Holiday Safety

As the holidays approach, it is prudent to revisit some prior safety tips.  Holidays are traditionally a time of celebration for many families, and such celebrations may include guests, food and decorations.  Many of the same things that bring happiness to humans can present hazards to our dogs.

Guests– remember that if you are hosting a party and the door may be opened and closed many times, your dog should be in a secured area so that they do not run off.  Also remember that many guests may be dog lovers, especially small children.  Your service dog should be at your side throughout any event.  It also may be a good idea to advise invited guests prior to the event that you have a service dog, and that this dog may not be petted.  Requesting that your adult guests instruct their children not to pet or distract the dog, in advance, will go a long way towards providing positive education for your guests, and a safe environment for you and your dog.

Food– many foods that are treats for humans are toxic or dangerous for dogs.  For example, chocolate and caffeine, macadamia nuts, grapes and raisins are all toxic to dogs.  Rising bread dough can create intestinal obstructions, and bones can cause damage anywhere along the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.  Remember to keep food off of coffee tables and out of reach of your dogs.  Wastebaskets should all have lids to keep dogs from “fishing” in the trash can, and all candy dishes should be out of reach and should have covers.  It is advisable to store these in a pantry at night, and not leave them on a table where they may be reached.

Decorations– remember that dogs are curious, and often explore things by tasting them.  Tinsel and ribbons, ornaments and such can cause intestinal obstructions if swallowed.  Glass ornaments can cause intestinal damage.  Bubble lights contain methylene chloride and this can cause illness in dogs.  Pine needles on live trees are not easily digested and can cause problems ranging from mild GI upset to perforation of the intestines.  Preservatives in tree water can cause nausea or vomiting.  Though aspirin is generally safe in dogs, as with any other medication, the effects depend on the dosage taken.  To avoid problems,  supervise your dog at all times when they have access to the tree.

Remember that prevention is better than intervention.  Supervise your dog at all times, and have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.

Classroom News

Estrella Mountain Campus– The students on the Estrella Mountain campus of AAEC are at work fine-tuning their dogs upper level service skills in preparation for January, when the recipients will join the class.  October was a great month for this dedicated group of students.  On October 1st, student trainer Lisette Borja accompanied us to present at the Arizona Department of Education Transition Conference.  This was a joint presentation between FSDS and AAEC High School.  Lisette and her SDIT Chloe provided a “paws-on” demonstration of service dog skills, and they were very well received.  EM students Lisette Borja, Tatyana Gonzalez, Meagan Carr, Whitney Pulsipher and Nia Dean,  joined us at the Getting Arizona Involved in Neighborhoods (G.A.I.N.) Event, along with the Peoria Police Department.  The EM students have stepped up to the plate to mentor the PV students who are just starting our program.  The class has been taking weekly field trips in public to expose the dogs to as many sights and sounds of the community as possible.  Our thanks to Detective Tina Sollazzo with the Phoenix PD, for arranging a visit to acquaint the dogs with uniforms, squad cars and emergency responders.

Paradise Valley Campus– the PV students are now at work to complete their certification in canine first aid and CPR.  The safety and well-being of our dogs is of the utmost importance to us, and this training is a required part of their Orientation training.  PV students Laura Sullivan, Jaymie Cardin and Brennah Gordy did an outstanding jog of representing the PV class at the G.A.I.N Event, and this was their first public appearance.  Later this month, the students will be receiving their SDITs and the next chapter of their training will begin.  Receiving their dog is an exciting time for our students, and we are expecting great things from this outstanding group of dedicated students.  We would also like to recognize the tireless efforts of Principal Martha Braly, for her support and assistance to make this program such a success.

Featured Recipient: Thomas W. Linton II

Young Tom Linton

Tom Linton as a young man in the military.

Each November on Veteran’s Day, we honor those who have served and defended our liberties.  This month we are proud to recognize the service of Thomas W. Linton II.

Thomas W. Linton II is a 100% disabled Veteran.  He joined the Marine Corps in 1958 upon graduation from high school at the age of 17.  He was forced to retire from the Marine Corps on disability in 1973 after fifteen years of service.

He has served at many duty stations in the Fareast, Okinawa, Japan, Korea, Borneo, Philippine Islands,   Hawaii and Vietnam.  U.S. Duty Stations were, San Diego, CA, Camp Pendleton, CA, El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, CA, Phoenix, AZ., Pueblo, CO, Norfolk, VA. and Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, D.C.   

During his tour of duty in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969 he served with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Da Nang, Vietnam during both Tet Offensives.  While in Vietnam he received a Meritorious Combat Promotion to Gunnery Sergeant E-7 and the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V”.

