Message from the Executive Director

As we catapult into summer, it reminds me how quickly things move these days and how easy it is to let too much time pass without

expressing gratitude to each of you who support our work in so many ways:

  • Giving of your time to volunteer
  • Making financial contributions
  • Approving grant requests for new as well as ongoing projects
  • Contributing in-kind gifts that offset budget items.
  • Dedication of our staff
  • Perseverance and effort of each of our students
  • Commitment of our Apprentices working to become certified Service Dog trainers.
  • Obedience class participants

All of these things come together to provide “A New Leash on Life” for individuals with disabilities and their canine partners.

We couldn’t do it without you!   Thank you so very much!


Wellness Tip

Valley Fever- with the monsoon season just around the corner with the danger of blowing winds and dust, we remind all SD handlers and dog owners to be vigilant for signs of Valley Fever.  This fungal infection is prevalent in desert regions, and the symptoms can range from very mild with no visible signs of illness, to severe.  There are two (2) forms of the disease:

  • Primary – confined to the lungs and can cause a dry cough, lethargy, depression or a lack of appetite.  Sometimes symptoms can occur early, and at other times the fungus can remain dormant for as long as three (3) years before symptoms develop.
  • Disseminated – in this form the fungus spreads to other parts of the body, especially the joints.  This can present as arthritis and can cause lameness, weight loss or swollen and painful joints.  In rarer cases it can cause blindness or spread to the brain and cause seizures.

If your dog is showing any signs of limping, cough, decreased appetite or depression it is best to have them evaluated by your veterinarian.


Classroom news


FSDS was the charity of choice for the Charley’s Sports Grill Golf Tournament in April and our teams did fabulous at this outing and performed so well with sitting nicely for petting along with working on some obedience training around large crowds and loud music. We got to work a lot on our Under command in a restaurant setting!

Both advanced class and beginning class took their first field trip to the Sky Harbor Airport. All teams did wonderful with their SDIT on the light rail and had them in their “under” commands until we reached our drop off location. The dogs performed with great confidence with this new experience. Once we got off the light rail, we took the Sky Train to the airport where the dogs couldn’t be in a “under” command, however the handlers were able to cue their dogs the “center” command where the dogs sits or stands right in between the handler’s leg to keep them out of reach for people not to distract them. Some of the dogs even performed a down stay and stayed in their position until we got off the Sky Train.

Once we arrived at the airport where we were able to arrange going through TSA prior to our arrival that day for our teams to get the full-on practice training for when the dogs must fly on a plane and go through security. All SDIT performed great with their walking at heel side, under, maintaining focus, duration sit stays and down stays, along with some crowd control training, and leave it training.

Everyone did a phenomenal job on this field trip, and we are thankful for the management at TSA for making this happen for us!

Advanced Class Highlights

Tom/Sharon & Ruby – Ruby’s Recalls around distractions has been greatly improving. She has also made progress with her down stays while around dogs and people are passing by her.

Charlotte & Luna – Luna has been excelling with her emergency stop which has turned to an emergency down.

Kerry/Jase & Sadie – Sadie has been doing wonderful at “go find” and retrieving different items while they are placed out of sight.

Scott & Luna – Luna has been making great progress with retrieving items from a distance along with her touch command on the leg.

Beginner Class Highlights

Shriji & Elfo – Elfo is doing a terrific job with his distance commands and pawing his owner’s leg on command which will essentially move onto an alert.

Tori & Colson – Colson is performing very well with his back up command and his recalls around distraction have been greatly improving.

Kevin & Daisy – Daisy is fantastic with her “hit it” command which is used for closing doors and cabinets.

Willie & Otis – Otis has been doing great with his Heel command on a normal flat collar without the use of training tools.

Kyla & Koda – Koda has been doing great with his “go find” items from a distance and also starting to show good progress with his drop it command.

Mason & Nebbie – Nebbie has been doing amazing with her pawing on her owners leg on command, along with her “take it” command.

Midweek Beginner Class Highlights

Chris & Sentry – Sentry has been doing a great job with his “center” command along with his emergency stop.

Dee & Morgan – Morgan has been doing phenomenally with his “go get” command to retrieve items and bring them back to his handler.

Patti & Payton – Payton’s been performing great with “take and hold” command with different items while adding movement.

With Appreciation

Our heartfelt thanks to the following folks for their support during the month of April:  Thank you for helping provide “A New Leash on Life” to individuals with disabilities and their canine companions:

Timothy Glenn (Monthly giver)
Hill’s Pet Nutrition
Kari Dayton
Glenn Miner
Amith Kumar
John Hamlet
Latrice Jackson
Dee DeVita
Terry Steffey
Lorena Perez
Brett Lawson
Nicole Powalisz
DeAnna McCarthy
Donna Bryan
George & Dyab Yeutter
Carmen Cantiverio
Dr. CJ Betancourt
Frances & John Wahl Foundation
Riders United
Kriss Herrera
Julie Parker
Amy Landry
Steven Comelia
David Marts
Kat McGinnis
James Gillespie
Jessie Simmon
Loretta Chase
Mary Brooks
Sponsors and donors for Charley’s Sports Grill Charity Golf tournament benefiting FSDS:
Charley’s Sports Grill
Mercedes-Benz of Arrowhead
Lunde’s Peoria Volkswagen
Collision Center of Peoria
AP Fire Protection
Smarter Swipe
Arria Mexican Grill
Linda Hawks
Tiffany Bennett (She’s Crafty)
Mighty Moe’s Mobile Grooming
Trinity Aesthetics
Westbrook Village Golf Club
Modern Acupuncture
Van’s Golf Shops
Charley’s at the Lakes
Impressions by Arky Mucato
Glenda Underwood Kooney
Lookout Mountain Golf Club
Picazzo’s Italian Kitchen
Cobblestone Auto Spa
Big 5 Sporting Goods

Photo Gallery