so must a trainer be the leader of their class.  Students who attend the FSDS Academy will receive the necessary instruction on classroom management to leave them feeling confident and competent in any situation.

How to apply – we have been encouraged by the number of requests for applications we have received since last month, and urge those interested in a career in SD training to learn more.  Click here to request an application packet.

Graduation Needs

For the many of you who come out faithfully to celebrate graduation with us each year, we remind you that this year graduation will be on July 29th, not in May as in prior years.  Please mark this on your calendar.

Graduation is a joyous time, and a time for us all to be reminded of the plight of all of our deserving heroes who have risked their lives to protect us both abroad and here at home.  Each year, we turn to our readers to invite you to help us support those in need.  This year, we have some specific needs for graduation:

  • purchase of comp tickets for graduates and their families ($50 each) or a table of 10 for $500
  • donations of items for a silent auction
  • donations of gift cards for pet retail stores
  • donations of money to allow us to provide working equipment for the graduating dogs including booties, vests, harnesses and collars / leads

A graduation is costly, but we believe that this is a necessary event for all.  For the extraordinary teens who have devoted the last 18 months of their lives to raise a SD for someone in need, this provides closure and helps them to move on.  For those who will receive a SD from our program, this is a validation that their services, and ultimate physical challenges, are recognized and appreciated.

We ask that our readers join us in rewarding the hard work and dedication of our program participants by helping us to make graduation a special time for all.

Classroom News

Puppy Class:  In April the class took a field trip to Target and local parks to start training for Public Access Testing (PAT) and have received lots of compliments from customers as the class worked their way through the store.  They will be taking practice tests next Saturday.  They have also been working on “go get help” this past month.     Students got to practice answering questions from the public and educating them.  Everyone did great!  The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) will be taken next month.   Zanna Fehr and Duke are to be commended for their work this past month- they have made huge gains in mastering their CGC skills. Kudos also to Daisy Saenz and Indy for their outstanding gains in mastering obedience skills.   If you encounter our teams when you are out in public, please take the time to stop and let them know their good work is appreciated.

Advanced class:  This class also took a field trip to Target and other locations to practice for the final certification test.  Phenomenal leave-its were demonstrated.  The teams are building confidence for service skills in public areas.  Lots of bonding between recipients and student trained dogs.  The recipients handled the dogs the entire day on this field trip while student-handlers stepped back and gave verbal guidance and support.  Lovely to see students growing into the leaders of tomorrow.   This sort of reciprocal mentoring between student trainers and recipients is one of the things that has made our program special.  Tim Smith and Zazu have also done an outstanding job with working in public with distractions.  Special congratulations to Amanda Van Asdall and “Doug” and Bill Riley and “Sully” for their outstanding work over the past month.

Wellness Tip

We would like to take the opportunity to inform our readers of the many pet food recalls that have been issued thus far in 2017.  It appears that many different brands are processed at the same plant, leading to multiple recalls for the same issues.  Though some recalls are for concerns of food poisoning, there are been an excess of notable recalls for:

  • pentobarbitol contamination – this is a drug used for euthanasia
  • shards of metal fragments in the food

We urge all readers to sign up to receive pet food recall notices.  It appears that most of these recalls are for canned food.  Please take this into consideration when making decisions to select can food vs kibble for your dog’s dietary needs.  Consult with your veterinarian for any questions or need for advice.

A warm welcome

We are pleased to welcome two new military families to our program this past month.  A warm welcome to:

  • Catherine Teel
  • Jacob Cosper

A special thank you

Our sincere thanks to the following individuals for their generous financial support:

  • Larry and Gail Freels
  • Valerie Schluter

Many thanks to Ofc. Frank Marino from the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association for lending his voice and expertise to our efforts to provide education regarding police officers and PTSD.  We recently turned to Frank for input into the educational materials to be used for the SD Trainer Academy.  Frank was all too happy to take time out from his very busy schedule to provide excellent insight, which has been incorporated into our training.  PLEA has been supportive of FSDS programs and community education efforts over the years and we appreciate their involvement.  Four paws up!

