Staying Informed

This past month there have been several issues concerning the safety of all dogs that we wish to bring to the attention of our readers.

Pet Food Recalls – Since the start of this year, there have been 7 pet food recalls, an amount that is more than double the number of recalls seen at this time last year.  It is important to stay informed about recalls and exercise caution in the selection of a diet for your dog.  Current recalls are posted on the FDA website, and we urge all of our readers to stay abreast of this information.  Petful advisor cautions that several brands may be processed at the same facility, more recalls are certain to follow.  Most notably, recalls were made for concerns of Pentobarbitol (a euthanasia drug) as well as metal fragments in the dog food.  There has been at least one death reported due to the Pentobarbitol.  Canned (wet) foods are most frequently involved.  If you are concerned about potential risks for your dog, you are encouraged to speak with your veterinarian for advice.  The pet foods recalled thus far according to the FDA include:

  • February 14, 2017 Against The Grain Pet Food Voluntarily Recalls One Lot of Pulled Beef Due to Potential Adulteration with Pentobarbital
  • February 09, 2017 PetSmart Voluntarily Recalls Single Lot of Great Choice® Canned Dog Food Due to Possible Health Risk
  • February 03, 2017 Evanger’s Voluntarily Recalls Hunk of Beef Because Of Pentobarbital Exposure in one Batch of Food
  • January 13, 2017 Blue Ridge Beef Recalls Product Because of Possible Health Risk
  • January 13, 2017 Grange Co-Op Recalls Rogue All Purpose Rabbit Pellets For High Vitamin D Health Risk
  • January 06, 2017 The J.M. Smucker Company Expands Limited Voluntary Recall on Certain Lots of Canned Cat Food Due to Low Levels of Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
  • January 03, 2017 The J.M. Smucker Company Announces a Limited Voluntary Recall on Certain Lots of Canned Cat Food Due to Low Levels of Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

Leptospirosis – be advised that there has been an increase in cases of Leptospirosis (Lepto) reported in dogs here in Arizona.  Thus far in Arizona, the Department of Agriculture has reportedly identified 40 cases.  This is a bacterial illness that is most often spread through contact with farm animals, rodents, wild animals or other dogs, but it may also be contracted from exposure from contaminated water in rivers and lakes, or on hiking trails.  Lepto can be spread to humans as well.

The signs and symptoms of Lepto vary widely.  Some dogs show no symptoms at all, others show minor symptoms including fever, muscle tenderness and GI upset, while others develop severe symptoms and death may occur.  There is a vaccine available to protect against this illness.  We recommend the following for all dog owners, and particularly for service dog handlers:

  • speak with your veterinarian about vaccination and preventive strategies
  • make certain that your dog has protective booties when near possible sources of contamination
  • avoid exposing your dog to farm animals or other dogs with unknown vaccination status
  • supervise your dog when outdoors at all times, and regularly inspect your yard for evidence of rodents
  • be vigilant for signs that your dog is not feeling well and call your veterinarian early for advice

Classroom News

CB6 – our advanced class is hard at work on specific tasks to mitigate disabilities of the intended recipient.  Kudos to Amanda Van Asdall and her SDIT “Doug” as well as Brianna Espinosa and her SDIT “Zazu” for mastering the ability to go to the kitchen to open or close cabinet doors.

CB7 –  our beginner class successfully completed their canine FA and CPR certification this month.  Kudos to our youth trainers from the advanced class who assistant taught, earning their Jr. Safety Instructor credentials.  These teen trainers are Amanda Van Asdall, Brianna Espinosa, and Grace Ganahl.  Congratulations!  Special thanks to our classroom aide Sharon Richter, who is volunteering to earn her community service hours for her own SD under our Pawsitive Community Program.  Sharon consistently goes above and beyond to help out, she is always positive and inspire others.  Keep up the good work.   Mention must also be made for Zanna Fehr and her SDIT “Duke” as well as Samantha Aguilar and her SDIT “Adara”, who are doing excellent work with loose leash walking.

Coming Soon – Service Dog Trainer Academy

Be on the lookout in the months to come.  Over the past 9 years, the FSDS training program has coupled the provision of instruction to those who wish to acquire SD training skills to the provision of services to those in need of service dogs.  The program has evolved and the interest in the “train the trainer” aspect of our program continues to grow.  Plans are underway to expand our ability to provide training to those who wish to become skilled obedience / service dog trainers. While other canine obedience training schools focus solely on obedience training, the FSDS program will provide the student with the skills to train at all levels from puppy to service dog.

Training has been expanded to also include education on how to start and operate your own training business.  We feel that this will be particularly suited not only for youths who are setting out to make a career of training, but also for our wounded military, first responders and others who have been forced into medical retirement and are seeking employment opportunities that they will have some more control over.  We recognize that job seeking when you are partnered with a SD is challenging, and an environment such as a canine training business can offer flexible solutions and a path to independence.  Stay tuned.

Wellness Tip

During the winter months, rattlesnakes typically hibernate.  They emerge, most commonly, in the months of March or April when the average temperatures are greater than or equal to 60 degrees.  It is therefore a good idea at this time to walk your property and remove any potential hazards.  Ensure that there are not piles of rocks, tall grasses or untrimmed bushes where snakes may hide.  Some helpful tips for safety are:

  • inspect your yard before letting your dogs outside to play
  • walk on established paths only, and not through tall grassy areas
  • when opening the door to let your dogs out to potty, peek outside first to ensure that there are no snakes
  • check your garage before taking your dog out to put them in the car, snakes sometimes find their way into garages
  • if you are uncertain if a snake is poisonous or not, treat it as if it is!

Donations Sought for Silent Auction

The FSDS is seeking donations for a silent auction event to be held at the graduation this July.  Some examples of suitable items are:

  • products or services from local businesses
  • time share usage
  • unique hand-crafted items from local artisans
  • tickets to sporting events or theater

Individuals who are interested in making a tax deductible donation may contact Gary Noble for more information.

Thank You

We wish to express our sincere thanks to the following individuals for their generous donations to support our service dog training program:

  • Valerie Schluter
  • Barry MacKean and Teresa Ledzinski
  • Martin Chorzempa

We wish to express our ongoing thanks to the following for their long-term support of the FSDS training program:

  • Dr. KC Wright at the Apollo Animal Hospital in Glendale, AZ.  Since 2009, Dr. Wright has provided the highest quality of care for the service dogs enrolled in our training program, and has waived the cost for all office fees.
  • Phoenix Police Department for allowing us use of classroom space at a local precinct

Volunteers Needed

The FSDS is looking for a videographer.  We seek the participation of someone with skills needed to assist the FSDS in filming training videos to benefit future students.  We are also seeking the services of a graphic designer who is interested in some small projects such as designing certificates for students.  If you are interested in assisting us, please contact Dr. B for more information.

Upcoming Events

July 29th – FSDS Graduation, details TBA

Photo Gallery

Enjoy these photos from February of classroom training, as well as a Car Show sponsored by the Westbrook Village Veterans Support Club.  This event was to benefit the FSDS training program, and we are so grateful for this type of support.  A great time was had by all.

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