Message from the Director

It’s been an interesting start to this new year and the realities of living in the “new normal” related to COVID and the downstream effects on both the supply chain and the US workforce.  In our case, we have several windows still “out there” somewhere that were due to be delivered over 12 weeks ago.    Please join us and envision 3-4 of them installed in this training room wall, hopefully soon.

You have remained constant and I am reminded of your generosity throughout these uncertain times, particularly this past 2 years and am grateful to each of you.

We will be introducing an online donor wall in the next 4-6 weeks on our website where you can see an additional acknowledgment of our thanks in an ongoing way.

Newsletter Highlight:   Congratulations to Marissa and Dani – our newest certified SD Team.

February Tip:  Remember to keep pets away from those Valentine chocolates!

My best!


Classroom News

Yamill/Shannon & Bailey continue to be hard at work with their hands-on training and working hard on their service skills. We have been incorporating a “go get help” toy that Bailey will carry to the person she is retrieving to bring back to Shannon. This is a work in progress, but both recipient and trainer are doing a great job. Bailey is doing better with her “cover” command as she does not need to be lured anymore and listens to the verbal command. Other medical alert tasks are getting stronger with more practice. We have been working on lots of loose leash walking and getting Shannon comfortable with navigating the public space with her SDIT.

Keeta/Marissa & Dani – congratulations to this team on passing their certification test with flying colors.   They have successfully graduated this month from the FSDS training program. Serving officers wounded in the line of duty has always been a priority for the FSDS, and we are particularly pleased to award this fully certified service dog to Officer Marissa Dowhan at no out of pocket cost to her.  Marissa has been a joy to work with and truly exemplifies the spirit of community service.  Despite being shot in the line of duty, she continues to serve with the Phoenix PD.  We are excited for Marissa and Dani as they continue their life of service as a team.

If You Can’t Afford the High Cost of a Service Dog, We Can Help

The application process for our upcoming 2022 classes is now open.  Preference, as always, is given to military and first responders.  This includes those who are retired, as well as those injured in the line of duty who are reassigned to light duty and require assistance.  The new application packet can be located on our Apply for a Dog page.

Thanks to our partnership with Hill’s Pet Nutrition, program incentives are available for those accepted into the program.  These incentives include:

  • a full waiver for all dog training costs
  • a waiver of the SD 101 fee for military and first responders
  • free Hill’s dog food for two years
  • regularly scheduled veterinary screenings at no cost
  • free testing and program certification materials for all graduates

Contact us at 623-200-9762 if you have questions or would like additional information.

With Deep Sadness

It is with deep sadness that we report the recent passing of FSDS co-founder, Miriam W. Peterman.  She died peacefully, after a long illness.  Miriam was a fixture here at the FSDS for our first 12 years of operation, and her influence is felt everywhere, and in all we do.  Miriam lived a life of service to community.  She was a nurse for over 60 years, and earned her Master’s Degree in Human Services along the way.  Miriam was passionate about helping to put services in place for those who were disadvantaged, and over her many years of service was instrumental in helping to start three non-profits with the goal of serving battered women and children, diabetics in need of education and individuals with disabilities in need of a service dog.

A devout Christian, Miriam believed in doing the right thing for the right reason, and no matter what the issue, always followed her moral compass to make the best decisions.  She will forever be loved and missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her.  Rest in peace, dear friend.

Welcoming Miss Glendale to the FSDS Family

We are delighted to welcome Miss Glendale 2022, Mattie Mae Kraus to our family.  Mattie Mae is a 2nd year medical student at MidWestern University, and the newly crowned Miss Glendale.  Her platform for this year is to help educate the community on the importance of service and support dogs, and she has chosen to be a part of the FSDS family to do so.  Recently Mattie Mae attended our Grand Opening to meet with some of our recipients and learn more about their journey to becoming certified teams.  We are looking forward to working closely with Mattie Mae during the coming year to help educate and inform the community about these important issues.  Congratulations to Mattie Mae on her success!

Wellness Tip

This month we present a few tips to help you make safe choices for toys and treats for your dog.

  1. When shopping, bring an empty toilet paper roll with you.  If the toy is small enough to be dropped down the center of a roll of toilet paper, it is too small and can present a choking hazard for your dog.  Only select toys that are too large to fit.
  2. Avoid plush toys and stuffies.  Dogs can chew out the stuffing and swallow it, and this can create an intestinal blockage.
  3. Avoid toys with plastic squeakers – clear plastic squeakers can be chewed out and removed by dogs.  If swallowed, a dog can choke on this.  The FSDS is aware of one case that occurred early on, and has been hard at work to warn handlers of such a hazard aver since.
  4. Do not purchase rawhide for your dog – this is mostly non-digestible.  A dog can chew off a large chunk and swallow it, leading to an intestinal blockage.
  5. Avoid fatty treats such as pig ears.  This can not only lead to obesity, but fatty foods can also irritate the pancreas.  In dogs who may be susceptible to pancreatitis, this can cause severe illness such as vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea and abdominal cramping.
  6. Feed your dog a diet that is produced exclusively for dogs.  Your dog is not a human and should not eat human food.  Remember that chocolate, nuts (such as macadamia nuts) and caffeine containing foods in general can be toxic to dogs.  The same is true for onions and garlic.
  7. Never provide your dog with any toy that contains batteries, especially (lithium) button batteries.  Ingestion of batteries can cause erosion and perforation of the digestive tract, and in some cases death can result.

Remember to supervise your dog around toys at all times.  At nighttime when you are ready for bed, all toys should be cleaned up and stored in a toy bin with a lid on it.  This will prevent your dog from getting into any toys while you are asleep at night.  Contact the FSDS at 623-200-9762 if you are interested in a canine first aid and CPR class.  Play safe, stay safe!

With Much Gratitude

We wish to express our thanks to the following individuals / organizations who have so generously supported our programs and services during the month of January.

  • Valerie Schluter
  • Russell Staub
  • Thomas and Anita Henke
  • Todd Johnson
  • Barry MacKean

Photo Gallery

Thank you to our students and staff for sharing the following photos with all of you.