Message from the Director

Happy Spring Everyone!

It was a pleasure participating in Dog Days of Glendale on February 26.  Thanks for the great turnout.  And thank you especially SD Teams: Tesia and Scooby and Celia & Caroline for coming to help represent FSDS to the folks who were attending.

Priorities for the next 60 days include:

  • Populate the fundraising database;
  • Implement the stewardship program;
  • Complete the interior window installations (due to be delivered in the next 2 weeks); and
  • Submit the required 2021 reports to watchdog agency websites, IRS, and to 2021 grants providers.

Please remember:  Let anyone who may be interested in applying for a service dog or learning to become a service dog trainer, know that now is the time to check out our website about the incentives for our upcoming class participants and apprentice opportunities..

Thank you, again, for your support and encouragement!

My best!


Classroom News

Yamill/Shannon & Bailey– continue to work on their service skills. This past month we have been at work on medical alert tasks and also finding a family member to assist.  Bailey is learning how to alert in a busy public place, amidst distractions.  The main goal for this month will be to generalize tasks in the public space and help Shannon build confidence.

Tom/Sharon Linton & Ruby– have been working on boundaries and structure which is crucial when bringing a new puppy home. Tom/Sharon are learning what to do and how to handle puppy jumping and nipping along with a potty training schedule. Ruby is coming along really well and starting to learn home boundaries!  She has learned “sit” and “down” on command already and demonstrates intelligence and an eagerness to learn and please her handler.   This past month we have been working on some impulse control exercises along with getting her used to loose leash walking.  This coming month we will begin to work on duration when she is in a sit or down position so that we can start adding distance very soon to these commands.

Upcoming Classes

The application process for our upcoming 2022 classes is now open.  Preference, as always, is given to military and first responders.  This includes those who are retired, as well as those injured in the line of duty who are reassigned to light duty and require assistance.  The new application packet can be located on our Apply for a Dog page.

Thanks to our partnership with Hill’s Pet Nutrition, program incentives are available for those accepted into the program.  These incentives include:

  • a full waiver for all dog training costs
  • a waiver of the SD 101 fee for military and first responders
  • free Hill’s dog food for two years
  • regularly scheduled veterinary screenings at no cost
  • free testing and program certification materials for all graduates

Contact us at 623-200-9762 if you have questions or would like additional information.

Outreach Evaluator Program

The Service Dog (SD) Certification Program is designed to provide professional, cost effective evaluation to those teams that are currently left with no reliable options for testing and certification. Our network of skilled evaluators work to place certification within the grasp of privately trained service dog teams.  We do not advocate for programs, or online companies that provide sight unseen certification papers for a fee. Proper certification is a true achievement, and is the culmination of years of hard work and training for a team.  We believe that in-person testing should be the gold standard for evaluation and certification, lending credibility to the process.  Videotapes can be edited, and are never permissible.

Another important issue that faces those with disabilities is the dilemma of how to maintain their certification if they need to relocate.  Currently other programs do not recognize certification that they do not issue, leaving newly relocated teams stranded.

The pandemic has put a damper on requests for in-person testing and certification, and as this begins to ease we anticipate that the request for outreach testing will increase as well.  We appreciate those of our evaluators who have patiently worked through this process with us.  Our goal is to have Outreach Evaluators in all 50 states, and we are actively qualified trainers who are interested in becoming a part of our team.  Please visit our Become an Evaluator page to learn more.

Wellness Tip

It is rattlesnake season once again, and at this time of year the snakes are coming out of hibernation.  After hibernating, the snakes are dehydrated, and that means that the venom is more concentrated, making the bites more toxic.  This is the most dangerous time to get bitten.  Make certain that you DO NOT use a retractable leash and allow your dog to get ahead of you when walking.  Snakes can hide by rocks and bushes, and a dog who sniffs these places can be easily bitten.  Did you know that rattlesnake bites are approximately 25 times more fatal in dogs than humans?  Follow the Code of Conduct for SD teams and keep your SD on a leash and within two feet of you at all times.  In the event that your dog does get bitten, here are some immediate steps you should take:

  1. Remove you and your dog from immediate danger
  2. DO NOT attempt to capture the snake
  3. Contact your veterinarian immediately
  4. Stay calm, stress travels down the leash; keep your dog quiet
  5. Transport your dog without delay to the nearest animal emergency clinic or hospital

Rattlesnake vaccines are available if you are in an area where snake bites have been reported, so please talk to your veterinarian about this.  In the event that your dog has had the vaccine and has been bitten, be aware that they still need to be taken to a veterinarian immediately.  The vaccine will reduce the severity of the reaction and buy you more time, but it will not eliminate the risks associated with snake bites.

If your dog is being vaccinated for the first time, they will require two injections, spaced 30 days apart.  It will take approximately 30 days for your dog’s immune system to build up antibodies, so 30 days prior to April is the ideal time to consider vaccination.  Your dog should then receive an annual booster.

With Sincere Thanks

We wish to express our appreciation to those who have supported the FSDS program in the past month.

  • Valerie Schluter
  • Release Canine LLC / Aleks Woodroffe
  • Todd Johnson
  • Lawrence and Linda Boukal
  • Sharon Bradley
  • Al and Bard Dietrich
  • Madeline Smith
  • Renee Rife
  • Loretta Chase
  • Antonio / J Trice
  • Timothy Glenn

Photo Gallery

Thanks to our teams in training for sharing these photos.