A Message from the Director

My heart-felt thanks to each of you who have reached out with welcome messages to me. And thank you, too, for your expressions of support and enthusiasm for serving people in our community who need us. It’s been so gratifying to know that others share our hopes and dreams for the future of FSDS and our ability to serve many more people in the coming year.

To that end, as most of you know, FSDS lost its lease at our physical location during the height of the COVID pandemic when the landlord closed the building permanently, displacing all the tenants. We have continued to provide services from our respective remote locations in the meantime. But now I am earnestly searching for new space for us.  As we look to fulfill our plans to increase the number of persons with disabilities served by 10-fold over the next couple of years, it’s essential that we secure a space from which to grow and thrive.

This will not be an inexpensive step, as you can well imagine, but we are confident that we’ll find just the right space in an easy-to-access location for our students and staff and we welcome any support you are in a position to provide to help us reach this goal.  You have been generous in the past and we are so very grateful. In addition to continuing to making direct donations, you may also choose additional options for giving that may suit you as well. Please be a part of making this dream come true by considering a donation today and any of these additional ways to give by simply indicating FSDS as your charity of choice with the programs detailed  below.

Thanks again for being part of the FSDS family. We look forward to a sending you an invitation to the open house we’ll schedule when we’ve settled into our new physical space.

My best to each of you!

Sign up:

  1. Choose Foundation for Service Dog Support as your charity of choice on amazon.com
  2. Choose The Foundation for Service Dog Support (organization #EY153) with Fry’s at com . Fry’s Community Rewards;  and link your shopper card # to us

 They each donate a percentage of yours and my purchases to the charity chosen.

  1. Check if your employer offers a matching gift program which can double the amount of support at no extra cost to you when you sign up.

Classroom News

Phoenix Police Officer Marissa Dowhan

Keeta & Dani (Recipient Marissa)– Dani & Marissa have been working great together, and Dani already is very attentive to Marissa’s needs. Marissa is a Phoenix Police Officer who was injured as a result of a line of duty shooting.  The team is working on individualizing service skill training to meet Marissa’s specific needs.

Henry & Solomon are showing great progress with their medical alert training. Adding distractions and going to new places for exposure training has been a focus during this prior month. Solomon has mastered the ability to retrieve dropped items from hard to reach locations, and is able to recognize and anticipate the needs of Henry.  This team also has been working on their “brace” command.

DeAnna & Scooby (Recipient Tesia) this teams ability to generalize service skills is continuing to improve.  During the past month, the team has begun the process of acclimating Scooby to the work environment to met staff and introducing him to the sights, sounds and expectations of the new environment.  Education of other staff on SD etiquette is a part of this process.

Brain & Mando–  their “block and cover” command is coming along great, Mando is able to do the command now without having to be lured into position and is responding to the verbal cue. Brian has been taking Mando to school with him and Mando is doing wonderful staying in his “under” position despite distractions.  Acclimating Mando to the school environment and helping to educate other students and faculty on SD etiquette is also a function of their preparation, and this team has risen to the challenge.  Four paws up to this team.

Tina & Socorro continue to build their sound library and improve on their ability to identify and alert to sounds in the environment.   Tina has also been doing exposure training and taking Socorro to new places.  This is important in alert training, as the dog must have the ability to distinguish between normal public sounds, and those sounds that require alerting.

Soyini & Coco are making strides on their “block and cover” command and continue to add new challenges to the training.  Their mastery of the  “go get help” command as well as their ability to accomplish medical alert work has greatly improved during the past month.  Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Soyini continues to introduce Coco to new sights and sounds and her hard work is paying off.

Yamill & Bailey have made serious improvement in their service skills over the past month. This is all despite the additional challenges of school and final exams that Yamill has faced.  This month we will introduce new challenges.  We are so proud of Yamill’s hard work, he is truly a role model for other teens in the community through his efforts to change the life of someone else in need.

John & Simari have introduced the “block and cover” command over the past month. Their mastery on “brace” is already providing John with much needed daily assistance, and their improvements on the “go get help” command as well as retrieval of objects has brought about improvements in John’s life.  We look forward to continued success for this team.

Celia & Caroline– progress on medical alert training is coming along nicely, and over the past month they have worked diligently to challenge their skills around new distractions.  Among the highlights of this past month was a field trip to see a concert.  Caroline remained focused, maintained a solid “sit/stay” under the chair and exhibited excellent public access behavior.   Kudos to this team.

Sending Warm and Fuzzy Congratulations!

Elizabeth and Officer Oliver

A big shout out to Elizabeth Hartley and “Officer Oliver” of the Peoria Police Department on passing their 3 year recertification test with flying colors.  Oliver was awarded to the Peoria PD by the FSDS in May 2018, and since that time has assisted countless numbers of innocent crime victims as well as traumatized officers.  Oliver is assigned to the Victim Assistance Unit and we are so proud of him and Elizabeth for the invaluable work they do here in our community.

Wellness Tip

Things are really heating up here in the desert SW, and indeed around the nation.  June is the official start of summer, and this month we focus on safety tips to help you prevent heat-related injury / illness in your SD.

Hot pavement – each year dogs suffer needlessly from burns to their paws from walking on hot pavement.  Did you know that the temperature of asphalt can run as much as 40-50 degrees hotter than air temperature?  A good rule of thumb is for you to slip off your sandals, or simply place the palm of your hand on the asphalt.  If it is too hot for you to walk barefoot, it is too hot for your dog.  Providing well fitted thermal working booties for your dog is as essential as providing shoes for yourself.  Make certain that your dog has a properly fitted pair of all weather booties.

Hydration – just as you carry a water bottle for your own needs, you must carry a water bottle and a bowl for your dog each time you leave the house.  This includes short trips around town.  A dog cools down by panting, and this causes them to be thirsty.  If your dog is panting, they are already relatively dehydrated.  Providing regular drinks to prevent this from happening will help ensure the health of your dog.

Outdoor safety – remember that if you are attending a family picnic or BBQ, your dog is wearing a fur coat.  Also bear in mind that dogs can get sunburn, particularly on vulnerable areas such as their nose, eyelids and ears.  Dogs can also overheat easily and face a risk of heat exhaustion / heat stroke if exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time.  Some outdoor safety tips include the following:

  1. Bring a battery powered fan and a spray bottle for your dog.  Periodically spritz your dog with water and allow them to sit by the fan to cool down.
  2. Bring an umbrella to shade your dog from the sun.  Even on days when the temperature is not that hot, exposure to direct sunlight can still cause sunburn injuries.
  3. Limit the time your dog spends outdoors on a hot day.  Remember that it is far easier to prevent heat-related illness than it is to treat it once it occurs.
  4. Consider a raised outdoor bed for your dog to protect them from bites of ants and other insects that may hide in the grass.  Inspect any area carefully prior to allowing your dog to lay down.

Water safety – watch your dogs around water!  The importance of this can not be understated.  Do not leave toys floating in a pool, as these are temptations for your dog to dive in.  Make certain that you have a safety fence around in-ground pools, and that you never permit your dog to be in the yard unattended.  If you plan to go boating, ensure that you provide a properly fitted life jacket for your dog.

Wishing you a safe and happy summer with your best friend!

Thank You

We wish to express our sincere thanks to the following parties for their generous support of our program during the past month:

  • Valerie Schluter
  • smile.amazon.com
  • Network for Good

As we seek to locate a new and permanent facility space, your support is needed more than ever.  Please consider making a gift to help change the lives of deserving heroes in our community.  You can do this by using the donate button on the main page of our website.

Photo Gallery

Many thanks to our students for these beautiful photos of they and their SDITs in training over the past month.