Message from the Executive Director

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!   It reminds me of some things to be especially grateful for this month:

YOU: Our donors, for your generosity and thoughtfulness in supporting our work, particularly during such challenging economic times.

OUR STAFF:  who are so enthusiastic, dedicated and professional in their service to our students and their canine partners.

OUR VOLUNTEERS:  for helping with some of the day-to-day tasks that keep things running smoothly.

OUR EVALUATORS:  throughout the country, who are available to our graduates who have relocated and desire to keep their team functioning at the highest levels.

You’ve heard the phrase: “It takes a village.”  Well, from my vantage point, this village of supporters is what makes FSDS so special.

Thank you!



PS:  A shout out to the local Armed Forces Support Group who have named FSDS as  “Charity of Choice” for their golf tournament this year on March 11th.


Wellness Tip 

This month we highlight the dangers of medication poisoning. Many common OTC medications considered benign for humans can be lethal to dogs.  One such example is Ibuprofen.  Ibuprofen, even in small amounts, can be toxic and potentially lethal to your dog if ingested.

Readers should take great care to keep their dogs from any pills they may accidentally drop on the floor.  The “leave it” command can prove to be life-saving.  Early intervention (such as inducing vomiting) is of great importance, and if your dog has ingested Ibuprofen you should contact your veterinarian immediately.  Some of the signs of Ibuprofen toxicity include:

  • bloody vomiting or diarrhea
  • lethargy
  • abdominal pain
  • loss of appetite
  • pale gums
  • weakness
  • seizures
  • death

If you accidentally drop a pill on the floor at home and it rolls out of sight, we recommend that you remove your dog from the area.  You should get on the floor with a strong light to look for the pill, and if you are unable to do so, request assistance from a friend or family member.  The dog should not be permitted back into that area until the pill has been located and removed. 


Classroom news 

What a successful January we had to start out the new year!  As you know, we plan lots of activities for our students especially through field trips to give them exposure to as many training opportunities as possible.

Our advanced service dog training (SDIT) class took their first trip to the Phoenix Fire Department for exposure and desensitization training and their performance was exemplary. The handlers were able to expose their dogs to the sirens, big trucks, and men in their firefighter gear.  Opportunity or the dogs to sit nicely for petting and, of course, practice general obedience skills was an excellent confidence builder for the teams.

The beginning SDIT class that began in November won’t be far behind on starting these outings as they are doing outstanding with their obedience skills and holding their dogs accountable.  We are seeing great progress quickly! We are taking our first trip to Goodwill this coming week and will begin preparing the dogs for their Canine Good Citizen (CGC) testing. Now, even though the dogs cannot take the test until their first birthdays doesn’t mean we can’t practice, practice, practice!

There are many more field trips to be planned, including but not limited to:

  • Airport
  • Light Rail
  • Shopping mall
  • Locations with unfamiliar dog’s present
  • Public parks
  • Sky Train
  • City Hall

As we continue to work on the commands the dogs have learned last month we continue to be hard at work generalizing those previous taught commands along with some new things we have introduce to the teams…We have been working on the following tasks:

  • Sit/Down Stay Proofing (this helps teach a reliable stay)
  • 4 in a box AKA Tuck
  • Backing up on a surface
  • Stand
  • Thresholds with doorways
  • DPT (Deep Pressure Therapy) adding duration.
  • Perch work (for rear end awareness)
  • Cover adding distractions.
  • Center
  • Crowd Control
  • Go Find/ Go Get
  • Impulse control training
  • Leave it with distractions on the floor.
  • Heeling next to a wheelchair
  • Touch with target on the wall cuing from a distance.

Advance Class Highlights

Tom/Sharon & Ruby – Ruby is making progress with picking up dropped items. She will now practice this in public settings. Her Recalls around distractions have been improving.

Charlotte & Luna – Luna has mastered doing Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT) on Charlotte without being cued. She is also making progress with her retrieving items.

Kerry/Jase & Sadie – Sadie has mastered opening a cabinet and retrieving items out of it and giving it to the handler. She also has mastered delivering items to other people when cued.

Scott & Luna – Luna is making great progress with her “go find” and is mouthing her items she is to retrieve. She has also mastered her Center command and now can add movement.


Beginner Class Highlights

Patti & Payton – Payton has done a great job with her “go find” command. She also is perfecting the Stand command.

Shriji & Elfo – Elfo is making progress with his loose leash walking along with his Deep Pressure Therapy command.

Tori & Colson – Colson is doing so well with his Recalls around distractions along with his heeling next to handler and the “go find” command.

Kevin & Daisy – Daisy’s sit and down stays have been mastered around distractions, she also performs really well with her “tuck” command.

Willie & Otis – Otis has been doing very well with his sit and down stays with adding duration. He also performs “backing up” exceptionally well.

Kyla & Koda – Koda has mastered his backing up with a hand signal along with working in his booties and performing all his commands great while wearing them.

Mason & Nebbie – Nebbie has been doing amazingly well with her touch command, she also has been performing exceptionally with her “paw” command.



With Appreciation

On behalf of students and staff, our heartfelt gratitude to these January supporters:

Russell Staub

Cindy Campbell
Shriji Shah
Sharlene Durham
Scott Petersen
Jackie Cromer
Deena Knopp
Charlotte Fornasiero
Robert Cardini
Timothy Glenn
Latrice Anderson
Todd Johnson
Cristy Pastore

Photo Gallery