I'm a new client. I just started my training a few weeks ago. The Fido's team has welcomed me with open arms and been very patient with me in my training. They treat me like family. And the dog training lessons on the floor is amazing! the staff considers absolutely every aspect of a person's life in their home or in the community. I feel like I'm always learning. I'm very excited to see where this journey takes me and I can't wait to complete my hours and be matched with my own dog. I'm so grateful that a program like this exists to help people like me live more independently.
My experience with Fidos has been beyond wonderful. They have been immeasurably supportive of my dream to start a service dog program at my college, and the community that I have found through this journey is one that I will hold onto forever. I cannot thank Fidos enough for their positivity and encouragement; I look forward to the growing future together!
My friend received a dog from Fidos a few years ago. He helps her with stuff like opening doors, picking up things, taking off shoes and jackets, and carrying things. He lays quietly under tables or beside her when we go out. He is so quiet that sometimes I forget he's there!
She also volunteers there. I really like seeing demos when several people show things their dogs do to help them and therapy dog owners talk about where they visit. Sometimes puppy raisers are there and talk about the puppy they have. It's fun when we get to pet the therapy dogs and puppies!
I've seen her life change after starting there and getting her dog. She goes out more and does more. I think Fidos is a great service dog and therapy dog organization!
When I first started at Fidos 2 years ago for a successor service dog I knew no one. When we first came into Fidos we were warmly greeted and after talking to Cara (who was client services at that time) I realized that I had found a place I could belong to. Because of my disorder which is progressive I never really fit in until we came to Fidos. So because of that after I got my service dog Buddy I am more confident and I am now volunteering for Fidos. It has been such a great experience even though there was good and bad mixed in. All in all I am so happy I came to Fidos because they really are a family
My wife is a client and from the first time we stepped foot into Fido's, we were greeted with a big friendly smile and were treated like family. This organization is full of awesome people (and dogs, of course) that really care about each other and work hard to provide service dogs for those who need them. I am so grateful for Fido's being a part of our lives!
My first experience with Fidos was attending a panel discussion and demonstration during National Disability Employment Awareness Month, where I was introduced to the world of service dogs and the selfless and caring folks that are the heart of the Fidos organization. I asked if they took volunteers. Two years later, I am a service dog trainer and act as client liasion (both volunteer positions). The work they do here is incredible; these folks and the wonderful dogs help clients to live fuller, more independent lives. I am honored and humbled to be accepted as part of the Fidos family and gladly give my time and efforts to their mission.
My best friend found her service dog, forever companion and best friend through Fido's. I just want to support all the good work they do for her and others. It's not just helping others find their partner; it's about the awareness they spread to the general public on invisible illnesses and disabilities.
I have been volunteering with Fidos For Freedom since 2011. My dog is a Therapy Dog, and it's been the most rewarding experience of my life. The volunteers are like a,second family. I always have to ask after a visit, "who got the most out of this visit...the dog, me, the clients we visited, the staff, visators, etc?" No way to know for sure.
Fidos service dogs are changing lives. For people with mobility issues the dog can literally open doors by hitting the handicap access, they can help them stand by bracing and providing a firm surface to push up on, etc. But the bond between the service dog and the client are life changing. Service dogs allow independence. Fidos is powered by volunteers and donations which makes a service dog affordable for those who need one.
My name is Jane Harford. I am a long term volunteer and client of Fidos For Freedom. I have been involved with the non profit since 2006. I have done just about everything within the organization. Then I applied to become a service dog client. This group does an incredible with training service/hearing/PTSD (Vet) teams. My service dog Annie and I graduated in 6/19. We have the wonderful training that has been developed by this group for over 30 years. Suffice it to say that Fidos does an incredible job with their service training program. It is one of the best in the country.
Thanks, Jane and Annie Harford
My name is Jane; I am a client with a service dog from Fidos For Freedom. I have also been a long term volunteer with this organization (since 2006). In my experiences with Fidos, I have always been extremely pleased with how I have been treated as a client and volunteer. My service dog Annie and I are still in our probationary period, but look forward to graduating next year at the 2019 Banquet and Graduation dinner. Annie is my rock; she is my mobility and balance dog. We do everything together; she has made my life much safer, less stressful and my ability to get around more independently easier. Without Annie by my side, I had been needing to use a cane to walk more than just a short distance. I could not get things up from the floor or maintain my balance at times when experiencing a bout of my chronic illness.
The volunteers, trainers, staff and all clients are like a big family. We support and celebrate each other's good happenings, cry at the sad things and love with all of our hearts. I am sure that I will be a part of the Fidos family for many years to come.
