Traveling With a SD

The holidays are upon us, and many will be traveling to be with family and friends.  Whether you are traveling across the State, the country or the world there are some practical tips you should remember to avoid problems.  The most important tip for you to remember, no matter what your means of travel, is to print out copies of all laws in writing and bring them with you.  We recommend carrying one set for yourself and a copy to hand to anyone should a question arise.  Do not hand over your only copy!

Traveling out of State– if you are traveling by car know the laws in the States you plan to travel to.  For example, Arizona law specifies that a service dog in training is entitled to the same rights and privileges as a dog already trained.  Some States do not spell this out, and since federal laws do not mention this issue it may be open to interpretation in those States.  You can find a helpful link to the laws in each State online at Service Dog Central.

Travel to Hawaii– The Honolulu International Airport is the only port of entry for service dogs traveling to Hawaii.  A service dog may be excluded from quarantine providing that the handler follows the guidelines.  We strongly recommend that the required documentation be either sent by certified mail return receipt, or faxed and the handler retain the proof that the fax was sent.  Remember to also bring two sets of documents with you when you arrive.  The first set is for you to hang onto, and the second set is to hand over in the event that the quarantine branch officer is unable to locate the documents you sent in advance.

Airline Travel- once you cross through the boarding gate, you are no longer considered to be on land, and you have entered air space.  Airlines are permitted to craft their own rules regarding travel with a SD.  Some airlines permit service dogs-in-training, and some do not.  Some general rules that pertain to all SDs, in trainig or not, are as follows:

1. Call in advance if your dog is still training and get a copy of the rules in writing.

2. Notify the airline 48 hours in advance that you will be traveling with a SD and request bulkhead seating.

3.  Locate the airline policy regarding SDs and print out two copies to carry with you.

4.  Harnesses and leashes should never be removed when passing through screening points.

5.  Your dog may be required to undergo a pat down search- if your dog has not been exposed to this with strangers before, it may be a good idea to practice this in advance.

6. If the airline refuses to accommodate travel with your dog, immediately ask to speak with the Complaint Resolution Official (CRO).  If they continue to refuse they are required to notify you in writing of the reason within 10 business days.  You have the right to file a complaint if you are not satisfied with the Department of Transportation, and this complaint must be filed within 180 business days.

7.  Remember that stress travels down the leash and affects your dog.  If you are denied travel, remain calm at all times.

8.  If you are traveling out of the country, call the Consulate for the country of your destination in advance to learn about service dog laws, and required documentation.  You vet may also be a good resource in terms of providing information on vaccines and health certificates for different countries.

Travel on a Cruise Ship– know the laws regarding service dogs in each destination port.  There may be ports where you will not be permitted to disembark with your dog.  Research laws in advance, and print out at least two copies of each to carry with you.  Cruise ships are generally accommodating of individuals traveling with SDs.  Let the ship know in advance so that arrangements for potty stations can be made.  Also remember to purchase a life jacket for your dog if you are traveling by ship.

Classroom News

Estella Mountain– The puppies have arrived!  Congratulations to our class for successful completion of Orientation.  Our students have now certified in canine first aid and CPR and completed the required training to receive their SDITs.  In late October all students were rewarded beautiful male golden retriever puppies.  These dogs are from OFA certified parents and have been screened for genetic diseases.  They were obtained from carefully selected local breeders who breed specifically for health, gentle temperament and large size.  The new teams wasted no time in getting down to the work of basic obedience training.  The past few weeks have been spent focusing on potty training, sit, down and stay.  A very special thanks to Dr. Mona Ramirez, Principal for the support she has shown to our students and staff.

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Student trainers and teacher Sally Cebulski participate in Military Veterans Appreciation Day at Luke AFB.

Paradise Valley– This month will be the past month prior to the new class of recipients joining our students.  Starting in January 2015 the new recipients will attend class twice a month to accomplish the hands on training needed to work with their future SDs.  This last month will be spent by the students brushing up on final skills.  Our annual holiday party for recipients and students will be hosted by the Paradise Valley campus this year thanks to the warm hospitality of Dr. Martha Braly, Principal.  This is a wonderful opportunity for both classes to get together, for our students to meet and begin to bond with prospective recipients, and for the recipients to meet all of the dogs in training.  A special thanks to all of the students who participated in Military Veterans Appreciation Day at Luke Air Force Base.  The FSDS was on hand to provide information to disabled veterans who are seeking a SD.  The students participated as part of their leadership training and as always, did a fantastic job at representing the FSDS.

Wellness Tip

Holiday food is tempting, but remember that foods that are treats for humans can be toxic to dogs.  Topping off the list of dangerous food for pets are chocolate, raisins, macadamia nuts, onions and garlic.   If you do plan to give your dog meat, remember to take it off of the bone first.  Small bones can fracture and become imbedded in the roof of the mouth causing significant injury.  If swallowed, smaller bones with sharp edges can cause damage to the stomach and intestinal lining.  Watch your dog around the table, and remember to keep a lid on the kitchen garbage can when throwing out scraps.  Also remember to keep candy and nut dishes off of low end or coffee tables and out of the reach of dogs at all times.  If you use a live tree and have aspirin in the water keep it covered so your dog does not drink the water.  Watch glass decorations that your dog may try to chew, or ribbons and bows that can be swallowed and cause an obstruction.  In short, supervise your dog around holiday decorations at all times.

With Sincere Thanks

Many thanks to Joan and Charles Calderone for their $100 donation for the 2015 graduation.  This is so very appreciated and will assist us in providing necessary items for the dogs as they transition to their new recipients.

Sending out a big thank you to our friends at Casino Arizona for their continued support of our program.  Their generous $2,884 grant will help us to fund an educational initiative for our students and staff for the coming year.

Don’t Forget

Those of you who shop at for the holidays can sign up to have a portion of the proceeds from the sale go to the FSDS to support our training program by shopping at the site.  You can sign up to support the FSDS by clicking on the link on the home page of our website.  Just one click is all it takes.  Best part is that it costs you nothing to do this.

You can also donate to the FSDS by visiting our page at GoFundMe and making a donation.  Monies raised from donations on this site are used to help needed supplies for the dogs, and financial assistance to students in need so that they may participate fully in the program.

Help us Fill Puppy Stockings This Year

We are seeking donations of new toys (no rawhide, plush or squeaker toys please), training treats and grooming supplies for our new puppies.  If you are interested in making a tax deductible donation of either items or money please contact our General Manager for more information.

Wishing all of our readers a safe holiday season, and a healthy, happy new year!