Program Metrics: Organizational Growth

In 2008 a small group of individuals sat around the kitchen table of Miriam Peterman and started the FSDS.  Since that time, the organization has continued to grow.  One of our core philosophies is a firm belief in transparency as a necessary means for us to earn the trust of the public.  Last month we reported on the progress of our online didactic education module.  This month we take a look at the overall growth of the organization.

Website statistics: we have been carefully tracking the numbers and types of visits on our website.  This month we report on the numbers over since 2012 (with the numbers and extrapolated figures for 2016).  Note that the numbers for 2016 are from Jan. 1st – June 30th.

Description 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 *
Total # visits 6782 8488 12926 18858 11967 / 23934
# new visits 4872 5530 9946 14195 9593 / 19186
# repeat visits 1910 2958 2980 4663 2374 / 4748
# visits from United States 6458 8239 9145 12911 11051 / 22102
# visits from other countries 324 249 851 947 916 / 1832
# of countries visitors come from 59 52 88 94 82 / 164

*The second set of numbers for 2016 represents extrapolated figures for the entire year.

It is apparent that the traffic on the site is increasing steadily each year.  We also note that the number of visits from outside of the U.S. are increasing.  Among the inquiries from the U.S. that we receive, a majority are from military and first responders who need assistance and inquire whether or not we operate a program in their area, stating that there is no program comparable to our in their region.  The next most common inquiry is from individuals who reside in rural, remote areas and lack access to a formal program, and wish to certify through our Outreach Program.

With the advent of our new community-based training program we have had to dedicate much time and resources this past year towards fine-tuning our services to provide maximum benefits for those in need who are training their own dog.  The needs of this population differ greatly from our previous population of able-bodied students training a dog for someone else in need.  It is a long term goal of the FSDS to expand in the future to better serve those across the state of AZ.

The FSDS currently employs 6 PT staff.  All managers work from home, while teachers use facility space that is generously donated by the Phoenix Police Department.  While we are small, this arrangement is designed to ensure that funds are diverted towards the direct provision of programs and service to those in need, rather than maintenance of facility space.  Staff growth is expected to increase in early 2017 as the first group of CB students will be eligible or per diem employment under our Back to Work Program.  Those individuals will be hired as Canine Ambassador Teams and will be assigned to work on community presentations and education.

Classroom News

The students in our community-based (CB) program are doing a fine job.  This past month there were a few “stand-out” students who deserve special mention.  On a recent field trip to a movie theatre, the team of Dale Stevenson and Gus did an exceptional job.  Gus has developed a keen ability to sense the needs of Dale and to respond in a proactive manner.  It is apparent that the two have formed a strong and healthy bond, essential to a well functioning team.

Grace Ganahl and her SDIT Teddy were rewarded for leadership and good team work this past month in responding to a public access challenge.  Grace remained calm and in charge, and Teddy did not bark or react, but stepped back and allowed his handler to manage the situation.  Grace received a bar for her leadership pin, and Teddy was rewarded with a new squeaky bone and some treats.  Good job!

Sharon Richter received her lamp of learning pin for extra reading on dog training.  The FSDS has a lending library for students who wish to acquire knowledge above and beyond what is offered in the classroom.  Sharon has demonstrated initiative and desire to be the very best handler possible.  Kudos to Sharon, keep up the good work.

DougResults of Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and Public Access Testing (PAT): we are pleased to report that this past month all of our teams successfully passed their skills tests, and have earned their yellow in-training vests.  This is a real milestone in the training process, as these teams are now cleared to go out in public on their own.  Special commendation to the team of Patrick Buvala and Frank– they have been working extra hard on the “greeting an unknown dog” station and Patrick put in many long hours with Frank to teach him proper behavior.  On test day- they turned in a stellar performance.  Congratulations to all of our teams on a job well done.

Meet the Pups

Golden Puppy Group 4 weeks

When we grow up, we want to be service dogs.

They have arrived!  The FSDS has been fortunate to secure a litter of beautiful purebred Golden Retriever pups for our upcoming CB class, set to start this Fall.  The pups in this photo are approximately 3 weeks old and have just opened their eyes.  These darling little furballs are starting to explore their world, and will be coming to live with their new trainers / recipients during the second week of Sept.  Stay tuned for more photos.

Call for Students

We are accepting applications for the new CB class.  If you are an individual in need of assistance who wishes to train a dog for your own needs, or a student who wishes to acquire skills as a trainer by training a dog for someone in need, please contact our lead instructor for more information.  The class is filing fast, and as always, preference is given to military veterans and first responders in need.

Under Construction

The FSDS has been hard at work to modernize all record keeping instruments and go paperless.  During the past month we have completed our work on:

  • Student practice logs
  • Attendance logs
  • Tracking student hours
  • Administration and tracking of all skills testing

The new system allows us to generate up to the minute reports on program metrics.  These numbers are used by the FSDS to monitor the progress of our programs and adjust as needed to improve the experience of our students.

Wellness Tip

With influenza season approaching for humans, we remind our readers that influenza can occur in dogs as well.  Unlike human influenza, which tends to be seasonal, canine influenza has no season and can occur year round.  This Fall while you are planning to receive your flu vaccine, we remind you to speak with your veterinarian about a flu vaccine for your dog.

Upcoming Events

October 18– presentation to the Sun City Best Friend Dog Club.

October 21 – Puppy Shower held by C.R. Bard, Inc. to provide gifts for our new puppies.

Photo Gallery

Golden Puppy 4 weeksduchess patryan and lady PATryan lady patsharon duchess patsharon duchess vesttim and zazu patAmanda_DougBrianna_ZazuDale_GusJosh_TroyLisette_SullyDSC_0023DSC_0026DSC_0028DSC_0029DSC_0032Syxx and MannyTroy and JoshLisette and SullyCGC Class Photo