Traveling With a SD

Summer has officially arrived, school is out and many families are planning to take their annual vacations.  This is a good time to plan ahead on what you will need to do in order to travel with your SD or SDIT.  Make certain that our certification is current prior to planning your trip.  If your certification has lapsed, teh time to correct this

Travel by car

  • If you are crossing state lines, print out copies of SD laws for each state you will travel through, and bring a copy with you.  Though the ADA law neither includes nor excludes SDITs some state laws do contain wording that specifically include SDITs.   In the event of an accident, illness or simply a challenge when stopping for food, it is best to be educated regarding local law.
  • Be certain to have a proper seat belt harness for your SD when traveling in the car.   In the event of an accident, the safest place for a human or dog to be is inside of the car- not thrown from the vehicle due to failure to wear a seat belt.
  • Be certain to have a travel bowl and lots of ice cold water for your dog, as well as a mat to lay on.

Travel by airplane

  • If you plan to travel within the contiguous states, be certain to contact the airline first.  ADA law does not apply once you are in airspace.  At that time, the Aircraft Carrier Access Act will apply, and though this covers SDs it does not cover SDITs.  Individual airlines are permitted to set their own policy.
  • Call the airline 24 hours in advance to request bulkhead seating
  • Allow additional time when you arrive to locate the pet relief area and provide a potty break prior to boarding the plane in cases of long plane rides
  • For travel to Hawaii quarantine rules apply if you do not plan in advance.  Contact the Animal Quarantine Branch to make advanced arrangements.
  • For travel abroad, contact the Embassy for the country(ies) to which you plan to travel to identify the steps you must take in advance to avoid quarantine.  Make certain to carry hard copies of any papers you have submitted in advance, along with proof of submission (emails, etc).
  • If traveling abroad or to Hawaii, speak with your veterinarian first to discuss health clearance rules for your dog.

Travel by Boat

  • If you are planning a cruise, let the cruise line know in advance that you will be traveling with a SD so you can make plans for a potty station and any other necessary accommodations.
  • Contact the port authority for all ports to which you plan to travel.  Though the cruise line may be very accommodating, some ports in other countries may not permit you to disembark with a SD.  Know the laws in the countries to which you will travel and make all arrangements in advance.  Carry proof of these arrangements with you.

In the event that a challenge occurs, stay calm and be vigilant for signs that your dog may be experiencing stress.  Have a safe and happy summer.

Classroom News

June was a very busy month for our teams in training, as they continue to work towards mastery of obedience skills.  This month the focus was on working with distractions and preparation for the upcoming Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test and the Public Access Test (PAT).  Patrick Buvala and his SDIT “Frank” are doing an exceptional job with their “heel” command, and Grace Ganahl and her SDIT “Teddy” are doing a stellar job with their mastery of basic commands. Practice using obstacle courses for heel and food “leave-its” has been someting the class has worked hard on during the month of June,as well as ignoring commands from the public, backing up and back feet targeting, long distance recall, leaving food on the ground, heeling while checking in with the handler frequently, getting help in emergencies, and the beginnings of scent training for future medical alert situations.

The CGC testing is already scheduled for the end of July, and the PAT for early August.  After that time, teams will be awarded their yellow “in-training” vests and will receive clearance to take their dogs with them in public at all times.  This is a huge milestone in the training process for a team  and we are expecting great things from this class.  Kudos to all of our hard working teams.

Applications Being Accepted for New Class

We are now accepting applications for the next community-based training class, scheduled to start late this summer or early Fall.  For information on how to apply please contact our Lead Instructor Mrs. Veronica Wiley.  We welcome the participation of students on three different levels:

  • Individuals who seek to train a dog for their own needs
  • Community members high school or older who wish to learn to become a SD trainer by training a dog for someone else
  • Individuals with disabilities who require a SD but are unable to accomplish the training due to the nature of their disabilities may elect to participate in weekly classes to work with the person who is training their dog

As always, strong preference is given to wounded military veterans and first responders who need a SD.  We encourage the participation of high school students from across the Valley, and remind students and their parents that this level of community service and experience will also help them to stand out when it is time to apply for college entrance and scholarships.  Our student trainers have a history of success in this area.