I am personally grateful to the folks running the group, the breeders and rescues that donate the dogs that we raise/train/place with clients like me. Annie is my best friend; I look forward to having her for many years to continue assisting me when and where needed.
We absolutely love this program and it has helped her with her fluency and confidence... it’s also helped her associate happy, positive feelings with reading ❤️❤️❤️
I tell everyone about the program and share photos of each time we go. If you had any idea how my daughter struggled with reading because of her learning and emotional challenges and you compared her before the program and now... you would not know it’s the same kid. Thank you so much for everything you guys do ❤️
Marcia, We are very happy to hear how much the DEAR Program has helped your daughter. Thanks for sharing the great picture and review!
I appr3eciate every thing that Fido's for Freedom has done for me! I am a client that is suffering from a rare brain disorder that causes my muscels to spasm. I was matched with Abbie , who is pictured , to help me do things that was becoming difficult for me, such as : taking my shoes off, picking up things that I have dropped, and getting my clothes out of my dresser droors, She has made a big diffrence in my life along with all the staff and clients I have been introduce to since 2014. I also would like to thank Samantha Bowman for the excellent training she accommplished with my service dog Abbie.
Fidos trained my beloved service dog and supported me every step of the way. My dog has given me back so much freedom and confidence. I would be lost without her help and skills as my partner throughout the day. She is a blessing and only possible because of the tireless work and dedication of all at Fidos for Freedom.
This is a highly motivated and very dedicated group of people. The training staff, from puppy raisers to the dog trainers work tirelessly to provide trained service dogs to clients who need help mitigating their disability. They are committed and passionate and their dogs do change lives every day. My service dog has opened my life back up in amazing ways, I enjoy daily activities more, I feel more confident and I depend on my partner to help me in many different ways. Thank you Fidos for helping me regain confidence.
I have continued to volunteer with Fidos for Freedom since 2007. Now I have my third and fourth Golden retriever as Therapy Dogs with this fantastic organization. I enjoy the fact that we are able to go to so many different facilities to bring joy to many people. We go to nursing homes, hospitals, elder care facilities, facilities for adults with special needs, schools and public libraries in the county.
Each of my visits means something personally to me. The nursing home we visit is the one in which my grandfather passed away. The hospital is where all of my family, including myself, have been patients. The schools and facilities for clients with special needs; because I taught special needs children swimming and physical education for 4 years as a teenage.
I have so many great experiences I can share with you, but just to name a few:
Having a gentleman, who can only say one word, pet your dog for the first time in 5 years is priceless. It took 5 years and he finally petted my dog. Another client in that same facility always asks where is my Tucker, who passed away in 2015. She will always remember my Golden as the first dog she petted 9 years ago. That is the joy of going to the same facility each month, each year.
I have volunteered at Fidos for Freedom since 2007. As a therapy dog handler I have witnessed the joy that therapy dogs bring to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools .
On one evening in a local hospital in the mental health ward, my 2 golden retrievers did a trick in which one jumped over the back of the other. Everyone in the room clapped. A patient said to me, "The entire atmosphere of the room was up-lifted!"
Several years ago Fidos for Freedom received a special request from a hospital to fulfill the dying wish of a 12 year-old boy who was dying of cancer to pet a dog. A friend and her Border collie and I with my Golden drove to Baltimore to let the little boy pet our dogs. The parents and family were so grateful. The nurse told us that the little boy would not survive the night and that she was so thankful that we were able to come when she called.
Recently two high school students approached me to let me know that they read to my Golden retrievers when they were in elementary school as part of the DEAR program. (Dogs Educating and Assisting Reading). The dogs made a lasting impression on these students, one of which is now a junior dog handler at Fidos for Freedom.
These are only a few examples that demonstrate how our therapy dogs have bought joy and comfort to children, students, nursing home patients, wounded warriors and seniors in assisted living facilities.
As a volunteer I have enormous respect for the excellent Service dog training and ongoing support of the matched teams as well as the therapy dog training and the multiple therapy dog activities bringing joy to young and old across the area. This is a great little organization filling an important need with loving thought and knowledge. Nan Marks
They're great! They do so much for the disabled community. The trainers are all volunteers and put years into creating great service dogs! They have a huge therapy dog program with over 100 teams. So many volunteers freely donate their time and dogs to bring smiles to people in the DMV area!
Fidos for Freedom is a great organization that makes a tremendous difference in the DC/ Baltimore region. There mission of helping people with disabilities gain independence with a service dog hha changed my life personally. They have an army of therapy dog teams that bring comfort to thousands every year.
Fidos matched me with my mobility assistance dog, Nala, in 2014 and gave me back my independence. I can’t imagine life without Nala or the wonderful support that I still receive from my Fidos family.
