Welcome to a New Year!

A Message From the Director

The new year begins with heartfelt gratitude for each of you who have been supportive in so many ways as FSDS embarked on the adventure of securing new space from which to grow its ability serve more and more individuals with disabilities.

I am excited to kick off 2022 with some good news:  We are launching a landmark data-gathering project beginning with our first class of 2022 that will allow us to collect detailed information on the health and training progress of each dog enrolled in the program for the 24 months of the study.  We will also be able to correlate the impact of the service dog’s performance on its handler to help us evaluate our 3 primary training goals and measure their impact on our students:  1) mitigate disabilities and prevent them from becoming handicaps; 2) improve clinical outcomes for those with disabilities; and 3) reduce the costs of medical care for each student.

Applications will be available early 2022, so please encourage any family members, friends, or colleagues with disabilities, for whom a Service Dog would be a good match, to visit our website and apply.   We are giving priority to veterans and first-responders for this next series of classes.  We are thrilled to announce that during the study there will incentives provided to assist students including free dog food from Hills Pet Nutrition, and routine essential veterinary care (details to follow).

Reminder:   Don’t forget that contributions you made to FSDS in 2021 qualify you to apply for a dollar-to-dollar tax credit on your Arizona tax return.  Just go to azdor.gov to complete the form under “Tax Credits” and “Contributions to Qualifying Charitable Organizations” and enter FSDS’ code 22372.

Wishing you much joy and many blessings in 2022!


Classroom News

Keeta/Marissa & Dani continue to practice generalizing commands and tasks at the police station and in Marissa’s home. We have been working on training inside Marissa’s home as that is where Dani will be living very soon. Along with teaching Marissa how to have the right boundaries in place for Dani while in the home, Dani has mastered the ability to reliably perform those tasks needed to mitigate Marissa’s disabilities.  Medical alert training is continuing to progress and gets better everyday! Our next step is getting this team prepared to take their certification test during this month.  We are excited for this team and look forward to Marissa enjoying an improved quality of life with her new best friend.

Yamill/Shannon & Bailey continue to relationship build in a positive way, Shannon has been doing a great job with her hands-on training with Bailey and is getting more and more confident as the training continues. Bailey is doing great with adding “pressure” when cued to do so, her medical alert tasks are becoming more consistent and her “go get help” is getting much better as we are generalizing different people Bailey will need to retrieve when inside the home. Now that we have a good foundation for this team our goals for the coming month are generalizing these commands in public and working to help Shannon navigate the public space with a service dog.


Please join us in congratulating our training staff on having achieved some very important goals in the past month.  We believe that proper training can only occur if we invest in the proper training and professional development of our staff.  An effective SD trainer must receive appropriate formal training and credentialing, and not merely be self-declared trainers.  To that end, we have made a large investment in the training of our staff.

Jessica Parker has been with the FSDS for almost 5 years, and recently completed the two year state approved Apprenticeship Program developed by the FSDS and has earned her Master SD Trainer credentialing.  This is a tremendous accomplishment and we are so proud of her achievement.  Jessica is also a graduate of Animal Behavior College, an AKC CGC Evaluator and a Canine Safety Instructor Trainer.

Lindsey Carlson has successfully completed her Sr. Trainer level and is currently working in earning her Master Trainer credentials.  She has been with the FSDS for almost 4 years.  She began her work with the FSDS as a high school student, raising a dog for a deserving local military veteran in need.  She has been hired by the FSDS and is now a valued part of our staff.  We look forward to her continued success with the FSDS.  Lindsey is also an AKC CGC Evaluator and a Canine Safety Instructor.

A Warm Welcome to Our Newest Puppy Ambassador

We wish to extend our wags and welcomes to our newest future canine ambassador, Ruby.  Ruby will be paired with Tom Linton, a decorated and distinguished member of the AZ Veteran’s Hall of Fame.  Tom’s previous SD, Charlie, passed away recently after a long and highly successful career.  He was deeply loved by all and is missed.  Tom will continue to be a part of the FSDS family as he trains with his new successor dog.  We are so excited to be a part of this new adventure and look forward to Tom and Ruby’s journey towards certification, and to join the ranks of our canine ambassadors.

Open For Service

Our New and improved training facility is officially open.  Many thanks to the hard work of our Director Karen Sendelback, Master Trainer Jessica Parker and Sr. Trainer Lindsey Carlson.  Without their hard work and willingness to go above and beyond this dream would not have become a reality.  You can find us at 5060 W. Olive Ave., Glendale, AZ   85302.  Our phone number at the facility is: 623-200-9762.

Stop By and Pin Our Map

We invite all veterans and first responders to stop by our new training facility to pin our map.  We have a deep and abiding appreciation for all those who serve and have worked hard to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all.  To this end, we have installed a large world map in our location.  Under this map is a box of pins of two colors, green for our military and red for our first responders.  We invite all visitors who have served to place a pin in our map to represent the location(s) where they have served.  We are enjoying seeing these pins added, and take delight in witnessing the excitement of those who see that others who have served with them in those locations can be found here as well.

Are You Seeking a Service Dog?

We will be opening up the application process in the very near future for our new classes, set to begin in 2022.  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 will be posted shortly and will be dated no earlier than January 2022, so please do not submit an earlier version.

Wellness Tip

This month we remind all of our teams and readers that flea/tick and heartworm preventive medications are NOT a seasonal need for your dog.  They must be provided all your round.

Heartworm– this is a serious disease and is potentially fatal in dogs. It is caused by an organism called Dirofiliria immitis. This is a chronic disease and symptoms may take a long time to develop after being infected.  Early on there are generally no signs.

With moderate disease the dog may develop some exercise intolerance and occasional coughing, and with severe disease they will demonstrate weight loss, regular coughing, inability to tolerate physical activity, increased rate of breathing and anemia.  In late stages, a heart murmur and irregular heart rhythm are evident. Make no mistake, heartworm infection will end the career of a SD, and if untreated, can end their life as well.

Prevention of this diseases is easy.  Speak to your veterinarian about monthly flea, tick and heartworm prevention treatments.  If you are on a tight budget and need to cut corners somewhere, this is NOT the place to do it.  The importance of monthly treatments can not be understated.

Our Sincere Thanks

We wish to extend our sincere appreciation to those who have so generously supported the FSDS programs and mission over the past month.

  • Valerie Schluter
  • Tani Myshen
  • Mr. and Mrs. Litobar
  • Fry’s Community Partner Program
  • Jeffrey O’Brien
  • Tim Smith
  • Carmen McKinney
  • Ed and Deena Knopp
  • Kurt Peterson
  • Joann Carr
  • Patricia Lyons
  • Gina Weaver in loving memory of Natalie Bibeau
  • Olesya Blanchard
  • Vicki McClure Davidson
  • Christina Hoskinson
  • Dara Denzer

Photo Gallery

This past month, we were excited to officially open our new facility, and also temperament test and accept the newest puppy into our training program.  Enjoy these photos.