Become an FSDS Certified Training Program

Attention all Outreach Evaluators!  The FSDS has launched a new initiative that will allow you to become a part of a new network of certified programs.  Traditionally, recognition has only been available to non-profits, yet there are many highly qualified and competent for profit trainers in the community.  Furthermore, since non-profits traditionally are centered around large cities, this leaves the population of rural America with little to no access to legitimate training programs.

We are working to build a network of qualified programs.  We realize that until such time as small business owners are able to unify, their voices will not be heard.  Small businesses have long been regarded as the backbone of America, and as such we believe that these small training businesses are a key part of the solution to a lack of training that leads to under trained or simply untrained dogs in society being presented as SDs.  This problem is rampant and serves to undermine public confidence in SDs and create additional challenges for all legitimate teams.

Small businesses often struggle to survive and lack the infrastructure and support to develop policies and procedures that will meet or exceed those promulgated by larger non-profits.  A network for these programs that will allow them to share resources and access these materials is what is needed.  There is a big difference between running some group classes and running a credible program.

If you are a competent and motivated private trainer who wishes to join a network of other trainers and access materials,  you can click here complete the preliminary application online.

Working Like a Dog Program

We are proud to announce that the FSDS will be starting a new back to work initiative entitled the “Working Like a Dog Program . This program is designed to address the employment issues experienced by SD teams.  It is a sad reality that while many individuals work hard to train and certify their teams in the hopes of being able to return to the work force at least part time, the community has been less than welcoming of SD teams in the workplace.  While some face the frustration of potential employers who inform them that they were “not a good fit”, others come right out and cite the presence of the SD as a reason.  Regardless of the reason, locating any employment with a SD has been fraught with difficulties for most.

The FSDS training program was initially set up as a career training program, and over the years we have continued to strengthen our educational component.  We recognize that while we are able to deliver quality SD team training, we have also gained the ability to deliver effective job training.  Our new program will continue to give preference to wounded military and first responders, and offer them the ability to apply for jobs as intern instructors or community educators upon completion.  For our preferred groups, this is particularly important as loss of job equals loss of identity.  This has many benefits for those who have been marginalized and disenfranchised, including:

  • an ability to  to supplement early retirements and/or disability benefits
  • providing jobs for SD teams and removing all concerns that having a SD will lead to unemployability
  • providing a sense of belonging and purpose to deserving heroes
  • restoring a sense of identity by providing a meaningful role in the working community

We are excited about this program and looking forward to growing this aspect of our services in the years to come.

IT Coordinator Needed

The continues to seek an individual interested in volunteering services to perform some behind the scene duties such as back-up of information and trouble-shooting, as needed.  If you are an IT professional, or a college student majoring in IT who wishes to have a real life experience for your resume, please contact us for information.

Wellness Tip

Summer is here and things heat up fast.  This includes pavement and the inside of cars.  Remember to take extra precautions for your dog in the summer heat, including but not limited to:

  • carry an ample supply of ice cold water and a bowl wherever you go
  • avoid hiking with your dog in extreme temperatures- remember that they are wearing a fur coat
  • provide thermal working booties for your dog; the litmus test for if they are needed is to remove your shoes or sandals and attempt to walk on the pavement- if it is too hot for you it is too hot for your dog
  • never leave your dog in a parked car- not even for a few minutes

Stay cool- stay safe.

FSDS is Now a Gold Level Program

As the FSDS grows stronger we continue to do those things necessary to inspire public confidence.  To this end the FSDS has joined the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), and is also listed on Guidestar.  This past month we have earned our Gold level.  Work is underway to work towards our Platinum Level.

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