Message from the Executive Director

Greetings to one and all!

It’s usually a mad dash from Thanksgiving through the December holidays season, and right into the new year. It’s certainly that way for us here at FSDS. Especially because we started our 2nd session of classes in November for a new group of students in the program.  So we now have both Saturday morning and afternoon classes.

And we have much to be grateful for as we look forward to starting our third training class of students beginning in February. This will be a weekday class series.

For those of you who include your pets in your celebratory outings, please be mindful of our 4-on-the-floor courtesy to make a positive impression on your hosts, restaurant staff, and/or people around you. No dogs hanging over the buffet line or begging at the table. People will be so impressed and appreciative of your thoughtfulness.

Know that we are grateful for your support and encouragement and appreciate you thinking of us when you make your holiday giving decisions.

Whatever and however you celebrate, may it be filled with your favorite people, things, and eats!

My best!




Wellness Tip 

Winter with its shorter days officially arrives later this month.  When out walking your dog in the evening, remember to wear a light and consider placing reflective tape on your dog’s harness/collar.  This will provide greater visibility and help prevent accidents from occurring.

Collar lights (available from most retailers for a nominal cost).  Most are powered by button batteries, so be sure to remove the light from your dog’s collar when you return home, so that your dog does not ingest the battery.  Strobe lights are also available and may be useful for dogs who may be at a risk for running off.

Please ensure that your microchip tag, the ID tag (with the name of your dog), and your contact information) are fastened to your dog’s collar.

We are pleased to report that all of our Service Dogs have made it onto Santa Paws’ “Nice List” this year.  Paws up to all of them.

Here are some suggestions for safe items that Santa can bring to your dog

  • A new collar and 4′ lead
  • Durable chew toy
  • Travel mat / blanket
  • Durable indoor & outdoor exercise toys
  • Safety harness for the car
  • Portable travel bowl
  • Quality treats

Items to ask Santa to avoid include:

  • Rawhides (frequently not digestible)
  • Pig ears or other fatty treats
  • Plush toys – the stuffing can be swallowed and cause intestinal obstruction
  • Any toys that are too small (if they can fit through the center of a toilet paper roll)


Keep your 4-legged-ones safe and happy this holiday season and all year round!



Classroom news 

We now have 2 classes rolling on Saturdays! Our new class of students and their Service Dog In Training (SDIT) officially started training on November 5th.

The morning class of students have been doing outstanding work with training. They have all passed their CGC testing this past month with flying colors!

Now that they have that under their belt, we continue working on the commands that were taught in the past months in outside environments.

It’s important to remember that dogs do not generalize well, so when they start being 90% successful in one environment it’s time to copy and paste those commands in a different environment/space that they are not used to. That can simply be moving from your living room to out front of your house.

We continue to work on these commands outside and will continue to until all teams have mastered what they have learned inside/outside. Some of those things include:

  • Emergency stop
  • Cuing sit and down from a distance
  • Coming when called
  • Ignoring directions
  • Leave its
  • Reaction to another dog
  • Cuing heel from distance
  • Holding items

A few new things they have learned include:

  • Closer
  • Middle
  • Walking through tight spaces
  • Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT) with distractions

For the new afternoon class, we have been teaching those teams the importance of

  • Place command
  • Touch
  • Take/Give
  • Sit and downs
  • Coming when called
  • Leave its
  • Heel
  • Release Cue


And of course, relationship building!

Most of the dogs are doing remarkably well in the afternoon class with the Place and Touch commands. The handlers have been performing successfully at holding their dogs accountable and capturing good behaviors especially when we are adding distractions to the training exercise.

We are so thrilled to have a full day set just for training with these teams and looking forward to seeing how they all progress in the next 18 months.

The FSDS joined the StonePoint Church Event this past month and was great to meet some new faces and provide information about our services to the groups that came to see us at our booth!


Advance Class Highlights

Tom/Sharon & Ruby– Ruby is making good progress with grabbing dropped items along with her sits and downs being cued from a distance


Charlotte & Luna– Luna has accomplished sitting nicely for petting around new people and does not jump, her place command is on point along with her emergency stop


Kerry/Jase & Sadie– Sadie has mastered the emergency stop along with retrieving items from a distance and bringing it back to her handler.


Scott & Luna– Luna has been doing significantly well with her Middle command along with making more progress with showing interest in retrieving items.


Beginner Class Highlights

Patti & Peyton– Payton has shown great progress with her Place and Touch command along with getting much better at heeling next to the handler while walking


Shriji & Elfo– Elfo has advanced his sit and down stays around distractions and also has been doing well with Touch and coming when called.


Tori  & Colson– Colson shows so much confidence and has mastered sit/down adding distance and will stay till released, along with his heel command.


Kevin & Daisy– Daisy has been doing exceptionally well with her place, touch, sit/downs. She is also making much improvement with her heel command when walking


Willie & Otis– Otis is doing phenomenally well with his take and give command. He has also accomplished his sits/downs without needing to be lured.


Kayla & Koda– Koda has mastered heeling next to handler along with his sit/downs without being lured. He proceeds to do well with his touch command and finds it quite fun.


Mason & Nebbie- Nebbie’s place command and sit/down commands are terrific. She is also making good progress with touch commands.


With Appreciation

Our heartfelt thanks to our November supporters:

Shirji Shah
Kevin Dobbs
Dara Denzer
Scott Peterson
Willie Tolbert
Tim Ganahl
Bonnie Pladson
Amazon Smile
Charlotte Fornaseiro
Tom Schweisthal
Tim Smith
In-kind Donors:
Hill’s Pet Nutrition
Zoetis Petcare
Monthly Donors:
 Timothy Glenn
 Todd Johnson




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