Welcome to a new school year!
This past month we were excited to welcome new students into our training program. We have welcomed 4 new students to the Estrella Mountain class already in progress. On the newly started PV campus, we have welcomed a record number of 20 new students!
A message to our new students– Welcome to all of you! We hope that this experience will be rewarding for you. Service dog training is a lot of work, but is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. We want all of you to remember that though only 8 students from each class will be given a dog full time, every one of you will play a vital role in the training and can expect hands-on experience in acquiring service dog training skills. For those of you who do not receive a dog full-time, you will be partnered with a student who has, and for the next 18 months you will be the alternate handler. That includes practice time after school, public access work on field trips and puppy-sitting as needed. Remember that there will be times that the regular handler will not be able to keep a dog with them in class- and a good example of this will be classes such as chemistry lab. During those times, you will be responsible for having the dog with you. The importance of your contribution can not be understated. In the event that a dog will need to be re-homed, you will have the opportunity to be considered. Keep a “pawsitive” attitude and enjoy your time with us.
A message to our parents– First and foremost, thank you for raising these extraordinary students and for allowing us to be a part of their journey to become responsible adults. We value the input and participation of our parent group and look forward to you and your entire family taking part in this unique experience. Please know that at any time, if you have questions, you are welcome to contact us. Your son / daughter will be receiving hands-on training to allow them to become competent service dog trainers. As a part of this experience they will be expected to participate in some leadership experiences, which will mean an occasional weekend outing. Additionally, for those of you who are new this year, you can anticipate that they will be attending classes / field trips in the summer of 2016. This class runs for two academic years PLUS the intervening summer. Training can not stop for the summer. We currently have a wait list of very deserving individuals who have gone above and beyond to serve our community and nation. Please know that the work that your son/daughter, and your entire family put forth will forever change the lives of people in our community, in the best possible way. Welcome to the FSDS and enjoy the journey!
Estrella Mountain– What a tremendous first year these students have had, and as we begin the new year these students are concentrating on teaching service tasks to their dogs. They are currently working on “self help” skills – how to aid the recipient in getting the dog prepared to go out (putting gear on, grooming, etc.). Students are teaching their SDITs to put “paws up” when retrieving objects, and also make it easier for recipients one day to provide dental care. This is the last semester that the class will meet alone before being joined by the recipients in the Spring. We are confident that all are up to the task. This past summer students have been working hard on public access skills, getting their dogs accustomed to the sights and sounds of our community. This has included many field trips to shopping centers, museums, theaters and several rides on the light rail system. It is hard to imagine that these now articulate and outgoing students who are doing an amazing job of speaking with the public to educate them on SD issues, just one year ago were quiet and shy. We are pleased to welcome five new students to the class currently in progress:
- Benjamin Claustro
- Grace Gordon
- Amanda Van Asdall
Paradise Valley– This past month we started a new class on this campus, and as noted above we have the largest starting group ever. It is a real testament to the sort of interest that the students have displayed in the program, and the spirit of community involvement and good will that AAEC High School promotes for all of their students. The first litter of puppies was born early in August, and a second litter will be born any day now. The FSDS will select 8 puppies for the new PV class. The pups will join us when they are 8 weeks old. We will keep the photos coming. PV students are now at work on Orientation material. The FSDS requires that all students complete a comprehensive Orientation training prior to being considered to receive a puppy. This training will also include canine first aid and CPR certification. This past month, we have added an additional 10 students to the 18 students noted last month to our class and would like to formally welcome them:
- Ahtziri Aguillera
- Hailey Dahlstrom
- Andreja Donaldson
- Ashley Gabrielson
- Katelyn May
- Elizabeth Mayer
- Destinie Myhlhousen
- Brianna Nicolson
- Molly Shebek
- Milla Vasquez
Would you like to earn money for your school or group?
Did you know that according to statistics released by the American Pet Products Association for 2012 (last year available) approximately 65% of all U.S. homes own a pet, with dogs and cats being by far the most common type of pet owned. These statistics bring to light the importance of emergency preparedness and the relevance of training to care for these furry family members for all youths and adults.
The FSDS has launched a new initiative this year in an effort to bring canine safety training to our community. Each year in our community countless numbers of dogs and cats are injured or become ill from preventable causes. This effort will help to reduce suffering to our valued four-legged family members and promote leadership for youths. As a service dog foundation, we have also added a station on service dog information and special needs. This youth training initiative will permit youths to receive training for a much reduced fee of only $25, and then earn their Jr. Instructor certification. Those who train with us will be permitted to convert their Jr. Instructor to Sr. Instructor on their 18th birthday, and will be eligible for hire in our canine safety training program. This program is open to all students. The program will be run, under professional guidance, by students for students. The skills taught pertain to cats also.
From monies collected for the required class size of 20 students, any host school or organization can earn $100/class for their group per class. The FSDS uses trained and fingerprint cleared staff, with Sr. Instructors who have completed their Animal EMT training. If you are interested in learning how you can bring this valuable training to your location, contact the FSDS for more information.
Congratulations to Jaymie Cardin for passing her Animal EMT class with flying colors. Way to go!
Happy 18th birthday to Val Lugo, who recently joined the FSDS staff.
Sending get well wishes to military veteran George Rodenmeyer, who received his dog from the FSDS program in May of this year, and is recovering from open heart surgery.
Outreach Program to Expand Services
In 2008 the FSDS launched a one of a kind Outreach Program, permitting qualified trainers to administer our test to individuals in remote areas who were unable to access a formal training program. This effort was put in place to place credible certification within the grasp of teams who were privately trained and desired certification. Over the years, this program has continued to grow and has become very successful. In June of this year we made some dramatic improvements, standardizing the education for handlers of all of our teams, in-house or outreach. This past month, we have began a dialogue with a handful of exceptional trainers who have been successful Evaluators in our program. We wish to acknowledge the trainers who have stepped up to the plate to participate in a Steering Committee, which will explore additional steps to provide support to small independent trainers / business owners who wish to provide increased services to individuals in their region:
Toni Hyland: Salinas, CA – FSDS Evaluator since Nov. 2008. Toni is an independent trainer and a CGC Evaluator with many years of expertise in all areas of canine training.
Gail Kulur: Hillsborough, NJ- FSDS Evaluator since August 2009. Gail is the owner of “Make Sit Happen” training and brings many years of expertise in working with many breeds of dogs and training.
Tom Tackett: Orange, CA – FSDS Evaluator since December 2011. Tom is the owner of Tackett Service Dogs and specializes in dogs for individuals with autism and PTSD.
Nikki Esser: Orange, CA – FSDS Evaluator since January 2012. Nikki works for Tackett Service Dogs, and has recently begun her SD 101: Orientation training.
IMPORTANT SD 101 Notice to Students
Just a reminder that this class is the intellectual property of the FSDS, and as with any other online class, access is given to those who have paid for services. Dissemination of your access information is not permitted. We appreciate your efforts to help us maintain the integrity of our program.
Selecting safe toys is important for your dog. Exercise and play should be a fun time for you and your dog, but can turn deadly in an instant if your dog is provided with the wrong type of toy. As a general rule of thumb we remind our readers that:
- if a toy is small enough to be dropped through the center of a roll of toilet paper it is too small and can present a choking hazard
- plush toys should be avoided, the filling can be chewed out and if swallowed can cause intestinal obstruction
- toys with removable small parts are choking hazards
- toys with removable plastic squeakers are choking hazards
Wishing you happy and safe playtime together!
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.