2016 Starts Strong

In January the FSDS launched a new community-based training initiative, and immediately the class filled.  The enrollment of mostly military veterans and first responders underscores the need for such training programs.  We were also delighted to welcome five local youths from local high schools who will be raising a service dog for someone who lacks the physical capability to participate as a trainer.  Plans are underway to start a second community class later this summer, and applications are now being accepted for this program.

Plans are also in the works to expand the Outreach Program in a significant way, and this has been a long time coming.  Reaching out to those in rural and under-served areas, and also ensuring that our teams who relocate to other regions will have the assurance of being able to re-certify in their new location every three years have been priorities.  For the past several years we have been gathering information on currently un-met needs for SD teams and we are looking forward to meeting some identified needs.  Stay tuned for more information.

Another area of concern for the FSDS is the need to collaborate with others to provide community education on PTSD in first responders.   Important for the public to understand is the knowledge that PTSD is not an inherent mental health disorder- it is very much a line of duty injury for both our military and first responders.  It is critical for us all to re-evaluate the current societal beliefs to remove the stigma and barriers to help that these heroes face.  For those with a background of military service who become first responders after discharge from the military, the PTSD is not solely due to the trauma on the new job, but is in fact the result of the cumulative traumas from both experiences.

Classroom News

Estrella campus– this past month the intended recipients joined the class for the first time, and what an exciting day that was for all.  Recipients and students were paired in what has been designed as a reciprocal mentoring experience.  Our young students will teach their recipients how to work with their new dogs, everything from hand signals, verbal commands, public access skills and practical advice based on their personal experiences over the past year.  The recipients, all of who have provided services to our community, will in turn teach the students about the importance of continuing to serve long after high school graduation.

A special commendation to Abby Corbin for her outstanding work in teacher her SDIT Gaston how to summon help in medical crises.  Three cheers also for Karen Molina and Nadia Dimang for their stellar performance in teaching SDIT Caleb how to go to another room to summon help when needed.

Community class– excitement ran high on the first day of class for both the trainers and the dogs.  With an even mix of recipient and student trainers, this hybrid program is the first of its kind in Arizona.  The FSDS has provided 10 beautiful, healthy purebred Golden Retrievers for training purposes.  It is critically important for our recipients to have the assurance that the dog selected for training has a known background, and a reduced risk of washing out due to medical issues.  Recipient trainers and students will focus solely on the hands-on aspects of training in the classroom, while they work to master the didactic concepts via our comprehensive online training course.

Attention Outreach Evaluators

Starting March 1st, we will be accepting applications from individual trainers who are seeking support to establish a credible SD training program in their area.  As part of our efforts to provide outreach to teams and support to private trainers, we are expanding our evaluator network to include training programs.  There are many benefits to trainers who seek to have their program certified and join a new network of SD training programs run by private trainers.  Interested individuals may contact us to learn more.

Wellness Tip

Dental care is an important part of any routine grooming and care regimen for your dog.  Just as you brush your own teeth each day, we suggest that you do the same for your dog.  Bacteria that collect around the teeth can travel to the heart and attach to the heart valves.  This is turn  can cause inflammation of the chambers of the heart- and this condition is called endocarditis.  Poor dental health in dogs can also lead to kidney failure.  Remember also to change your dogs toothbrush each month.

Remember that chocolate, raisins and macadamia nuts are toxic for dogs.  Keep all valentine candy out of the reach of your animals.

Upcoming Events

February– February 7th; the Westbrook Village Veterans Support Club is hosting an Antique Auto show to benefit the FSDS.  The vent will run from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and will be held in the Vistas Parking Lot of the Westport Village Community 19281 N. Westbrook Pkwy Peoria, AZ 85382

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.

May – Graduation 2016 at the Glendale Civic Center on Saturday, May 14th from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Photo Gallery

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