I was matched with my service dog, Nala, on November 1, 2014. I could have never prepared for all of the ways that it has changed my life. Living with an invisible disability can be not only physically painful but socially isolating. It is easy to withdraw into yourself when you are trying to manage an illness that people can't see. I was diagnosed with gastroparesis and POTS when I was in high school. These illnesses cause me to have periods of extreme abdominal pain, bloating, fatigue, and dizziness. For years, I struggled to be independent while managing these symptoms. As I got older, I found myself relying on my parents more and more as my symptoms progressed. I love my parents dearly and am beyond appreciative for their help but I needed to find a way to restore my independence and my confidence. That's when I found Fidos for Freedom, Inc.
Nala has allowed me to be independent again and helps me by performing tasks to help me mitigate the effects of my disability. At the end of the day, I become so bloated that moving, especially bending over, is very uncomfortable. Now I have Nala to help me take off my clothes and to retrieve my pajamas for me. I get periods of terrible abdominal pain and for years I would have to find a way to get myself into a comfortable position with a heating pad. Now I have Nala to brace me into a sitting position and to put her head on my stomach to act as a heating pad no matter where we are. I also tend to get very dizzy and fatigued at intervals during the day. Now I have Nala to help me balance and walk safely. For years, I never took an elevator because I would always be too dizzy by the time I got off of the elevator to walk. I finally took an elevator again for the first time with Nala by my side. Being able to ride an elevator again is such a small thing but it opens up a big world of possibilities for me that I thought had been lost when I got sick.
Not only does Nala help me physically, but she helps me to be more open socially. I have met so many new people through Nala and I really enjoy sharing with other people about our partnership and my illness. Nala puts a smile on the face of everyone she meets and brings out the best in them. The joy that she spreads is contagious and the unconditional love that she shows myself and others is inspiring. I am happier and more confident than I've ever been with Nala by my side. In addition, because of our bond and the wonderful people and dogs that I have met through Fidos for Freedom, Inc., I no longer feel isolated with my illness. I have gained not just a wonderful service dog but also a wonderful support system as well. I'm looking forward to all that the future holds and to experiencing it with Nala by my side!
I love Fidos! A nonprofit that has a large staff of dedicated volunteers that train and provide service dogs and hearing dogs to people with disabilities. I am fortunate to have been placed with a Fidos trained service dog to assist me with my needs.
This is an amazing nonprofit which is changing the lives of their clients.
I love Fidos For Freedom, Inc!
I first found out about Fidos around 1994. My dog and I started by being tested to become a therapy team. We visited a nursing home on a regular basis, but the thing my dog loved best was being part of the disAbility Awareness Project (dAp) in the Howard County schools. Fidos was part of that program for 20 years, and we spent most Fridays teaching kids about living with disabilities, and what assistance dogs and therapy dogs did for people.
As much as I loved visiting people and sharing my dog with them as part of the therapy dog program at Fidos, I think my favorite thing about Fidos is the assistance dog program. After I'd been a volunteer for several years, I began to get involved with training the assistance dog puppies. This also gave me an opportunity to get to know the clients who came to Fidos to get matched with an assistance dog.
I loved getting to know each new client, and learn how a dog could improve their lives. I especially loved watching the teams grow. The difference an assistance dog can make in a person's life is incredible. Watching a person become more independent, more outgoing, more interactive with their own world.... There are no words to describe the impact a dog can have.
The volunteers at Fidos put an incredible amount of time and energy into making this magic happen. I spent 20 years as an active volunteer before moving out of state. It's been 5 years, and I still make trips back just to visit!
Until I moved out of the area, I was a volunteer with Fidos for Freedom, Inc. for nearly 20 years. The Hearing Dogs and Service Dogs they train and match with people with disabilities are fantastic and really change lives. The volunteers who take their own personal pets to visit facilities as Therapy Dogs are priceless, and the dogs make such a difference to the people they interact with. I've seen people transform in truly amazing way after being partnered with a Fidos Assistance Dog. People who have gained confidence and strength, both physical and emotional; people who have completed tasks they might never have begun; and the impact the Therapy Dogs have had is immeasurable. All of this with a mostly volunteer work force.
I am a volunteer with Fidos for Freedom, and have been for many years. It's a place where I get to work with other dedicated people who love people, and have a heart for the mission to improve the quality of life for others through the use of specially trained dogs.
The opportunity to see the results of our programs personally and directly is so very rewarding, and I think I will volunteer with Fidos for Freedom for years to come.
