Dec 022012

On December 1st, the FSDS held canine safety training on the campus of AAEC High School, home of our unique youth-based service dog training program. This training was available to students, community members, and first responders.

In our featured photo, FSDS Board member Wayne Svoboda, DVM, head of our Canine Safety Program (right in photo) works with MCSO Officer Howard Waldrep (left) and Smithfield Police Officer Frank Keepers (middle) to help them understand heart and breath sounds. The officers were granted free seats in our Basic and Advanced Life Support training as part of our community outreach. Providing life saving training to our officers and first responders ensures that trained hands are available to assist service dogs who may be injured in motor vehicle collisions and other incidents.

cn_kathe_aaec_studentsIn the photo at left, Board President and Animal EMT Kathe Neyer instructs our student trainers (left to right are Nia Dean, Brianna Sanchez and Tatyana Gonzalez) on advanced airway management of canines.

cn_kat_aaec_breathsoundsAt right, Kat Croteau, DVM and FSDS Canine Safety Instructor works with students Meagan Carr and Lisette Borja to help them identify heart and breath sounds, using our newly acquired simulator. Students in the FSDS service dog training program learn about canine safety, first aid, CPR and advanced skills as a part of their comprehensive educational curriculum.

Aug 172012

The FSDS is delighted to officially welcome our new class of students. These students all attend the Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center (AAEC) Estrella Mountain campus. All are concurrently enrolled in high school and college, and have expressed a desire to do something of lasting value to help make their community a better place.

From now, until May of 2014 these students will participate in the FSDS youth-based training program, as part of our cooperative Career and Technical Education partnership with AAEC high schools.

These 9 outstanding students are: Lizette Borja, Meagan Carr, Nia Dean, Tatyana Gonzalez, Seriani Jasper-Lluminiquinga, Devin Leavitt, Whitney Pulsipher, Brianna Sanchez and Dominique Sollazzo.

The first semester of the program is Introduction to Service dogs, and the students have begun the process of learning the ABC’s of training and learning to think like a dog. In the next couple of weeks the students will begin to learn about service dog laws as well as disability and public access issues. Canine safety will be next, as the FSDS does not grant dogs to any individual who has not successfully completed our Canine Safety Certification program.

Behind the scenes, our teachers are hard at work to begin the process of temperament testing and selection of the ideal dogs for our program. These dogs will be placed with our students as soon as they have completed their Orientation training. The FSDS carefully screens and prepares all prospective canine partici- pants, including temperament testing as well as veterinary care. All FSDS dogs, as a part of our initial screening and care are provided with spay/neuter, vaccinations, hip x-rays to rule out hip dysplasia, microchip, and preventive medications such as flea / tick and heartworm medications.

We are currently looking for some additional foster parents to care for the newly selected dogs until they are placed with our students. Individuals must be willing to complete the Canine Safety Certification. For more information contact us at:

Apr 212012

The Graduation ceremony for our 2012 class of service animals was held on April 21st at the Glendale Civic Center in downtown Glendale, AZ. We are pleased to report that the event was a huge success, thanks to the efforts of our student handlers, teaching staff and the support of so many in our community.

Once again, the FSDS is proud to report that we were able to award seven certified service dogs at no out of pocket cost to our recipients. It is our firm belief that individuals who have served their country and/or community in a manner that is above and beyond are entitled to receive assistance when needed. We remain committed to providing these services to these heroes.

During our ceremony, we were pleased to announce our new partnership agreement with the Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center (AAEC). AAEC is a college preparatory charter high school district, and together we will work to bring service dog training to high school students. The program will start on their Estrella Mountain campus and the plan is to expand this to other campuses in the coming years. AAEC currently has five beautiful campuses here in Arizona.

The FSDS program runs quite differently than other service dog training programs, who hire dog trainers, and simply train dogs for the donated monies that they receive. For the same money, the FSDS hires professional educators, who are required to receive certification as Career and Technical Education teachers through the Arizona Department of Education (ADE). We then provide education for youths that gives them marketable job skills and increases the number of trainers needed to meet the growing need for service dogs in our community while at the same time, partnering the students and recipients early in the process for a mentoring experience. It is worthy to note that our dogs are all rescued from the AZ Humane Society, providing loving homes for homeless and abandoned animals and pairing them with school children.

Our sincere thanks to all who donated to make our 2012 graduation a success: Sun City Armed Forces Support Group, Hills Pet Nutrition, PetSmart Charities, The Cheesecake Factory, Crop Girls, BHE Entertainment, Raspberry Field, Carl’s Jr., Brother Marines, AZ Rangers (Peoria Co.), For Those Without a Voice, Sundt Foundation, Albertson’s Community Partner Program, Kong, Nylabone, John Dawson Foundation, AZ Humane Society, KC Wright DVA at Apollo Animal Hospital, PACK Club, ASU Campus K9 Club, Alice Pendergast, Picture People Photography Studio (Arrowhead Mall), American Legion Post #61 Avondale and so many others too numerous to mention. Your support is appreciated.