A very special thanks to Sharon Richter for taking over managing the FSDS social media accounts.  Many of you have already responded to some of her recent posts, and we are so looking forward to enjoying her updates.

Upcoming Events

June 9 – Community presentation in Scottsdale, AZ

July 7 – July 8:  AZ Families for Home Education (AFHE) Conference, Phoenix Convention center, South Bldg, 33 S. 3rd St., Phoenix, AZ ; the FSDS will be on hand at booth #1209 to invite youths and families to participate in our youth training program.

July 29: Graduation 2017; 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel Phoenix No., 10220 N Metro Pkwy E, Phoenix, AZ

Photo Gallery

adara lani and amanda adara stand adara bill riley class photo daisy and indy daisy indy duke pet sully and billl take it oliver teddy zanna and duke zazu

Mar 312017
 
icon-newspaper

SD Trainer Academy to Open June 1st

We are excited to announce the opening of new SD Trainer Academy as of June 1st this year.  This program is designed to provide the training necessary for individuals to become qualified SD trainers.  This program will run under the auspices of our outreach services,  and represents our continued commitment to provide credible SD training and certification to teams in all geographic locations.

In 2009, the FSDS piloted the first youth-based training program of its kind, coupling the education of youths with an ability to provide certified SDs to those in need.  Over the years, the program has evolved and gained popularity.  In January of 2016 this program was expanded to become a community-based training program, allowing any individual with a desire to acquire SD training skills to enroll.  Under this model, the program involved completion of didactic education via our online SD 101 course, and 18 months of hands on skills training in the classroom.  Additionally, individuals who graduated from our program were eligible to apply for a position with a pathway to advance from Intern (Novice) to Jr. and Sr. Instructor.  Thus, this offering represented a pilot program with a plan for future expansion.

This pathway was only available, however, to local residents who had attended our classes.  Additionally, students were not permitted to intern with us until their 18th birthday.  Another of our goals was to open up opportunities for youths as young as 15, so that they may work to acquire marketable skills during the time that they are in high school.

This model has worked well, but we felt that there were some pieces still missing.  For example, a canine training business is just that…it is a business, and students require training to understand some basic rules of set-up and operation.  Education on disabilities and accommodation, classroom management, teaching skills at each level and program administration were also needed.  Our goal throughout this pilot has been to fine-tune services, and expand to allow individuals to enroll, regardless of our location.  In fact, encouraging those in remote locations is critical for us, as these remote areas are currently without any credible SD training services, leaving individuals with disabilities residing in rural or remote locations without access to the training they require.

Program Design

This program will take the average individual two years to complete.  Divided into 4 semesters, there is a requirement for completion of 3 comprehensive online courses as well as 75 hours of hands-on training at each level.  Students may elect to stop at any level, but are encouraged to earn all four levels:

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

We permit students to complete their intern hours with any trainer in the nation enrolled in the FSDS Outreach Evaluator network.  If an instructor in your area is not a member of our network, they may contact us to determine eligibility.  Contact a trainer in your area to inquire about an internship.

If you would like more information about enrollment in our Academy, please click here to request information.

Classroom News

This past month our classes combined to take a group field trip to the Pawsability Patch in Glendale, AZ  This was a fun way for the classes to connect and socialize the dogs, while teaching valuable skills.  Our SDs learned how to work with distractions, accept and navigate new obstacles, maintain a good heel around distractions, and even how to board a boat!  See photo gallery for some fun photos.

CB6 Advanced Class – this class is hard at work on upper level SD skills, such as working in public with distractions, “go get help” and “item differentiation”.  Kudos to Bill Riley and his SDIT “Sully” for outstanding work this past month.  A very special thanks goes out to student trainer Jolie Jendry, who houses and trains Sully during the week.  A special thanks also to our sister team of student trainers, Amanda Van Asdall / SDIT Doug and Abigail Van Asdall /SDIT  Oliver for their outstanding job in representing the FSDS at the recent Armed Forces Support Group Tournament.

