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 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.
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.
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 am a newly matched team and love having a service dog. My gorgeous and brilliant yellow Lab Tessa has opened up my life again and given me the confidence to enjoy things to the fullest. I began training in November 2015 and was matched in June 2016. Thank you so much to all the dedicated Fidos volunteer trainers and staff. You do change lives every day.
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 had heard about Therapy Dogs, but when I retired I did a Google search and found Fidos For Freedom. That was almost 7 yeas ago. I had just retired and wanted to give back to the community and humanity, I never imagined I would find a second family and a feeling of accomplishment. Last year Trista and I did 75 visits, I teach a Therapy Dog class and I'm a case worker for service dog clients.I have made for ever friends and feel that I'm making the lives of others a little brighter. Trista loves the extra pets. Come join our family, furbabies are always welcome.
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.