To Be a Team

The FSDS believes in the importance in teamwork, and as such we do not simply train dogs, we train and certify teams.  This approach can be found in every aspect of our programming, from the teens and SDITs in our youth-based training program, to the training that our recipients receive.  At all times, the well being of the team is emphasized.

Every team has a leader, and a SD team is certainly no different.  Leadership training is therefore an integral part of our training program.  Each handler is given clear instructions that are spelled out in our Code of Conduct, and this addressed everything from the safety and care of the dogs, to public access behavior.  For safety reasons, all teams are required to abide by the Code of Conduct at all times as a condition for initial and continued certification.  In addition to this, we believe that teen leadership training is an important part of the process, and have been hard at work to expand our efforts to nurture our teens to become the leaders of tomorrow.

As we grow, the FSDS has plans to continue to provide enhanced training and support to all of our teams.

Classroom News

EM Campus– November has been a busy month, and the students have been on field trips every week to ensure that the dogs have mastered their public access training.  A very special thanks this month to the Avondale Fire Department, who opened their doors and their hearts to our teams.  Firefighters at this station provided valuable training to our teams, even permitting the dogs to explore the fire trucks.  This type of training is crucial, as our recipients are all disabled and at increased risk of medical emergencies that may require a fire department / paramedic response.  Dogs are familiarized with uniforms, and the sights and sounds of lights and sirens.  December will be the final month alone before the students are joined by our recipients.

PV Campus– Congratulations to our hard working students who have successfully completed their Orientation training, and were recently awarded service dogs in training (SDITs).  This starts a new phase of their training and a lot of new responsibilities.  Initially, students will take their dogs to school only on class days, and this will continue until the dogs have mastered their basic commands.  At that time, the students will bring their SDITs to classes with them to school full time.

A Special Thanks to…

Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Sgt. Lisa Mejia of the MASH Unit for their generous donation of 3 beautiful, healthy labradoodle puppies.  These dogs were rescued recently by MCSO, and nursed back to excellent health.  On November 12th, Sheriff Arpaio took the time to personally oversee the transfer of these three loveable puppies from the MASH Unit to the FSDS, so that they may be trained to be service dogs for Arizonans in need.  This is indeed a fine example of community collaboration at its best.  Four paws up to the MCSO MASH Unit for the fine services that they provide.


L to R: Tatyana Gonzalez and Breezy, Meagan Carr and Maggie, Lisette Borja and Chloe, Dominique Sollazzo and Charlie

Ellie Brandt and the members of the Soroptomists of Phoenix, Arizona for hosting a fundraiser to benefit the FSDS youth-based training program.  The support and involvement of this wonderful group is greatly appreciated.  In addition to the financial support, the Soroptomists serve as positive role models to our teens.  Many thanks for the dedication and commitment of all.

Avondale FD Station #172 for their hospitality for a recent field trip to their station.  The involvement of the firefighters not only provides training for our SDITs on emergency vehicles, but it also provides mentoring for our teens.  Promoting community service is an important component of our training, and these real life heroes are perfect examples of the importance of community service.

Safety and Wellness Tip

We remind our readers that when it comes to wellness for your dog, it is far easier to prevent problems than it is to intervene once a problem has occurred.  A few tips for wellness care are:

1.  Flea and tick, as well as heartworm medications should be administered each and every month.

2.  Remember to brush your dogs teeth regularly, and change the toothbrush on the first of each month.

3.  Ear cleaning should be done regularly, and may be required more frequently in dogs who play outdoors in dusty areas.

4.  We recommend a hypoallergenic oatmeal shampoo for all dogs, and daily brushing to remove dander.

5.  Inspect your dogs paws after coming indoors from play to ensure that there are no thorns, cactus needles or other objects stuck in the pads of their paws.

6.  If you reside in a region that experiences snow, remember to provide thermal booties for your dog to prevent frostbite.

7.  Limit outdoor play, particularly in snow, to prevent hypothermia.

 Upcoming Events for December

Dec. 6th- Holiday Party at the PV Campus of AAEC High School for our students, parents and recipients.