CB7 Beginner Class – this class has completed their basic obedience training this week and is now at work to prepare for the upcoming Canine Good Citizen test this summer.  The teams are working on skills such as “greeting a friendly stranger” and “greeting a strange dog”.

Many thanks to CB6 team Sharon Richter and “Nahla” and CB7 team Adam Croner and “Shadow” for representing us so well at the Westbrook Village Car Show.

Free Eye Exams for Service Dogs

For the 10th consecutive year, AVCO and Stokes Rx are sponsoring the Free Eye Exams for Service Animals program.  This wonderful program provides free eye exams for service dogs.  Registration  for exams is open during the entire month of April, and the exams will take place in May.  Qualifications can be located on their website, and SDITs will qualify only if they are enrolled in a formal training program, such as the FSDS.  Spaces may be limited, so we urge all of our teams to call immediately to schedule an appointment for May.  Kudos to AVCO and Stokes Rx for providing this valuable service to SD teams across the nation.

Please visit the AVCO / Stokes Rx web page for more information.

Wellness Tip

It is Spring!  The flowers are in bloom, and animals are coming out of hibernation.  This can be an exciting time of year, but also presents some dangers to your pets or SDs.  Here are some facts and tips for you to know:

  • Many plants can be toxic to animals, most notably Oleander, ferns, ivy, any plant with thorns…and a long list of others.  Take inventory of what is growing in your yard.  Consider removal of any toxic plant to safeguard your animals.
  • Snakes are coming out of hibernation, and Spring is the most dangerous time of year for a snakebite.  The snakes are relatively dehydrated, making the venom more concentrated and toxic.  Remove tall grass, wood or rock piles, and inspect your yard before you let your animals out to play.
  • When out walking, stick to paths, wear proper footwear and never permit your dog to stray off the path to sniff around.

Thank You!

We wish to express our sincere thanks to the following individuals / groups who have generously donated to support our programs and services.

  • Westbrook Village Veterans Support Club
  • Valerie Schluter
  • Thunderbird Automotive
  • Thomas and Lois Smith
  • Stan Vanpeursem
  • Dorothy Ritz
  • Sarah S. Lawrence
  • Christine P. Falasco
  • Nancy Scimeca
  • Dwain Carson
  • Norman Palmer
  • Martin Chorzempa

Upcoming Events

July 29 – Annual FSDS SD Graduation at the Radisson Hotel Phoenix North, 10220 N. Metro Pkwy. E. , Phoenix, AZ; come celebrate with us as we graduate another class of SD teams and student trainers.  Tickets are $50 each and include a catered meal.  Contact Gary Noble for information on obtaining tickets, or sponsoring a deserving hero.

Photo Gallery

070 108 177 221 274  349 377 403 426 448 471

Mar 012017
 
icon-newspaper

 Staying Informed

This past month there have been several issues concerning the safety of all dogs that we wish to bring to the attention of our readers.

Pet Food Recalls – Since the start of this year, there have been 7 pet food recalls, an amount that is more than double the number of recalls seen at this time last year.  It is important to stay informed about recalls and exercise caution in the selection of a diet for your dog.  Current recalls are posted on the FDA website, and we urge all of our readers to stay abreast of this information.  Petful advisor cautions that several brands may be processed at the same facility, more recalls are certain to follow.  Most notably, recalls were made for concerns of Pentobarbitol (a euthanasia drug) as well as metal fragments in the dog food.  There has been at least one death reported due to the Pentobarbitol.  Canned (wet) foods are most frequently involved.  If you are concerned about potential risks for your dog, you are encouraged to speak with your veterinarian for advice.  The pet foods recalled thus far according to the FDA include:

