Each year Spring and Summer brings with it the promise of warm weather, flowers and signs of new growth. Unfortunately, it also brings with it the increased risk for natural disasters. Tornadoes, hurricanes, monsoon storms, wildfires- these are all real threats that can affect people across the nation. We remind all SD teams to take those steps necessary to safeguard your team in the event of disaster.
Food and medications– make certain that you keep all food and medications in a central location so that they can be accessed quickly in the event of disaster. For those of you in regions affected by tornadoes, in which you may have little warning, if you have a basement you may want to consider storing your dogs food there. You may want to consider storing extra food and water bowls in the basement, along with a dog bed and one comfort item in the event that you are forced to seek refuge there to wait out a storm.
Medical records– these take on increased importance in the event that you will need to move to an evacuation shelter. Red Cross Shelters do accept service dogs (SDs) however given the growing number of fake SDs in the community it is important for a team handler to provide the shelter workers with proof of vaccination and reasonable assurance that the dog in question is in fact a credible SD. Remember that shelter workers are often volunteers just doing their jobs, and they have a responsibility to safeguard the entire public…and that means protecting them from un-vaccinated or aggressive animals. We recommend that all FSDS certified teams take the following steps:
- keep your SD ID badge and emergency contact cards in the vest pocket at all times
- scan and store all medical records for your dog on a Drive that is accessible by mobile device; we recommend that you give Drive access to these documents to your designated alternate caregiver so that in the event that you become injured they are able to access this information
- make certain that you generate a separate list for medication regimen, and any special instructions
- store a spare hard copy of medical records with a friend or family member who does not reside in your home
Evacuation plan– be certain that your emergency evacuation plan includes a plan for your SD, as well as any other family pets. If you reside in a multi-story home and must evacuate from an upper floor, be certain that your plan includes a reliable means of evacuating your SD and any other pets.
First Aid and CPR– all FSDS trained teams must successfully complete a FA and CPR certification program. All other FSDS certified Outreach Teams must complete the SD 101 course, which includes the didactic modules on canine FA and CPR. For all other readers who are not FSDS certified teams, we recommend that you identify a local pet FA/CPR course and enroll, or contact us for enrollment in the SD 101 course so you can receive appropriate training.
Remember that prevention trumps intervention, and the time to prepare is before a threat presents itself.
Another graduation has come and gone, and this years ceremony was our largest and most successful ever. This year we graduated 9 teams, and presented an additional 12 teams-in-training to the community. The vast majority of all graduates and upcoming teams continue to be wounded military veterans and first responders. This years event was sponsored by Farmers Insurance. Local agent Eric Pfister and his wife Daina made a generous contribution, which was followed by another donation from the Farmers Insurance Corporate Office.
Graduation opened with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Ron Coslett, Armed Forces Support Group of Sun City Grand. They also presented the FSDS with a large check to support our mission to provide SDs to veterans. The invocation was delivered by Russ LaChance, Westbrook Village Veterans Support Club. We were so fortunate to have Donna Rossi, Channel 5 as the special emcee for the event, and she did an outstanding job. Our Keynote speaker was Ofc. Franklin Marino, Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. A generous donation check was also presented to the FSDS by Melody and Tony Lamon, who recently held a successful fundraiser to support our mission.
There are not words that could ever adequately convey how proud we are of our student graduates, and how appreciative we are of the parents who have raised these students and permitted them to participate in this program. The dogs recently awarded were all trained by local teens as part of a community service experience. The students train together with the dogs for 18 months, and then give the dogs to wounded heroes in need. Speaking on behalf of the student trainers was Amanda Van Asdall, and on behalf of the wounded hero recipients was Phoenix Police SGT Leo Buffa, who received his new SD” Caleb” from teen trainer Karen Molina.
We are delighted to announce that on graduation day, as three of these local teens turned over their dogs, they then turned back around and accepted a second dog to start the training process over again. These three remarkable teens are Jolie Jendry, Karen Molina and Amanda Van Asdall.
CB1- Our community class is bursting at the seams. This new hybrid program currently has 7 heroes who are training dogs for their own needs, 5 local teens who are training a dog for someone else in need, and 5 additional heroes for whom the dog is being trained. Graduation was a prime opportunity to assess how the new puppies in training would fare in a crowded room with many distractions.
Coming Soon: New Training Class
We are now accepting application for the next community-based class, which we anticipate will be starting later this summer or early Fall. Individuals who wish to train a dog for their own needs, and/or local community members who wish to train a dog for someone else in need are encouraged to apply. This is a wonderful opportunity, in particular, for local teens who wish to provide community service and acquire marketable job skills.
Board of Directors
We bid a fond farewell to outgoing Board Treasurer, Angela Ofslager. She has moved out of state for a job transfer and has resigned her position. Though her tenure here was short, she will be missed. Thank you for your service, and happy trails to Angela and her family.
We welcome our new Board member, Scott Sefranka. Scott is a Phoenix Police Detective and a military veteran. He is partnered with a service dog and has been a strong advocate for teams as well as for community education.
We wish to thank the following supporters for their generosity:
- Eric and Daina Pfister
- Farmers Insurance / Corporate Office
- Armed Forces Support Group, Sun City Grand
- Tim Ganahl
- Hills Pet Nutrition
- Mr. and Mrs. T.F. Huber
- Tony and Melody Lamon
- Bill and Lillian Riley
Remember that toads can secrete a substance that is poisonous and potentially fatal for dogs. Water bowls should not be left outside unattended. When you go outside, bring a clean bowl with fresh water with you. When you come inside, remember to bring the water bowl with you.