Our Story

The FSDS is an Arizona-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  It has been our privilege to serve AZ since February of 2008.  Over the years we have been systematically working to achieve legitimate credentialing.  This was a tedious process, requiring that we pass through many hurdles.  During our journey, the FSDS program has been approved for / by:

  • Continuing education unit (CEU) credits for all online courses by the National Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers
  • AZ Eligible Training Provider List
  • AZ Office of Apprenticeship as a Master SD Training Apprenticeship Program – we have been informed that we are currently the only such program in the nation
  • VA Administration State Approving Agency (SAA) Office to permit veterans to receive their GI Bill BenefitsTM for participation in our training program
  • BeConnected Program– this is a network of carefully vetted Veteran Service Organizations, and this network is administered by the AZ Coalition of Military Families.

Inclusivity – the FSDS does not place restrictions on eligibility as do many other local veterans service training programs that limit enrollment to only:

  • post-911 veterans
  • those who are able to team train the dog for their own needs
  • those with PTSD or traumatic brain injuries

This essentially limits services to younger veterans who are not old enough to have acquired age-related illness that tends to plague older adults, those who are physically capable of training and those with emotional needs only.

The FSDS accepts all veterans regardless of when and where they have served.   We cross-train dogs to assist with a broad range of task assistance needs including mobility, medical alert, hearing assist, limited guide assistance and PTSD / emotional needs.  For this reason, those with the most serious and overriding needs are often referred to our program, and our student / recipient population is more complex.  The FSDS program has become the court of last resort to those veterans, first responders and others who find themselves marginalized and excluded from services by other programs.

As a result of our careful construct as a true education program, rather than just a dog training program, we are able to promote success for those veterans with learning challenges who are not able to complete other programs.  All students are provided with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) to assure that we provide full accommodations for physical, emotional and learning challenges.  We also place a high priority on the bioethical treatment of our dogs.

We currently operate three programs:

  • Community-based service dog training program– this unique hybrid program allows for three levels of participation.  Individuals who are seeking to acquire service dog training skills may participate and learn to become a trainer by raising a dog for someone in need.  At the same time, individuals who are in need of a dog to mitigate their own disabilities and are physically able to participate in the training are provided a dog and permitted to participate in the class.  Individuals who will receive a dog being trained by a student trainer may elect to attend weekly classes to work with the dog during the training process.  Strong preference is given to military veterans and first responders.  Under the auspices of this program we provide all of the following:
    • SD Training – our hybrid program provides opportunities for those in need to either team train a dog for their needs if they are physically able to do so, or receive a dog that has been fully trained by the program if their disabilities prevent them from team training.
    • Career Exploration for Youths – local youths raise dogs for those who are unable to do so and are able to acquire entry level training skills upon which they can build.  Leadership experiences have been built into this experience to help youths grow into confident and competent leaders of tomorrow.
    • Master SD Trainer Apprenticeship program – this 2 year program provides comprehensive training and the ability to earn a national industry certification as a Master Trainer, issued by the state.  Individuals earn levels along the way, progressing from novice to junior, senior and ultimately Master Trainer.
    • Canine First Aid and CPR Certification for all program participants
  • Outreach Certification Program– this program allows privately trained teams, that reside outside of geographic proximity to a service dog training program, to achieve certification.  The FSDS has built a network of qualified trainers and evaluators who are available to provide in-person testing and evaluation of candidate teams.  Candidate teams may apply to become certified, and qualified trainers may apply to become an evaluator in our network.  Programs that wish to become a part of our network may now apply to become an FSDS certified training program.
  • Canine Safety Program we currently offer two levels of training: Basic and Advanced Life Support.  Basic life support (BLS) training includes first aid and CPR certification, as well as information on prevention of illness and injuries.  Our advanced life support (ALS) workshop is an introduction to paramedic level skills such as IVs, intubation, heart and breath sound recognition and more.  This program has been approved by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training (AZ-POST) Board for continuing education credits (CEUs).

Our Mission

The Foundation for Service Dog Support (FSDS) is an Arizona-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides support and resources for people and service dogs. The FSDS provides training for service dog teams, educational support and public agencies and increased community awareness about the role of service dogs in public spaces. The FSDS preferentially grants service dogs to injured and/or disabled military veterans and first responders, and services to those otherwise unable to afford the cost of a lifesaving SD due to overriding medical expenses.

Our Vision

The vision of the FSDS is a service dog friendly community, absent discrimination, where team members may go forth in confidence and enjoy a high quality of life.

IRS Status

The FSDS is a 501(c)(3) organization, and received its tax exempt status from the IRS on July 31, 2008.

Tax Filings

The FSDS files a 990 each year with the IRS.  In accordance IRS public disclosure regulations, returns must be available for a three-year period beginning with the due date of the return.  The FSDS makes available these reports for the prior five-year period.

Corporation Commission Reports

The FSDS files an annual report with the AZ Corporation Commission.  Our file# is 14301297.