  • February 14, 2017 Against The Grain Pet Food Voluntarily Recalls One Lot of Pulled Beef Due to Potential Adulteration with Pentobarbital
  • February 09, 2017 PetSmart Voluntarily Recalls Single Lot of Great Choice® Canned Dog Food Due to Possible Health Risk
  • February 03, 2017 Evanger’s Voluntarily Recalls Hunk of Beef Because Of Pentobarbital Exposure in one Batch of Food
  • January 13, 2017 Blue Ridge Beef Recalls Product Because of Possible Health Risk
  • January 13, 2017 Grange Co-Op Recalls Rogue All Purpose Rabbit Pellets For High Vitamin D Health Risk
  • January 06, 2017 The J.M. Smucker Company Expands Limited Voluntary Recall on Certain Lots of Canned Cat Food Due to Low Levels of Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
  • January 03, 2017 The J.M. Smucker Company Announces a Limited Voluntary Recall on Certain Lots of Canned Cat Food Due to Low Levels of Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

Leptospirosis – be advised that there has been an increase in cases of Leptospirosis (Lepto) reported in dogs here in Arizona.  Thus far in Arizona, the Department of Agriculture has reportedly identified 40 cases.  This is a bacterial illness that is most often spread through contact with farm animals, rodents, wild animals or other dogs, but it may also be contracted from exposure from contaminated water in rivers and lakes, or on hiking trails.  Lepto can be spread to humans as well.

The signs and symptoms of Lepto vary widely.  Some dogs show no symptoms at all, others show minor symptoms including fever, muscle tenderness and GI upset, while others develop severe symptoms and death may occur.  There is a vaccine available to protect against this illness.  We recommend the following for all dog owners, and particularly for service dog handlers:

  • speak with your veterinarian about vaccination and preventive strategies
  • make certain that your dog has protective booties when near possible sources of contamination
  • avoid exposing your dog to farm animals or other dogs with unknown vaccination status
  • supervise your dog when outdoors at all times, and regularly inspect your yard for evidence of rodents
  • be vigilant for signs that your dog is not feeling well and call your veterinarian early for advice

Classroom News

CB6 – our advanced class is hard at work on specific tasks to mitigate disabilities of the intended recipient.  Kudos to Amanda Van Asdall and her SDIT “Doug” as well as Brianna Espinosa and her SDIT “Zazu” for mastering the ability to go to the kitchen to open or close cabinet doors.

CB7 –  our beginner class successfully completed their canine FA and CPR certification this month.  Kudos to our youth trainers from the advanced class who assistant taught, earning their Jr. Safety Instructor credentials.  These teen trainers are Amanda Van Asdall, Brianna Espinosa, and Grace Ganahl.  Congratulations!  Special thanks to our classroom aide Sharon Richter, who is volunteering to earn her community service hours for her own SD under our Pawsitive Community Program.  Sharon consistently goes above and beyond to help out, she is always positive and inspire others.  Keep up the good work.   Mention must also be made for Zanna Fehr and her SDIT “Duke” as well as Samantha Aguilar and her SDIT “Adara”, who are doing excellent work with loose leash walking.

Coming Soon – Service Dog Trainer Academy

Be on the lookout in the months to come.  Over the past 9 years, the FSDS training program has coupled the provision of instruction to those who wish to acquire SD training skills to the provision of services to those in need of service dogs.  The program has evolved and the interest in the “train the trainer” aspect of our program continues to grow.  Plans are underway to expand our ability to provide training to those who wish to become skilled obedience / service dog trainers. While other canine obedience training schools focus solely on obedience training, the FSDS program will provide the student with the skills to train at all levels from puppy to service dog.

Training has been expanded to also include education on how to start and operate your own training business.  We feel that this will be particularly suited not only for youths who are setting out to make a career of training, but also for our wounded military, first responders and others who have been forced into medical retirement and are seeking employment opportunities that they will have some more control over.  We recognize that job seeking when you are partnered with a SD is challenging, and an environment such as a canine training business can offer flexible solutions and a path to independence.  Stay tuned.