My son Mark passed away this past June. He was matched with his service dog Monty in October 2012. Because of this incredible organization, Mark last years on the earth were indescribably wonderful. Monty not only helped him physically (picking up, fetching, helping him with undressing to name a few), but more importantly emotionally. In a Voice of America interview he called Monty his savior. I still have a part of Mark because of Monty. Supporting this organization is giving another person the life saving gift given to Mark.
My son was matched with his service dog about a year and a half ago. His life has been immeasurably improved by this organization and their incredible work. Everyone that we have met at this organization has a laser focus on helping individuals with disabilities to improve their lives. They are selfless, dedicated volunteers who go way above and beyond in their work. And they do this with love and humor and you become a part of their family. I have never been a part of any organization that works so hard to improve the lives of others. If I could I would volunteer all my time helping them in any way possible.
I received a wonderful dogs from Fido's who helps me be more independent in my everyday living. He picks up things I've dropped, he opens doors, he takes off my socks and shoes and many more tasks. Fido's is my family and they helped me get back on my feet again.
We loved being part of the Fidos family. They care, they train amazing dogs and their first priority is the welfare of the dogs they place. Their ongoing assistance to matched partners is amazing. They truly become family.
I have recently been matched with my service dog Annie. We will be ready to work out in public in the next month or so. She will assist me with balance, side affects from three gastrointestinal disabilities, retrieve items, open doors, fetch laundry and grocery items. Annie is going to be a lifesaver for me.
Fidos training program is a very hands on approach to learning specific skills for your needs. I can't imagine moving forward without Annie in my life. She will change how I am able to stay at work after having painful gastro attacks. She will also do deep pressure therapy, like being a doggy heating pad.
I can't thank Fidos enough for help in giving me more of my life back.
I am no longer afraid to go by myself since I have been with my great hearing dogs from Fidos!!
As a client of this organization they have helped me more than I ever thought possible. I have a hearing dog that now helps me get places on time, not burn my dinner lets me know when people are calling my name. Life is Good
Fidos got a call from a mother whose 13 year old daughter had to have back surgery. She told us the girl was in a lot of pain without her medications. She asked us to send a couple of therapy dogs over to see her as she loved dogs. The morning of our arrival she didn't take her medication so that she would be awake. i took my sheltie "Taz" and another person took her small dog "Trista". The girl sat on the couch and we put one dog on either side of her sitting right next to her. The dogs layed there for an hour and a half while she petted them. Fidos got a call from her mother later and informed us that when the little girl went to sleep after we left, that she went to sleep and did't need pain medication. This shows what a great thing that therapy dogs do with helping reduce stress. made a true believer of me. Fidos For Freedom does a great job with a lot of other causes as well. Proud to be part of such a great organization
Well, I wanted to say about this non profits for Fido's for Freedom.. they rock my world again.. They help me with Lily to match with me for all these years.. we been together for a long time.. almost 10 years.. She is my rock star and i love her to pieces!! Love you Lily! Thank you so much Fido's for Freedom!!
When I retired over five years ago, I was looking for an opportunity to volunteer with my dog. I found Fidos For Freedom online and from the first time I walked into the facility, I felt like I'd found a new family. My dog and I love going on Therapy Dog visits. I've often said I don't know who gets the most out of our visits: the dog, the clients we visit or me. People are so thankful that you've taken the time to come to visit them. Over the years I have been asked to accept extra jobs, and I've happily done so. I now work with several Service Dog clients, teach a Therapy Dog class, etc. The volunteers at Fidos are the kindest, most dedicated people I know.
I am a long term volunteer at Fidos. Over the past 10 years, I have been a puppy raiser, on the board of directors, trained dogs through the prison program and been a dogless handler. The gifts of friendship and self worth I have received through out this time have been awesome. I am now in a different role-that of a client in training. I made a decision that I could live my life better with the assistance of a service dog a year ago. I am now learning all of the things that clients have been learning at Fidos for nearly 30 years. This is going to be a huge positive change in my life. The training that I am getting is done by volunteers (such as myself) who want to give back in some way. It is a rewarding, fulfilling and thoughtful agency that cares about the clients and dogs alike. You are with them for life. I find that these are not just words, but true actions. I cannot do anything but heap praise on this organization.
Since I started volunteering with Fidos for Freedom I have been impressed with the dedication of all involved. Therapy dog teams make numerous visits to hospitals, nursing homes, schools for special need students, family support centers. Other volunteers train assistance dogs to help clients live independently more easily. It is amazing to see a hearing dog direct its client to someone calling the client's name. Another service dog can pick up keys and retrieve items for a mobility impaired person. Or another dog provide a comfort zone for a vet with PTSD. Different clients with different needs met by assistance dogs individually trained to meet those needs. Truly an amazing group of volunteers and an amazing organization.
