The Year in Review

As 2015 draws to a close we pause to reflect on the past year, and take a moment to look ahead to some exciting new initiatives planned for 2016.

2015 has been a year of growth for the FSDS.  This past year we have taken on three new staff and three new Board members.  Our SD training program has welcomed almost 30 new students and graduated 8 new teams this past May.  We have a current wait list of 14 recipients who have already been accepted into the program and several more applicants currently working on completing their applications.  We have witnessed the greatest surge of applicants from military veterans and first responders, with this population now comprising over 80% of all recipients.  This number is growing fast, and we have recently been contacted by a first responder support group as well as the VA Hospital regarding additional individuals in need of assistance.  Our Outreach Certification Program has certified 15 new teams, and this year we have welcomed 18 new Evaluators, reaching a milestone of over 100 Evaluators during this past year.

2016 promises to be an exciting year for all of us.  Program expansion is planned for both our Outreach Program and SD Training Program and along with this will come a period of more rapid growth.  With the hiring of a new Fundraising Coordinator / Event Planner we are looking forward to an ability to hold several events to invite the community to become more involved in our mission.

We are always looking for volunteers, and if you would like to become a part of our family we would love to hear from you.

Classroom News

Estrella Mountain– the EM campus students have been hard at work and this is a bittersweet time for them.  December will be the last month that the students have to work on putting some fine-tuning on tasks before the recipients join the class.  All teams have now successfully passed their Public Access Test, and most recently their Canine Good Citizen Test, administered by FSDS staff (and May 2015 student graduate) Ms. Val Lugo.  Starting January, each student will be assigned to their recipient, and the final semester of training will begin.  December is also a time for us to say thank you to our students for their hard work, and what better way to do so than with a party.  Each year we hold a holiday party for students, parents and recipients.  Kudos to our superb teaching staff, Mrs. Veronica Wiley and Ms. Lisette Borja for their outstanding efforts.

Paradise Valley– PV students have already begun to receive their new puppies, and for the next 18 months they will live, work and play together as they embark on their journey to become certified teams.  The PV campus will host the holiday party, and preparations are in full swing.  What party would be complete without gifts for our hard working dogs?  The students and teachers have been hard at work to put together gift bags that are sure to please.  Four paws up to our outstanding teaching staff Mrs. Sally Cebulski and Ms. Ashley Lewis for their hard work.

With Sincere Thanks

Our heartfelt thanks to the following individuals and groups for their generous support in the past month:

  • Valerie Schluter
  • Westbrook Village Veterans Support Club
  • Albertson’s Community Partner Program
  • Amazon Smile
  • Joe and Margaret Toth

Welcome to our New Board Members

A warm welcome to our newest members of the Board of Directors.

Tina SollazzoTina Sollazzo– Tina got involved in FSDS when her daughter, Dominique went through and graduated from the FSDS youth-based service dog training program with Charlie, the SD that she trained, in May 2014.  After graduation Tina and Dominique became foster parent for future FSDS puppies in training. Tina has completed the SD 101 training and has earned her certification in canine first aid and CPR.  Tina has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, is a Certified Respiratory Therapist and has been a Police Detective on the Phoenix Police Department since 1988. She is the proud mom to Dominique who is studying Animal Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior at ASU.  Tina enjoys spending time with her daughter and their German Shepard’s.

FullSizeRender-1Stephanie Ames– Stephanie is a native Arizonan and is an avid equestrian and dog lover. She has a BA in Communications and a Masters in Business. Her professional credentials include being a Forensic Scientist/Analyst at both the local law enforcement and federal levels. She has worked for the Tempe Police Department as a barn manager/groom while attending ASU and is still involved with volunteer training with the Mounted Officer Training Association.  Her background in business, work with the law enforcement community and love of animals makes her a valuable asset to the FSDS.

Angela Ofslager

AngelaOfslagerHS_0056-EditAngela Ofslager is originally from outside the Pittsburgh, PA area. However, she now proudly calls Arizona her home. She has a BHS in Healthcare Administration and an AS in Business Administration. Angela’s professional experience includes Human Resources Management, Sales, Real Estate and firsthand knowledge of running a successful woman-owned small business in the Pet Service Industry for 10 years. With a vast knowledge of running a business, she decided to follow her passion and work with animals. She brings a unique perspective on the interaction with animals and people. Angela enjoys spending her spare time with her husband, riding her horse, playing with their dogs and working out.

Wellness Tip

Holidays  are a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends.  We urge all of our readers to include canine safety planning into your holiday plans.  Please remember the following:

  • Decorations can be dangerous for dogs, particularly bubble lights and other tree lights and displays with lighted and moving parts
  • Holiday treats should not be left on coffee or end tables where they are within the reach of our animals; raising, chocolate, macadamia nuts and such can be toxic to your animals
  • Keep your pets in a protected area during parties; guests who come in and out may inadvertently let a pet out and this can end in disaster
  • Costumes make for great photos, however, remember to supervise your animal at all times when they are “in costume” and remove these items from reach after photo sessions.
  • If a toy is small enough to be dropped down through the center of a roll of toilet paper it is too small and can present a choking hazard to your pet; select toys that are designed for vigorous chewers and do not have small parts that can be chewed off
  • Supervise your animals at all times when around the tree; if you have a live tree and put aspirin in the water be certain to heave the pan covered so that your animals do not drink the water
  • Poinsettias are toxic to animals, keep them away from your pets

Licensing Your SD in Arizona

It is time to renew your county license tags.  Make certain that when the new year arrives, you have the current license tag on the collar of your dog.  Just a reminder to all that in the state of AZ it is unlawful for a county to charge a license fee for service dogs.  To  receive your fee waiver, at the time that you license your dog you must submit a signed declaration that contains the following statement:

Declaration of Service Dog Status

By signing this statement, I declare that the dog to be licensed is a service animal as defined in section 11-1024, Arizona Revised Statutes, and I understand that a person who makes a false statement pursuant to section 9-500.32 , Arizona Revised Statutes, is guilty of a petty offense, and is subject to a fine that does not exceed fifty dollars.

You may copy and paste this into a document, sign the statement and submit it with your license application.

Attention Yavapai County residents– in prior years you were able to obtain license tags from your Veterinarians clinic.  This year, there are some changes and you will have to file for your license online.  You will also be able to maintain the same license # and license your dog for 1, 2 or 3 years to time this license renewal with the next rabies vaccine renewal.

Upcoming Events

Dec. 3rd– Holiday Party; by invitation only

February– date TBA; the Westbrook Village Veterans Support Club is hosting an Antique Auto show to benefit the FSDS.  Details will be posted as soon as they are available.

March– March 12, 2016 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. , address TBA: Wickenburg Cut-a-thon hosted by Tony and Melody Lamon to benefit the FSDS.  Details currently being finalized.

Photo Gallery

bonding chess anyone field trip leash work meeting horses shopping tic tac toe