Wellness Tip

During the winter months, rattlesnakes typically hibernate.  They emerge, most commonly, in the months of March or April when the average temperatures are greater than or equal to 60 degrees.  It is therefore a good idea at this time to walk your property and remove any potential hazards.  Ensure that there are not piles of rocks, tall grasses or untrimmed bushes where snakes may hide.  Some helpful tips for safety are:

  • inspect your yard before letting your dogs outside to play
  • walk on established paths only, and not through tall grassy areas
  • when opening the door to let your dogs out to potty, peek outside first to ensure that there are no snakes
  • check your garage before taking your dog out to put them in the car, snakes sometimes find their way into garages
  • if you are uncertain if a snake is poisonous or not, treat it as if it is!

Donations Sought for Silent Auction

The FSDS is seeking donations for a silent auction event to be held at the graduation this July.  Some examples of suitable items are:

  • products or services from local businesses
  • time share usage
  • unique hand-crafted items from local artisans
  • tickets to sporting events or theater

Individuals who are interested in making a tax deductible donation may contact Gary Noble for more information.

Thank You

We wish to express our sincere thanks to the following individuals for their generous donations to support our service dog training program:

  • Valerie Schluter
  • Barry MacKean and Teresa Ledzinski
  • Martin Chorzempa

We wish to express our ongoing thanks to the following for their long-term support of the FSDS training program:

  • Dr. KC Wright at the Apollo Animal Hospital in Glendale, AZ.  Since 2009, Dr. Wright has provided the highest quality of care for the service dogs enrolled in our training program, and has waived the cost for all office fees.
  • Phoenix Police Department for allowing us use of classroom space at a local precinct

Volunteers Needed

The FSDS is looking for a videographer.  We seek the participation of someone with skills needed to assist the FSDS in filming training videos to benefit future students.  We are also seeking the services of a graphic designer who is interested in some small projects such as designing certificates for students.  If you are interested in assisting us, please contact Dr. B for more information.

Upcoming Events

July 29th – FSDS Graduation, details TBA

Photo Gallery

Enjoy these photos from February of classroom training, as well as a Car Show sponsored by the Westbrook Village Veterans Support Club.  This event was to benefit the FSDS training program, and we are so grateful for this type of support.  A great time was had by all.

CB7 feb1 CB7 feb2 CB7 feb3 CB7 feb4 CB7 feb5 CB7 feb6 CB7 feb7 CB7 feb8 CB7 feb9sd1sd2sd4sd5sd6sd9sd10sd11sd12sd14sd15sd16sd17

 

 

 

Feb 012017
 
icon-newspaper

Classifications of Working Dogs

Each month we receive numerous requests from individuals who are working to understand the differences between classifications for working dogs.  We take time this month to provide information to assist those who are at work to determine the type of dog that will best meet their needs.

Working dogs– this term loosely applies to all dogs who work to provide any type of service.  Examples of different types of working dogs includes but is not limited to the following:

  • arson dogs
  • drug / bomb sniffing dogs
  • military dogs
  • therapy dogs
  • facility dogs
  • service dogs
  • emotional support dogs

Service dogs –  while other types of dogs have public access to only those places where they are required to work, service dogs are the only category of working dogs that are entitled to public access in all places of business where their handlers frequent.  The Department of Justice defines as service dog as:

“…a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.  The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.” ( https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html )

Note that there is a requirement that the dog must be trained.  Individuals who purchase an online vest and take their dog into public absent training do not meet this definition.   It is the task specific nature of the training that sets a service dog apart from emotional support animals and other types of working dogs.  We note that many states have laws that provide equal access rights to service dogs in training.  Under law service dogs are not pets, thus “no pet policies” do not apply to service dogs.  For the most part- the old designation of service animal has been revised to include only canines- with rare exceptions made for miniature horses that meet strict guidelines.

Emotional support animals (ESA) – these animals are simply pets whose mere presence provides comfort to a person.  These animals are classified as pets, and are not restricted to dogs.  A physician letter stating that an ESA is needed is all that is required for an animal to meet this definition.  The FSDS does not train ESAs.

Therapy dogs – these dogs are trained to visit patients / clients in public.  Examples of places where you might find a therapy dogs include but are not limited to hospitals, nursing homes and reading partner programs for children.  The FSDS does not train therapy dogs.

