Traveling with a SD / SDIT

As we begin a new year, and welcome our new teams, we remind our student trainers, teams and readers once again to check ahead when booking airline travel arrangements.  This past year we have witnessed mergers and policy changes with some airlines, and though a particular airline may have permitted travel with a SDIT in the past, this is subject to change at any time.

Airlines do permit travel with a SD, however, their policies regarding SDITs vary widely.  Our best advice to everyone is to look up the rules online, and if SDIT travel is not specifically mentioned, call ahead and inquire.  Document the name and badge numbers of anyone you speak with, and request all information in writing.  Then print out this information and bring it to the airport with you on the day you are scheduled to travel.  One of our teams recently got a verbal go-ahead, only to be turned away at check-in.  For ease, we are providing links to some of the published rules from a few of the larger airlines.

Southwest Airlines

American Airlines 

Delta Airlines

US Airways 

Jet Blue

United Airline

Classroom News

December was busy as ever, but in a very different way.  Aside from the usual training, student trainers from both campuses had the opportunity to meet up for our first annual Holiday Party.  Students also attended a special screening of a documentary that was filmed about our training program.  This excellent and informative documentary was filmed by ASU students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, and they did a superb job of capturing the essence of what our program is about.  We encourage all of our readers to view this video.

Movie Night1

L to R: Veronica Griffen, Nia Dean and Penny, Dominique Sollazzo and Charlie, Parker and Sally Cebulski and Leisel, Lisette Borja and sister

Estrella Mountain Campus– students brushed up on advanced service dog tasks in anticipation of January, when the recipients will join the class for the final semester of training.  We are pleased to report that all teams are up to task and ready to take this next big step.  These students, in their second year of training, also met with the first year students at the Paradise Valley campus for our annual holiday party.  Second year students demonstrate leadership by mentoring the first year students.  As for the dogs, training is a game for them, and they are having a grand time showing off their newly acquired skills in public, such as pushing the handicap button to open up doors.


L to R: Kiley Davis and Leisel, Amaris Gorman and Tori, Laura Sullivan and Porter, Parker Cebulski (youth volunteer), Jaymie Cardin and Nahla, Mya Griffith and Willow, Val Lugo (will receive Thor), Makenzye Allen ( alternate handler).

Paradise Valley Campus– student trainers completed their Orientation training and passed with flying colors.  these students are now paired with their SDITs, and for the next 18 months they will eat, sleep, drink, play and train together.  These teams are hard at work mastering basic obedience commands such as “sit”, “down”, “stay”…not to mention the all important art of potty training!  At right, students take their first field trip into public as an introduction to public access skills.  This is the first of many class trips that the teams will take prior to being permitted to go into public without their teacher present.

Thank You!

We wish to express our thanks to the following individuals for their generous donations:

Julie Auslander-Rifkin of Florida for her $350 donation

Soroptomist International of Phoenix for their $1,060 donation

Edward Donovan for his $50 donation in memory of Karen Donovan

Safety and Wellness Tip

The holidays are now over, and many of us were fortunate to receive some lovely gifts.  Perhaps even some new trinkets for the office, craft room or kitchen.  We remind our readers to take another walk around your home and ensure that the new items are tucked away safely.  Puppy-Proofing your home is important, and periodically it is necessary to address this task.  Some areas you may want to take a look at are:

Kitchen- do you have new appliances with removable parts that are out on the counter where your dog can reach them?  How about gadgets that hang on hooks in plain sight, that may have sharp edges?

Bathroom- ensure that all cleaning agents are out of reach.  Store toothpaste, mouthwash and all personal care items, including make-up, out of the reach of dogs.

Office- make certain that paper clips, thumb tacks, staples and such are stored in drawers where your dog can not reach them.

Craft / sewing room- all needles, pins, buttons, paints and ink, scissors, etc. should be stored in closed drawers.  Make certain that if you have to leave the room briefly to answer the phone or door that you either take your dog with you, or close the door to the room.

Remember that raising a dog in many ways is like raising a small child, it only takes a few seconds for an accident to occur.

Graduation 2014

We are currently seeking donations to defray the expenses associated with our upcoming graduation on May 17th, 2014.  If you are interested in sponsoring a few students / recipients, or purchasing a table, please contact us to learn more.  The cost of purchasing a table will be $500.