Elderly Tom Linton

Tom Linton today.

He has been a member of the Disabled American Veterans Organization since 1973 and is a member of the V.F.W.  He currently serves as the Finance Chairman of the Disabled American Veterans Department  of Arizona and is a volunteer at the Phoenix VA Hospital.  He is a combat survivor with P.T.S.D., hearing problems, suffers symptoms from agent orange and the loss of sight in his left eye. 

On October 8, 2013 he celebrated his 73rd birthday. On May 17th, 2014 Tom will receive a certified service dog from the FSDS at no cost to him, in recognition and appreciation of his outstanding and heroic service to our nation.

Safety and Wellness Tip

There has been some recent attention in the media regarding reports of illness and deaths in pets who have consumed jerky treats.  In an article dated 10/23/2013 in journal, they state that the FDA reported approximately 3,000 reports of pet illness, including 580 deaths link to jerky treats.  The recent warnings issued involve pet jerky treats that are imported from China.  The FDA has put together a fact sheet for concerned pet owners that contains information on what to look out for.  For more information you can visit the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine site, or the FDA website to  locate more questions and answers on jerky treats.

Just a reminder

Outreach Evaluators– we are still getting incomplete paperwork from a few individuals.  Please READ the SD Evaluator Guide prior to administering any tests to review the record keeping requirements.  This information is located on pages 4-5, and reads as follows:


All SD Evaluators will be required to maintain paperwork in accordance with FSDS rules.  You must collect the green test ticket before you begin the test for first time test takers, and the red ticket for those who are re-taking the test.  No ticket, no test, no exceptions.  

  Upon completion of the test, the SD Evaluator should ensure that the following forms are all completed:

1.                   SD Certification Test Form

2.                   Proof of Passing Form for those teams who successfully pass the test. 

3.                   Notice of Deficiency Form for those teams who demonstrate deficiencies

4.                   Notice of Failure for those teams who fail to achieve a passing score after their second attempt.

 PLEASE ensure that all parts of the forms are completed.  Incomplete forms will be returned to the Evaluator for completion. 

 The evaluator is required to return the original copy of the SD certification test to the FSDS.  Any other forms should be given to the test candidate. 

Recipients– a reminder that you must have ALL online lessons completed PRIOR to January 1st.  Those who have not completed their lessons will not be permitted to start classes.  This means that you will not receive a service dog from our May 2014 class, and will have to wait another year.  If you need assistance with your lesson material, please contact your teacher for assistance.

Congratulations are in order

Sally CebulskiOur sincere congratulations to Sally Cebulski on her recent promotion.  Sally began her journey with the FSDS as a volunteer almost five years ago.  Since that time has been working towards earning her instructor status with us.  As a requirement, she had to complete 6,000 hours of hands-on experience in dog training.  Sally volunteered with our first class in 2009, raised a service dog with us in the second class, and has moved up the ranks over the years to Canine Safety Instructor Trainer, and Coordinator of our Outreach Network.  Sally recently completed her 6,000 hours, and received her Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher certification from the Arizona Department of Education.  She has been promoted to Lead Instructor on the PV campus.  We are so proud of her achievements and look forward to her continued growth in our program for many more years to come.

Congratulations to student trainer Lisette Borja on being selected as s semi-finalist in the Phi Theta Kappa All-USA Scholarship competition.   Lisette and her SDIT Chloe are students in our AAEC-EM program.  Our very best wishes to Lisette in her quest to earn this 2 year scholarship to complete her Bachelor’s degree.

A Heart-Warming Tail of Success

Jacob and Nala 2012Our congratulations to Jacob May for having earned an invitation to the National Special Olympics in golfing.  Jacob came to the FSDS in 2009 as a student in our first youth-based program.  He was one of our most successful graduates, and raised a facility dog for Child Help USA.  After his graduation, Jacob developed medical problems, and applied to receive a SD for himself and we were pleased to award “Nala” to him.  Since that time, Jacob has been able to get out into the community and resume his college education and pursue his passion for golfing.  Jacob and Nala will travel together to Special Olympics, where Jacob will golf with Nala at his side.  This is a wonderful example of how service dogs can restore quality of life for an individual in need.  We wish them both the very best.

Upcoming Events for November

Nov. 2nd- Alzheimer’s Walk at Wesley Bolin Plaza.

Nov 2nd- Military Veterans Appreciation Day at Luke Air Force base.

Nov. 22nd- SD Presentation at Talking Stick Resort, Scottsdale- the FSDS will provide training for security staff at Casino Arizona.