Facility dogs – these dogs are trained to work in therapeutic settings.  A good example of a facility dog is a court dog, trained to comfort victims during depositions and court proceedings.  Another example would be a dog trained to work with a licensed therapist during group or individual sessions for traumatized individuals.  The FSDS trains facility dogs.

We remind all readers that the FSDS selects carefully screened and temperament tested dogs for inclusion in our training program.  Individuals interested in attending our program should not obtain a dog first and contact us later. 

Classroom News

CB6 Class – This class is hard at work mastering upper level service dog skills.  Some of the skills worked on this past month are opening and closing doors, pulling a wheelchair, pushing handicap door and other emergency buttons and scent recognition.  They are also learning how to food shop and retrieve / return items from shelves.  Additionally, they are working on obstacle courses and working with distractions.  All are doing a great job.

CB7 Class – our beginner class has been working on training games to help the puppies master basic obedience.  The FSDS training program uses positive reinforcement only, and all exercises are built as games that the puppies find enjoyable but are able to learn from at the same time.  This month they have worked on self-control, heel-side hand targeting, sit-stay at a distance, attention and focus, take to hold, touch with a lid and loose leash walking.  A very special shout out to student trainer Pearl Willis and SDIT “Adara” for their excellent mastery of the “sit” command, and to recipient trainer and military veteran Dennis Meltzer and his SDIT “Blue” for focus and mastery of the “sit-stay at a distance” command.

Become a Certified Program

Are you currently an Evaluator in the FSDS Outreach Certification Program?  Do you wish to offer group SD training classes as a formal program through your business?  Learn more about opportunities to gain support by joining the FSDS network.  Click here to learn more.

 

Wellness Tip

Recalls of dog food, treats and other canine products do occasionally occur.  It is important for every responsible dog owner to stay informed.  Best case scenario tainted foods can lead to gastrointestinal upset that may be short-lived.  Worst case, it can lead to life-threatening illness such as Fanconi syndrome and death.

Sign up to receive free pet food recall notices.

Thank You

We wish to express our sincere appreciation to the following individuals who have generously contributed to help us fulfill our mission of providing services to wounded heroes.

  • Steven and Liz Michaels
  • Shelley Kamin ILM Dorothy Savino Klaer
  • Albert Leidel ILM Charles Wagner
  • Valerie Schluter
  • Trudy A. Dreiling
  • James L. Braun
  • Bill G. Petersen

Upcoming Events

  • 2/26/2017 – Westbrook Village Veterans Support Club Old Car Show.  This event is held in Westbrook Village at the Vistas Recreation Center, 18825 Country Club Parkway, Peoria, AZ, and proceeds help support the FSDS mission to provide service dogs to wounded veterans.

Applications Now Accepted for Next Class

The FSDS is accepting applications from individuals interested in attending our program for the next class.  This is tentatively scheduled to begin this Fall.  You can locate our application on our website at:

http://servicedogsupport.org/dogs/apply/

Photo Gallery

We hope you enjoy these photos of our classes at work.  The advanced class is at work on tasks such as wheelchair pull, opening and closing doors and pushing emergency button.  Our beginner class is working at fine tuning basic obedience, and our students are also completing their canine safety skills training, including CPR and first aid certification.

DSC_0315 DSC_0333 DSC_0335 DSC_0337 DSC_0339 DSC_0348 DSC_0357 DSC_0360DSC_0309 DSC_0317 DSC_0319 DSC_0321 DSC_0325 DSC_0331

 

Dec 012016
 
icon-newspaper

The Year in Review

It is so hard to believe that another year is coming to a close.  2016 has been a year of challenges for us, and with these challenges has come opportunities to stretch our wings and grow as we adapt to the changes going on around us.  We take a moment her to review for you some of the highlights of the past year.

SD Training Program– in January we overhauled our training program to convert this from a high school to a community-based program.  Though local teens continue to be welcome, no longer is inclusion limited to only those students on one high school campus.  This change benefits not only teens across the Valley, but also permits individuals with disabilities to participate fully as students to train their own dog from start to finish.  2016 also marks the first time that we were able to start two new classes in the same year.

