Public Access Project Follow-Up

April marks the one year anniversary for creation of the Public Access Challenge Reporting database.  During the past year, we have encouraged teams to complete the brief online survey to report public access challenge problems.  This month we share some of the key findings.

  • 71% of all challenges occur between the hours of 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • 73.5% of respondents reported that they had graduated from a formal training program and were a certified team
  • 82.4% of respondents indicated that their dog was wearing a SD vest at the time the challenge occurred
  • 65% indicated that their disability was not obvious
  • 79.4% indicated that their dog weighed 50-99 lbs
  • 41.2% of all challenges occurred in a retail store setting
  • 44.1% of respondents were asked to leave a business without justification (dog well behaved)
  • 58.8% indicated that the manager was summoned but refused to correct the problem
  • 79.4% reported that they left and did not summon police
  • 82.4% did not contact the Attorney Generals (AG) Office
  • Of those who contacted the AG’s Office, only half indicated that a complaint was taken
  • 79.4% did not call the ADA hotline to file a report
  • In only 2.9% of cases was an ADA report accepted- information on follow-up not available

The information gathered thus far paints a very bleak picture for SD teams.  Public access challenges are an almost daily occurrence for many, and we know anecdotally that many teams realize that if they were to report every challenge, they would be labeled a “complainer” and the net result would be damage to their own credibility.  Thus, they attempt to be judicious and save those reports for only the most outrageous cases.  The result is that businesses who challenge a team are very likely to get away with exclusion of teams, making such behavior a no risk venture.  Though it is evident that those with large dogs and invisible disabilities (PTSD, diabetes, chronic pain) are significantly more likely to face challenges this does not justify the behavior.  Efforts to provide relief must include stepped up public education regarding the wide range of tasks that dogs are able to assist with, including medical alert tasks and PTSD.  It is also apparent that since many individuals with PTSD are military veterans or wounded First Responders, those who have risked their lives to serve the community are more likely to experience discrimination if they step forward to obtain a SD to mitigate their disabilities.  This is an unacceptable situation.

We ask all of our readers to encourage education in their workplace regarding SD issues and ADA law to help alleviate the problems we are witnessing.  It is also important for the public to understand that PTSD is not a mental illness…it is a line of duty injury acquired through honorable service.  It is our hope that through a dedicated effort to educate the public, the negative labeling and discriminatory treatment of our heroes with PTSD will become a thing of the past and will be replaced by praise for their service and a welcoming attitude from all of society.

Have you experienced discrimination as a SD team?  Report a challenge online and lend your voice to this effort.

Graduation 2016

Each year the FSDS graduates a new class of certified teams, and this year our graduation will be held in May at the Glendale Civic Center.  This is a very special time for us all, as we are privileged to be able to spotlight the accomplishments of both student trainers and recipients.

Many of our recipients are unable to work due to their disabilities, thus funds are tight.  We have worked hard over the years to be able to provide complimentary tickets for these deserving individuals and their families so that they may be surrounded by those people who are the most important to them and share this celebration.  This means that we as an organization must be able to secure funds to cover the cost of these tickets.   Each year we turn to our supporters and ask that they consider the purchase of a table, or at least a few tickets to sponsor a hero.

Our heroes this year include wounded military veterans, as well as a number of first responders.  Among these first responders are police officers and firefighter/medics.  Some were shot in the line of duty, while one sustained a leg amputation due to injuries.  These are just a few examples of the types of injuries that were sustained in the act of protecting our community.

Please sponsor a hero in the following way:

  • single tickets at $50 each
  • a table at $500

Your support and the message that this sends to them that their services, and injuries, were not in vain will help greatly in their recovery process.  Contact us for further information.

Become a Certified Program

Applications are now being accepted from individual trainers who wish to start a full SD certification program, or those private trainers who have a program running and wish to become a part of the FSDS network.  Click here to apply online.

IT Volunteer Needed

The FSDS is in need of an IT person to volunteer to perform maintenance functions monthly.  If you are familiar with WordPress and Google Apps for Small Business and interested in helping out, please contact us.

Classroom News

Gaston tuxEM Class– the students in our EM class have been hard at work to finalize the training of their dogs.  Students and recipients have been paired and during this phase of training the students are mentoring the recipients to teach them how to work with their dogs.  We are pleased to report that all are doing an exceptional job.  Special praise this month to student trainer Abby Corbin and her SDIT “Gaston”.  Abby is a talented seamstress and has taken the initiative to create a handsome “doggie tux”.  She has volunteered to make tuxes for all of our dogs for graduation this year, and her efforts above and beyond are so very appreciated.

Community Class– this exciting new initiative has really gotten off on the “right paw” and our new recipients / trainers are doing a superb job.  We currently have 12 teams in the class, and they are progressing at a good pace through puppy and basic obedience.  The pups have been at work to master basic commands such as “sit, down and stay”.

Check out our Instagram Page to see our teams in action.

Our sincere thanks to our friends for their generous donations

    • Armed Forces Support Group of Sun City Grand (AFSG SCG) for their generous donations to help us provide SDs to military veterans
    • Melody and Tony Lamon for hosting a successful Cut-a-Thon at Melody and Friends Salon in Wickenburg
    • Martin Chorzempa
    • Barry MacKean
    • Teresa Ledzinski
    • Nancy Megaham
    • All Star Animal Hospital
    • Barry Curseadon
    • Jack & Bette Pogorelec
    • Thomas and Lois Smith Sr.
    • Gerald and Victoria Lagrotta
    • Michael A. Anastos
    • Charlene Wheeler- Riley
    • Phoenix Law Enforcement Association to support a wounded police officer

Wellness Tip

There has been much discussion in the news about mosquito borne illness and how it affects humans.  Remember that mosquito borne illness affects dogs as well, and can cause heartworm disease.  As the warm months approach, remember to:

  • medicate your dog monthly with heartworm preventive medications, as well as flea/tick prevention treatments
  • keep you yard manicured and remove puddles of standing water that may serve as a mosquito breeding ground

Prevention trumps intervention!  It is far easier to prevent this potentially fatal disease from happening than it is to address the problem once it has occurred.

Upcoming Events

May 14th, Saturday – Graduation at the Glendale Civic Center.  Advance ticket purchase required, tickets are $50 each.  Catered lunch provided.

Photo Gallery

Our puppies were not shy and had a blast at the AFSG SCG Golf Tournament this past month.   They were all to happy to pose for some photo opportunities and a good ear rub!  Our thanks as well to Melody and Friends for hosting a Cut-a-thon to support the FSDS, and for the sponsorship of Coca Cola.  A great time was had by all.  Events such as this not only provide much needed financial support to allow us to continue to provide services to the community, but they are wonderful opportunities for the SDITs to practice public access skills and learn to perform tasks amidst distractions.

Caleb sitting pretty AFSG 2016_Golfers _ Teams AFSG_Golf Registration Best pic ever_Bigby Ellen Gus SDIT Grace & Teddy Reba and Teddy ServiceDoginTraining Ron and Sully Service DoginTraining Karen Caleb SDIT catching a nap Linda Gus SDIT Stans grandson Katie ribbonFreddie BearScissorsSyxx w_ kiddosZ_Thanks Robert from Coca Cola