A Message from the Director

Hello again.

How quickly this month has gone!  During the past four (4) weeks, I’ve been privileged to learn so much more about FSDS and to be inspired by the mission of this organization and its excellent work.

I thought that this would be an appropriate time to share with you what I think you would want to hear from me about my approach to leading the organization forward from the strong foundation that’s been built to-date.  So, here goes!!!

I am committed to:

Showing character and integrity:  Fostering trust and healthy teamwork

Thinking, planning & preparing:  Spending the appropriate amount of time on each in order to achieve the desired results needed for FSDS to be successful.

Removing barriers:  Continually monitoring performance at all levels – and rapidly and regularly removing barriers to success.

Not wasting time or the time of others:  Focusing on what we’re trying to achieve and on those activities that support our mission.  Making sure our staff clearly understands their value-added roles so their time, energy, and talent is not wasted.

Hiring the right people:  Taking care to hire the right people for the right positions at the right time.

Building relationships:   Engaging the right people to help FSDS get things done – donors, volunteers, as well as community partners and leaders.

To that end.  I’m happy to report that we have a 3-year business plan completed to help guide our next steps and we have lunched our search for new physical space.  I look forward to sharing more with you as the months march on and welcome your questions and/or comments along the way.


P.S.  Here are 3 very simple and easy ways you can continue to support FSDS as I do:

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

Keeta & Dani – SDIT has met up with recipient Marissa for the first time and it went phenomonal. We went over commands Dani knows and had the recipient get some hands-on training as well, cueing Dani to do those commands that she already has been trained to do. Dani is being awarded to a Phoenix Police Officer who was recently shot and wounded in the line of duty.

Henry & Solomon– this team continues to work on public access and exposure to new environments. They took their first ride on the light rail and went to the airport to do more exposure training from things like baggage claim noises/being by crowds of people, seeing unfamiliar dogs, hearing the sounds of planes taking off. Their work on alert training continues to improve.

DeAnna & Scooby(recipient Tesia)- the team has mastered the art of having Scooby alert by nudging without being told to and responds to body language to alert Tesia. We have also been practicing doing this in different body positions so that Scooby responds when Tesia is not only just standing. Team is also generalizing service tasks in different areas

Brian & Mando have progressed to having Mando “Paw” Brain while in different body positions, such as laying down, sitting, facing away from dog etc..   Mando has been reliably performing the command without being told to.  Their work on “block/cover” is coming along nicely, and so is scent work training.

Tina & Socorro are still at work on building their sound library and generalizing their commands.  Socorro is currently being taught to pick up drop items. This team is being cross-trained to perform several different types of service tasks, so this has been a complicated process, and they are making great progress.

Soyini & Coco are making great progress with “go get help” by adding more distance and changing the circumstances. Coco is also making great progress at her medical alert task training. This team is going out in public more and generalizing tasks in different places

Yamill & Bailey are hard at work on generalizing service tasks by going to the park near the home and working on go get help in different environments, along with retrieving medicine bag and picking up dropped items. Bailey will be awarded to a disabled military veteran.

John & Simari have mastered the “brace” command and are making progress with holding and carrying items, along with retrieving different items from the floor. This past month they also focused more attention on the “go get help” cue.  In the coming month they will continue to work on adding new layers of difficulty to this task.

Celia & Caroline took their first trip to a bowling alley, and after some confidence building exercises Caroline did a great job practicing performance of her service tasks amid the distraction of new sights and sounds. This team is also making great progress with medical alert training. Caroline is starting to alert without being cued to do so!

Wellness Tip

This month, in preparation for the 2021 hurricane and monsoon seasons, we are providing some valuable tips on emergency preparedness.  The time to plan for a disaster is before it happens, not when it is occurring.

Family evacuation plan – every family should have an evacuation plan, and this should include your four-legged family members.  Remember to:

  • Plan for how to escape if needed.  If you reside in a multi-story dwelling, think ahead of how to get out a second story (or higher) window if needed.  Have you thought of how to lower your dog to safety?  Do you have a rope ladder for yourself?
  • Get all of your SDs medical records scanned in, and store them on your Drive, cloud or similar location.  This information should be accessible remotely.  Red Cross shelters permit SDs, but they have the right to determine credibility for public safety reasons.  You will need to be able to provide proof of rabies vaccination, and your dogs county license tag should be prominently displayed on the collar in accordance with local laws.
  • Prepare a list of important items to pack, in the event that you have advance warning of an evacuation.  Pack food and medications for your SD, as well as bedding and a comfort item.  If you have a collapsible crate for overnight use in a shelter if needed, this should also be packed.

Emergency contact information – make certain that you update your emergency contact information.  In the event that an illness or injury forces a separation of yourself and your SD temporarily, it is important to ensure that the dog will not be sent to a shelter.  There was a recent case where a separation caused the dog to be sent to an alternate caregiver.  The person listed did not take the dog for unknown reasons, and the dog was sent to a boarding facility, and was then re-homed with another family.  At last report,the handler was fighting to try and get her SD returned to her.

  • Make certain that you have set aside funds, if needed, to cover any costs associated with the ongoing care of your dog.
  • Update the name and contact information for the veterinarian, if needed.
  • Make certain that the veterinarian has the name and contact information for the alternate caregiver.

Prepare a set of written instructions for the alternate caregiver that spells out the routine for your SD and any necessary care.   Include such items as:

  • Feeding schedule
  • Exercise routine
  • Administration of preventive treatments for heartworm and flea/tick, as well as any other required ongoing medical care
  • The contact information for your veterinarian and instructions for this person to notify the veterinarian in the event that re-homing is required.

Other considerations:

  • If you reside in a flood-prone zone, make certain that your SD has a properly fitted life jacket.
  • If flooding will be an issue, make certain that your store kibble in a double wrapped plastic bag inside of an airtight container.
  • Do not leave your SD outdoors during a storm.
  • Make certain to inspect your yard after a storm prior to allowing your dog outdoors to exercise.  Debris that is blown into the yard can be sharp and cause injury to the pads of the paws.

Stay safe!

Thank You

Our thanks to the following who have supported our program and mission during this past month:

  • Valerie Schluter
  • Kristina Browning
  • Network for Good

Photo Gallery

Many thanks to our students for providing these wonderful photos from the past month.