Certification Program – we have expanded our program to invite independent trainers to become a part of a network of programs to become FSDS certified programs.  This is a lengthy process, and several programs are already at work to organize their standards to meet requirements.  Our goal is to help network independent trainers who operate small businesses, and improve accessibility and quality of SD training in remote rural areas of the country.

Working Like a Dog Program – this is perhaps the most exciting initiative for us.  This past year the Board has approved an initiative that will provide per diem work for SD teams, who would otherwise be disenfranchised.  It is no secret that securing employment as a SD team is fraught with difficulties.  Many of our team handlers who have been wounded in the line of duty have been placed on medical retirement, and suffer feelings of social isolation.  Our new program will permit those who have been in training for at least one year, or graduated, and in good standing to apply for a position as Community Educators.  They will then be available to attend meetings and events and help educate the public on SD issues.  It will also be a goal of ours to increase outreach to military and first responders and those service agencies put in place to assist them, and educate them about the benefits of SDs.

Our growing family – this past year we were fortunate to attract several new members of the FSDS family.  Dominique Sollazzo joined the FSDS family as of the first of the year.  She first came to the FSDS in August of 2012 as a high school student, and raised a SD for a military veteran in need.  The following year the FSDS sponsored her to attend the Emergency Animal Medical Technician class offered by the AZ Humane Society.  Dominique now works as an intern instructor.  Mr. Gary Noble joined the family in April.  Prior to being with the FSDS, he was the Executive Director for an environmental non-profit based in Michigan.  Gary is a seasoned grant writer and event planner and his services as the Event Planner / Fundraiser for the FSDS have been a real asset for us.  Scott Sefranka joined the Board of Directors this past summer, and the benefits of his expertise were immediately felt by all.  Scott is a military veteran and wounded police officer, and recently certified as a team with is own SD “Bigby”.  They are graduates of the FSDS training program.  Scott is involved with policy decisions and we are looking forward to a productive long-term relationship between he and the FSDS.

In the News – this past year FSDS was featured in stories by Phoenix Law Enforcement Association  PLEA Oct_2016  as well U.S. World News.  We appreciate the dedication of these professionals to provide education on service dog issues to our community and our nation. FSDS was selected by U. S. News from programs across the nation.

Classroom News

CB6 Class  –  all students have now successfully completed the first three rounds of testing, and starting with the new year will move into the final phase of their training. In this phase they are now learning specific tasks such as tugging open doors, alerting to PTSD triggers, scent work for medical alert dogs, summoning help in times of crisis and working with advanced distractions.  The transformations we have witnessed not only for the dogs, but for the recipients / trainers has been nothing short of miraculous.  Kudos to all for a job well done.

CB7 Class – our new class of students is hard at work mastering their beginner puppy tasks in preparation to take their AKC Puppy Star Test on Dec. 3rd.  The dogs currently know commands like nose-targeting, sit, down, backing up, spinning left and right, and the heel position.  They are all bonding well with their dogs and we are very encouraged by these early signs.  We look forward to getting our new students together with our more established students in early Dec. for the annual holiday party.

Attention Evaluators / Have Your Training Program Certified

This past year, as noted above, we launched a new initiative that would offer each of you the opportunity to have your training program certified.  This initiative is designed to network you and provide you with the infrastructure and support you need to grow and protect your business, while at the same time increasing the quality and quantity of legitimate SD training options to those in areas not served by other SD training program.

The real test of how well your policy and procedures are put together comes in witnessing how well they will hold up when put to the ultimate test.  It is an unfortunate reality that trade secret theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in our nation, with employees / former employees (or volunteers) now recognized as the largest group of offenders.  Fortunately, federal and state laws have recently been enacted to provide a viable option for businesses who are the victims of theft to pursue criminal charges.  Theft of trade secrets is now a felony offense, and no longer regarded as solely a civil matter.  This has opened an avenue for businesses with strong policies that specify how to secure their materials and have the means to collect and produce credible evidence of a crime to pursue criminal charges.  It is important for each of you to differentiate between what sorts of information you may feel are necessary to collect, and what type of information will actually be requested by the police and County Attorney should the need arise.

