Are  You Prepared?

Fall is officially here, and our thoughts turn to preparations for the holidays.  This often means traveling, and this month is a good time to review your emergency planning.  Do you have a plan in place for how to ensure care for your SD in the event of accident or illness?  This month we provide some practical plans for all SD handlers and trainers on how to safeguard important documents and ensure accessibility in the event of an emergency.  Some suggestions on emergency preparedness are:

Use your Drive– many email programs have a Drive, a protected part of your account where you can store documents.  We recommend that you scan all of your important documents for your dogs and store this info on the Drive.  Of utmost importance are:

  • a copy of your team ID badge
  • all veterinary records inc. rabies and all other vaccines, receipt for county license tag, spay/neuter
  • CGC certificate
  • team certificate, if applicable
  • copies of emergency contact information
  • an updated photo of your SD; be certain that the photo captures any distinguishing features

Get everyone on the same page– make certain that anyone and everyone that you have selected to make decisions for yourself and/or your dog in an emergency are introduced to each other!

  • If you do not currently have advanced directives, consider doing so
  • Exchange contact information between your designated Power of Attorney for medical and financial needs (MPOA / DPOA), and your designated caregivers for your SD.
  • Consider giving a trusted someone your house key so that they are able to get in if needed
  • Carry emergency contact instructions in either the glove box of your car, your wallet or both places in the event that the first responders at any potential accident do not know to look for this information in the pocket of your SD vest
  • Let your MPOA/DPOA and alternate caregivers know that if anything were to happen, whoever gets the call first should contact the others
  • If you have any other pets in the home, write out instructions regarding feeding, medications, etc and leave them in a place that is known to the person who has your house key

Medical records– many physician offices now offer patient portals, which provide accessibility to all of your medical records. This can be valuable in the event of a medical crisis.

  • Consider giving access information to your MPOA so that in the event of a medical emergency outside of normal office hours, your MPOA will be able to provide hospitals / physicians with any necessary medical records.
  • Provide your physicians office with a copy of your advanced directives
  • Provide your physicians office with a copy of your team ID badge, and a copy of your emergency contact card with the names of alternate caregivers for your SD

While we hope that none of this will be necessary for you, remember that prevention trumps intervention.  As we head towards the holidays, we hope that this is a safe and enjoyable time for all.

Classroom News

image5 (3)Estrella Mountain Campus– the EM campus has been very busy working on advanced SD skills, in preparation for the recipients joining the class in January.  This month some of the tasks that they have focused on include retrieving a wheelchair and learning to help dress/undress their recipients.  In preparation for learning how to pull a wheelchair, the teacher brought several toy trucks into the classroom, and had the dogs practice pulling the trucks by strings before attempting to pull the chairs.  This is a great example of how the dogs are taught the tasks in stages. On October 24th the dogs will all take their Canine Good Citizen test and we are expecting great news.  Videos of the dog practicing these new skills are posted on our Facebook page.

Paradise Valley Campus– the PV campus is working hard on completing their Orientation materials.  They have completed Unit One, and are now starting to work on the canine first aid and CPR skills certification, in preparation for the GAIN Event in Peoria in just a couple of weeks.  Students will be on hand to provide canine first aid and CPR demonstrations for the general public.  The new pups were temperament tested and did well- by the second week of October all 8 pups will have left their breeders and will officially be enrolled in the FSDS training program.  We are all excited to welcome our new members.  This month our returning students all earned their canine safety certification patches, with several of those students receiving their “rockers” for advanced certification.  Way to go!


Our hearty congratulations to Linda Proctor Downing, Exec. Director of AAEC High Schools, has recently named recipient of the Outstanding Educator Award from the Phoenix Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues.  Linda has been recognized for the support she has shown of the youth-based SD training program on the AAEC campuses.  Four paws up!

Wellness Tip

Halloween is around the corner and we ask all of our teams to remember the following:

  • candy can be toxic to dogs, keep it out of reach at all times
  • costumes can be scary, consider setting your /SD up on a comfortable bed in another room, or simply sitting outside when trick-or-treaters are out to avoid ringing doorbells and scary sights and noises
  • if you plan to dress up your dog supervise them at all times when wearing costumes
  • avoid any costumes or decorations that may pose a choking hazard to your dog
  • home decorations should be placed high enough to be out of the reach of your dog

Have a safe and fun Halloween!

Welcome New Volunteers

A warm welcome to new volunteers Tina Sollazzo and Gloria Leigh Johnson.  We are excited that you have chosen to be a part of the FSDS and look forward to working with you.

Upcoming Events

Oct. 10th 4:30 p.m. Armed Forces Support Group of Westbrook Village Dinner- this wonderful group has embraced our program and is holding a dinner to help support the service dogs we award to military veterans.

October 17th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Peoria Fire-Medical Department and Peoria Police Department Public Safety GAIN night. The event will be held at the Pioneer Park, located at 8755 N 83rd Ave, Peoria, AZ ,  which is 83rd ave south of Olive.  FSDS youths and staff will be on hand to provide hands-on canine first aid and CPR demonstrations and public education on service dog and disability issues.

October 29th 10 a.m. the FSDS will be recognized at the Phoenix Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues Award Ceremony held at the Nina Mason Pulliam Auditorium at the Burton Barr Central Library.

We Need Your Help

PV2015_wk4Many thanks to FSDS staff Lisette Borja for setting up a GoFundMe page for our new puppies.  Providing the necessary care and equipment for 8 new puppies is expensive, and we need your help!  These adorable little furballs will each grow through about:

4 sizes of booties @ $25/pair
4 seatbelt harnesses @ $15-$35 each depending on size
3-4 collars @ $15/set
3-4 sizes of training vests @ $50 each

…and that is just during the first year!  In addition to this, the pups will require vaccinations, microchips and preventive medications for fleas/ticks and heartworm.  This all adds up fast.  Please consider donating to our GoFundMe page to help defray this expense for us.

Many thanks to…

  • Brian Koukoutchos for his generous $27.50 donation
  • Victor Tolin and family for their generous $50 donation

Photo Gallery

IMG_0588 IMG_0605 pink service puppies EM Aug 2015 EM2Aug2015 20150824_090822_resizedttest1ttest2ttest3ttest5ttest6image1 (2)image2 (2)image2 (4)image6IMG_7472IMG_20150829_095829IMG_20150829_114357cpr training