Message from the Executive Director

Thanks to each of you who have been so supportive this first quarter of 2023.   As you’ll see in Classroom News, we introduced our first weekday class to the schedule in February and it’s been well-received by the students whose weekend schedules were particularly challenging.

One of our Outreach students, James Gillespie, and his service dog, Shadow are joining me at the sponsor dinner for the Armed Forces Support Group Golf Tournament this week to share what a positive difference Shadow has made in his life and for his family.

If you are a golfer, please sign up to play in Charley’s Sports Grill Annual Charity Golf Tournament on April 15 at Palmbrook Country Club.   A good way have fun and support FSDS while you’re doing it!  We’d love to see you there.  Please click on the following link for details.  Annual Charity Golf Tournament



Wellness Tip 

Valley Fever is a problem for dogs here in the AZ desert.  As the weather begins to warm and you spend more time outdoors together, we remind you to be vigilant.  If it is a windy day, be aware that spores can blow around and cause infection.  Also be mindful of the dangers of digging in the dirt and your dog inhaling fungal spores.

 Valley Fever is caused by a fungus known as Coccidioides immitis.  During dry spells the fungus exists as spores and can be dormant.  During rainy spells, the mold grows and can become airborne.

 Symptoms of Valley Fever in dogs include but are not limited to:

  • cough
  • fever
  • decreased appetite
  • arthritis
  • lack of energy
  • weight loss

 Remember, if any of these symptoms develop, there is no substitute for a complete veterinary exam.

If you find yourself asking “should I call the vet?” then it is time to make that call.



Classroom news 

February was an outstanding month! We started our new mid weekday service dog training class and now, they are on their 3rd week of training with us, we couldn’t be more excited.

We definitely kept the students busy with our field trips, but it doesn’t stop there! We are looking forward to being the charity of choice at the Arms Force Support Group on March 11th and attending their golf tournament with the students and their canine partners. It will be a great training opportunity for all for more exposure and generalizing commands.

Our advanced class took their first trip to the Arizona Mills Mall this past month and did a fabulous job keeping their dogs controlled and providing lots of positive reinforcement for a job well done. We worked on leave it’s, crowd control in a public space, backing up, working at heel side, going under a table in the food court, and more! Practicing general obedience skills was an excellent confidence builder for the teams.

Our beginning class along with the advanced class all visited the Dog Days of Glendale event as a field trip and given the high distractions all over the event the teams did phenomenally well. We did some confidence building exercises with a small agility course they had at the event which was tons of fun and the dogs had a blast! Lots of practice with reaction to unfamiliar dogs, did some general obedience training for generalizing and lots of working on the heel command through the event. The teams had a great time and did so well with providing lots of positive reinforcement to their dogs for doing a fantastic job. It was a paw-fect day!!

Advance Class Highlights

Tom/Sharon & Ruby – Ruby is doing exceptionally well responding to “recalls with distractions.” She is also improving with her “give” command when she has an item to give to Tom or Sharon.

Charlotte & Luna – Luna has been performing really well with “closing doors” on command. She is also making great progress with her “go find” command.

Kerry/Jase & Sadie – Sadie has mastered her “crowd control” on command and does not need to be lured anymore. She has been making great progress with “retrieving” different items off surfaces.

Scott & Luna – Luna is making phenomenal progress with “dropping” items into a bucket. She also is now “closing a cabinet door” on command without help of the lid.

Beginner Class Highlights

Patti & Payton – Payton has done a great job with her “go find” command and is now doing this in different environments. “Sit” and “down stays” in new environments have also been progressing.

Shriji & Elfo – Elfo is making progress with his “take” and “give” command. He also has been doing a fine job at “go find.”

Tori & Colson – Colson is doing so well with his “crowd control” with distractions and is a very confident pup. His “place” command has been improving along with “staying in place.”

Kevin & Daisy – Daisy’s “under” command with duration has been mastered with distractions. Her “recalls” with distractions are also making wonderful progress.

Willie & Otis – Otis has been doing very well with his “go find” and “bringing back” items to his handler. His “loose leash” walking has greatly improved.

Kyla & Koda – Koda has mastered “go find” with multiple different items and “bringing them back” to his handler.

Mason & Nebbie – Nebbie has been doing amazingly well being in new surroundings. Her “sit stays” and “down stays” have been mastered.


Midweek Beginner Class Highlights


Chris & Sentry- Sentry has mastered “heel” and going right to heel side when his handler tells him. He is also making good progress on his “sit and down stays” and waiting to be released.

Dee & Morgan- Morgan has been great with his “impulse control” exercises along with his “sit and down stays” until released.

With Appreciation

On behalf of students and staff, our heartfelt gratitude to these February supporters

Lorena Perez

Shriji Shah

Amazon Smile

Jacob & Pauline Avencano

John Hamlet

Roberta Murphy

Charlotte Fornasiero

Rita Gualtieri

Renee Rife

Ashlynn Fisher

Hill’s Pet Nutrition

Monthly Donor:  Timothy Glenn


Photo Gallery