This past year our policies were put to the test three times.  In each instance, it was document (trade secret) theft that was at play.  Each time, our policies and procedures were sufficient to address the situation.  Each of you must realize that in this electronic (“cut and paste”) world in which we live anyone can navigate to your website and take a screen shot.  They can then crop out your logo and use it.  If you have a website, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media page, you are vulnerable to attack.  Alternately volunteers, past clients or former employees can take your program materials and use them to open “their own” competing program.  One example of a situation we encountered this past year was a former team handler who used our logo to declare herself as the “FSDS Training School” in her region, pasting our logo on a fee schedule she designed, producing her own badges using our logo, etc.  Thanks to some astute readers who recognized the problem and brought this to our attention, she was caught and the authorities were able to address the situation.

For those trainers who sign on with us, you will be presented with a comprehensive set of policy and procedures that will increase your ability to protect your business.  Gone are the days when you can simply hang a shingle and begin to provide services.  Doing the “heavy lifting” work of establishing effective policy and procedures is essential to the survival of your business.  We remind you all that realistically, it is not a question of “if” you will be faced with theft, but “when”Learn more about how to take the first step to protect your business.

Upcoming Events

  • Dec. 3 – Annual FSDS Holiday Party for staff and students
  • Feb. 26, 2017 – Westbrook Village Veterans Support Club car Show to benefit the FSDS, details TBA

With Sincere Thanks

This month we wish to acknowledge and thank the following individuals for their generosity:

  • Del E. Webb Foundation
  • Westbrook Village Veterans Support Club
  • The Camping Companies, Inc.
  • Hannah L. Rhodes
  • The Olivia Family Trust

Over the course of the last year we have been fortunate to have the continued involvement and repeat large donations from several wonderful businesses, and we would be remiss not to mention some of our long-term supporters here:

  • Armed Forces Support Group of Sun City Grand
  • Westbrook Village Veterans Support Club
  • Casino Arizona
  • CR Bard, Inc.
  • Hill’s Pet Nutrition / Tim Ganahl
  • Miracle Corps. / Christopher Barraclough

A very special and heartfelt thank you to the Phoenix Police Department / Dawnasie Martin for very generously permitting us use of classroom space at their Estrella Mountain Precinct.  We are eternally grateful to them for their support of our training program, as well as our officers in need.  Without this type of high level support and long-term commitment, our program would not be possible.

Wellness Tip

It is that time of year when we stuff the stockings for our furry friends.  Here are some practical tips on do’s and don’ts for the season:

Do:

  • replace any working equipment that is in poor repair or no longer properly fitted
  • ensure that all toys are free from small removable parts and made for vigorous chewers
  • provide only nutritious and healthy treats for your dogs
  • sign up to receive pet food recall alerts
  • provide stainless steel bowls for your dog
  • supervise your dog around holiday decorations
  • keep gift packages hidden until you are ready for your dog to open them
  • supervise your dogs play at all times

Don’t:

  • provide human food or treats to your dog
  • offer your dog any toy that is small enough to fit through the center of a roll of toilet paper
  • feed your dog from bowls decorated with lead-based paint
  • leave packages or decorations where your dog can reach them and eat ribbons or bows, as these may cause intestinal obstruction
  • leave garbage cans that contain food remains uncovered
  • leave candy or nut dishes on low lying tables

Have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.

Photo Gallery

We hope that you enjoy these photos.  Some were taken in class, while others were thoughtfully submitted by our students and were taken outside of the classroom.  Who can resist these sweet moments and adorable little puppy faces!

20161119_141016 20161119_144635 20161119_145739 20161119_145758 20161119_145848 20161119_145855 20161119_145901 20161119_160359Adam and ShadowDennis and SDIT BlueDuke close upDuke place matIMG_4109IMG_4119