Love Fidos for Freedom. Great service dog program. They really care about the dogs and the clients. They are there for the life of the team. Fidos also has a wonderful therapy dog program with volunteers and their personal dogs visiting hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities to share their dogs with the patients and residents on a regular basis.
I joined Fidos as a volunteer 20 years ago. At that time I had two retired racing Greyhounds and both my dogs and I joined Fidos Therapy dog program and visited hospitals and nursing homes. After several years of enjoying the therapy dog work I learned how to task train the puppies and young dogs that would eventually become assistance dogs to help either a person with a hearing loss or a person with a physical disability. This turned out to be the most rewarding experience I have ever encountered. Fidos is like a family. They really care about the dogs and the people. We have a great support system, not only for the volunteers but for the clients that Fidos serves. I can speak from experience since several years ago, I gave up my role as a full-time trainer to become a Fidos client who received a Fidos service dog to assist me with my day-to-day activities. Even after the dogs go home with the clients, if there is ever a training problem, Fidos policy is that we will always be there to help the team!
From the moment I met the people at Fidos, I knew this was a place I wanted to volunteer with my dog. I wanted to bring my crazy canine into the Therapy Dog fold because he was made up of love, happiness and hope. My mother died of complications from Alzheimers so I wanted to help out a group composed of others with forms of dementia. I am a vet so I wanted to try and participate in the Wounded Warriors program and visit those at Walter Reed and Andrews. Finally, I love kids. They are our future so if I could visit those in a hospital, my desires would be fulfilled. After a rigorous test and four weeks of additional training, my dog and I are ready to go out and greet the world! This marvelous group of people are committed to providing exceptional service in all areas to handlers, those in need and the dogs they train. I am very proud to be part of Fidos for Freedom and I look forward to many years of service on their behalf.
An 8-week old Labrador puppy wriggles in anticipation behind a chain link fence with her littermates. She's a bundle of energy and love. Some puppies will become a family's pet. Others might become a companion for an empty nester couple. But there are a few special puppies that have what it takes to become an ADI certified assistance dog.
The trainer picks up the Lab puppy and brings her into a big room with toys, strange noises, upside-down umbrellas, and so many other new things. The trainer studies the puppy to see if she has the right attitude to become a service dog some day. A dog dedicated to serving her client with total devotion. A dog that enables her client's life in ways big and small. The trainer watches the puppy intently, trying to envision the spirit of the full grown dog. The puppy is cusrious and attracted to new things. The trainer decides.
Flash forward about 2 years and that same puppy is now matched with her client. The dog and the client are a brand new "team". The client now has a new helper and a life-long friend. The puppy is now a confident, well-trained and dedicated service dog. Ready to do whatever is asked of her by her client.
Officially, Fidos for Freedom is an all-volunteer organization that provides trained service dogs for people with disabilities. Fidos does change the lives of their clients. Unofficially, Fidos also helps puppies become the best dog that they can be, confident, ready for the world and dedicated to service.
This partnership of incredibly dedicated volunteers, beautifully trained dogs and very generous donors has created something very special in the Baltimore-Washington corridor -- an organization that serves those across a wide spectrum of needs. Best of all, it does it aty a very minimal expense. This is very impressive organization!
In my three years as a volunteer at Fidos for Freedom, I have had a college-level education in the lives of people with disabilities, service dogs and therapy dogs, and as importantly, in the wonderful people who dedicate their precious time to support this community. That short volunteer time frame has been enough for me to watch a puppy evolve from a fuzzy ball into a fully-functioning service dog to a wheelchair bound client. I've also been moved as an experienced assist dog "transfers" and recovers from the passing of their original client, and begins to beautifully serve a new client. Needless to say, that sort of output from one's volunteer investment warms any heart.
To me, the most fascinating aspect of this organization is that, unlike many similar organizations, Fidos only charges a modest fee to its clients, as opposed to tens of thousands of dollars that some others charge We are able to do this as a result of a very engaged and generous community, and some equally generous breeders.
Being a healthcare professional, I am also impressed with the response of patients to our therapy dogs. As the literature around pets and health continues to expand, the value of this service, wherein we sent teams of therapy dogs to hospitals, nursing homes, college campuses and other situations, increases rapidly. These, too, are all volunteers, dedicated to improving the lives of those in need.
I am honored to be associated with Fidos for Freedom!
I volunteer here and see first hand the wonderful things they do for people that need a service dog. The therapy dog program is wonderful - bringing smiles and love to children and people that are in hospitals, nursing homes,children's hospital especially, is all you need to see to understand how much joy Fido's brings to people.