Message from the Executive Director


2022 was quite the puzzle of a year for so many of us – At, FSDS, we had to take a giant step back during the height of the COVID pandemic when we lost our space and it’s taken us through 2022 to get back to full operation in serving individuals with disabilities in need of a service dog.

These past months have taught us that we can’t always be in control and that we have to be willing to adapt.  Our optimism pushed and encouraged us, as well as helped us overcome many obstacles along the way.

Because of your support and encouragement, we THANK YOU, for being part of putting the pieces together in that recovery and putting us in position to add a 3rd set of classes to our training schedule.

 Each of you has ben part of our journey and we appreciate you being part of our hopes for the future as well.

Cheers to you and wishes for all the best in this year that’s unfolding.


My best, Karen


Wellness Tip 

Car safety – this is an issue that does not get due attention, but can be a matter of life or death in the event of an accident.  Here are some practical tips to keep your dog safe when traveling.

  • Don’t allow your dog to ride up on the seat
  • Provide a seatbelt harness for your dog
  • When using public transportation, your dog should always be on the floor and should NEVER be permitted to ride in a seat intended for human use
  • Your dog should never ride up front with the driver as this can cause distractions
Did you know that the impact in a 55 mph collision for an unrestrained 75 lb dog is 4,125 pounds of force?  This is not survivable.  Buckle up!



Classroom news 

As this month starts a new year, we look ahead to our plans for 2023, beginning with a new weekday class of Service Dog Training starting on February 15th.

We have lots of field trips planned for the advanced SDIT (Service Dogs In Training) class that began back in July. We will be taking our first trip to the fire station this month to get the teams exposed and desensitized to big vehicles, sirens, and those in uniform.

The advanced SDIT teams all successfully passed their public appropriateness (access) test in December with flying colors which means a lot more field trips to be planned, including:

  • Airport
  • Light Rail
  • Shopping mall
  • Locations with unfamiliar dog’s present
  • Public parks
  • And more!

The beginner SDIT class that just started in November has been making phenomenal progress with their obedience training.

We have been working on the following tasks as well:

  • Confidence building
  • Heel with a shopping cart
  • Focus adding distractions
  • Coming when called with distractions
  • Reaction to another dog
  • DPT (Deep Pressure Therapy)

The new tasks we will introduce to the beginning class include:

  •  Perch work (for rear end awareness)
  • Closer
  • Middle
  • Holding items
  • Touch with target on wall
  • Cover
  • Off leash heeling
  • Sits and downs adding distance and distractions

The dogs have been performing substantially well and we are proud of our students being consistent and on top of their SDIT on holding them accountable! We had a wonderful Christmas party (Potluck Style!) and the dogs did outstandingly well with their “under” or “down” commands while we were all eating the amazing food everyone brought!

Happy New Year to all!


Advance Class Highlights 

Tom/Sharon & Ruby- This team is making good progress with their “middle” command along with Ruby’s “leave its” when other dogs are passing by.

Charlotte & Luna – Luna has accomplished being able to “paw” at the leg on command and also has been doing a great job with “heeling” when in new environments.

Kerry/Jase & Sadie- Great progress with the “off lead” command and Sadie will remain at heel side for more than 20ft without leaving their handlers’ sides. Picking up dropped items has also been mastered

Scott & Luna- This team has done wonderful work with their “target” command, Luna will touch the lid on the wall when cued. Luna also has done very well with her “off lead” heel.



Beginner Class Highlights 

Patti & Peyton- Peyton has been doing exceptionally well with her “take, hold, give” command with a toy and also demonstrates “under” with leave it wonderfully.

Shriji & Elfo-  Eflo has made amazing progress with his “Touch” command and is being more deliberate with it. He also is performing very well with walking next to a shopping cart

Tori & Colson- Colson has mastered his Recalls around distractions and does great with reaction to another dog along with his “touch” command

Kevin & Daisy- Daisy has moved on to “target” with a lid on the wall and has been performing well. She also goes to her “heel” command without needing to be lured.

Willie & Otis- Otis has been doing well with his “heel” command along with his sit & down stays while we add distance and distractions.

Kyla & KodaKoda has also moved on to “target” with a lid on the wall and almost has it mastered. He also has mastered sit and down stays out of sight.

Mason & Nebbie- Nebbie has done great with her “focus” command along with performing very well with her “heel” command and does not demonstrate any type of pulling for a 5-month-old puppy.



With Appreciation

On behalf of students and staff, our heartfelt gratitude to these December supporters:
Lorena Perez
Shriji Shah
Steven Dennis
Mary Brooks
Vicki Davidson
Savannah Hooper
Kyla Barton
Jackie Cromer
Credit Union West
Latrice Jackson
Charlotte Fornassiero
Hill’s Pet Nutrition
Dick & Heidi Litobar
Zoetis Petcare
Lynette Cibelli
Angela Karp
Fry’s Community Rewards
Cindy Campbell
Lee Hamel
Mary Hockenbury
Deena Knopp

Monthly Donors:

Timothy Glenn
Todd Johnson



Photo Gallery