Our Family is Growing!

As organizations grow, changes must periodically be made to accommodate this and to support new growth.  We have been fortunate over the years to witness the growth of our program against the back-drop of the recession and some of the worst economic times this nation has faced since the Great Depression.  July will be a month of positive changes for all of us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGeneral Manager– We are pleased to announce that we have hired Jeannie Gambill as our new General Manager, effective July 15th.  Jeannie earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Education, and her Master’s Degree in Financial Management and Accounting.  She first started with the FSDS in 2010, and is a 2012 graduate of the FSDS training program.  For the past two years she has served as Board President.  With an extensive background in Management she is an ideal candidate for this position.  Among her tasks will be the growth and expansion of our youth-based training program.

Management Team–  Andrea Snyder has been added to the Management Team.  Andrea earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Psychology, and has a Post-Baccalaureate Degree in Secondary Education with an Endorsement in Career and Technical Education.  Andrea has been with the FSDS for 6 1/2 years and was instrumental in setting up our current youth-based program.  She is currently at work to modernize the curriculum and help us move to a more interactive online education system that will better serve the needs of our students / recipients with learning challenges.


Dr. Kat Croteau (left) works with students to teach them advanced lifesaving skills.

Director of Canine Safety– It is with great pride that we announce the addition of Dr. Kathleen “Kat” Croteau, DVM as Director of Canine Safety.  Kat will assume responsibility for the upgrade and expansion of our Canine Safety training program.  Kat has practiced Veterinary medicine for 20 years, has been an instructor in our program for the past 2 years and is a valuable addition to our family.

Classroom News

EM Campus– We are looking forward to the start of the new program on the Estrella Mountain campus of AAEC High School.  Application for student trainers, and alternate handlers are now being accepted.  Applications may be obtain directly from the main office of AAEC High School, or prospective students may contact us directly to request an Application Packet.

Freddie and Val

Student Trainer Val Lugo working with SDIT Freddie Bear on a recent field trip to the Arrowhead Mall.

PV Campus– Congratulations are in order for our hard-working Paradise Valley students.  This past month, all teams successfully passed their Public Access Test, and are out in public together everywhere our students go.  During the summer, teams meet regularly with our Lead CTE Teacher Sally Cebulski, to go on field trips together.    This included a trip to the Arrowhead Mall in Glendale, and a ride on the mall train for students Mya Griffith and SDIT “Willow”, Jaymie Cardin and SDIT “Nahla”, and Val Lugo, who is pictured with SDIT “Freddie Bear”.  Upcoming trips are planned for July, and include a planned trip to Cabela’s of Glendale  to visit the taxidermy displays.

 Safety Tip

Emma Pro 001

Canine Ambassador Emma models her all weather Muttluks booties.

Hot pavement can cause serious burns to the paws of service dogs.  If you are not certain if the pavement is too hot for your dog, we recommend the following:  take off your shoes and walk on the pavement for at least 60 seconds, if it is too hot for your feet, it is too hot for your dog.  FSDS certified teams qualify for a discount on shoes through either Muttluks or Ruffwear.  Contact us for more information.


Newly Awarded SD Credited With Saving Life


Recipient Felicia Roberts and her life-saving service dog “Breezy” on Graduation Day.

This past month, almost exactly one month after graduation, we received word from a recipient that her dog began barking one night to wake her up, and wouldn’t stop.  She awoke to the frightening realization that she was having a serious reaction to something.  When her usual medications failed to relieve her symptoms, and after her dog became insistent that she not go back to sleep. she was taken to the Emergency Room.  The family learned that the reaction was severe enough that emergency intervention was essential, and absent the warning of her dog, she likely would not have awakened.  The recipient has expressed gratitude to her dog for saving her life.

Support us When you Shop at Amazon.com

Supporting the FSDS just got easier with smile.amazon.com .  Click here to shop at Amazon.com, and just log into your account.  This will take you to the smile.amazon.com site.  The only difference between this and Amazon.com, is that when you log into your account this way, 0.5% of your purchase will be donated by Amazon to help support our program.  You will not need to set up a new account, and any items in your regular cart or wish list carry over to this site.  Please click the link above to register today- our support is appreciated.