Every now and then you come across an agency that truly is trying to change the individual worlds of the people that they affect. At Fido’s For Freedom there is a universe of caring, compassionate volunteers whose only goal is to make those that have challenges in the world because of their limitations, just a little bit better by selecting, loving, training dogs for people in need. Thank you, Fido’s For Freedom!❤️
Fidos for Freedom is simply one of the most amazing nonprofit organizations I have ever encountered. As a training facility where volunteers bring together clients and service dogs-in-training to gain skills in partnering, it is exciting; as a center for a dedicated group of therapy dog teams, who provide comfort, education, and enrichment to people of all ages around the area, it is vital; and as a program in which clients with challenges related to mobility, hearing, or PTSD can team up with a dog whose loving companionship and service greatly improves their quality of life--well, that makes it miraculous. In working with Fidos as a volunteer trainer and therapy dog handler, I have seen that there is no greater reward than watching a therapy dog patiently interact with a disabled child, or than coaching an eager service dog to perform a task that would have been difficult for his human partner. Fidos truly does make a difference.
Gail C., proud Fidos volunteer
This is a wonderful organization. The volunteers and staff are dedicated to the mission of the organization which is to increase the quality of life and provide companionship to the local community through specially trained service dogs and therapy dogs.
Thanks for being one of those volunteers who is pivotal in helping us reach that mission ❤
Stellar organization! Top notch service to clients! Knowledgeable and dedicated volunteer staff. Highly recommend.
Thank you for your review! We are glad that you feel so highly of us. ❤
As a volunteer who is a Board Member, a Junior Fidos Program Coordinator, and a Handler of two certified Therapy Dogs, I can tell you that the impact of Fidos For Freedom within the community is unparalleled. It is a wonderful organization filled with committed and hard-working individuals. Whether it is visiting hospitals or the Ronald McDonald House, going to libraries for our Dogs Educating and Assisting Reading Program, visiting nursing homes or doing demonstrations, enhancing the quality of life for people in the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan area by providing specially trained hearing dogs, service dogs, combat-related PTSD dogs, and therapy dogs is our mission and we are committed to making it happen. As a non-profit, now more than ever, we need everyone's support so that we can continue to increase the quality of life and provide companionship to the residents of our local community through our specially trained service dogs, hearing dogs and therapy dogs. Please visit our website fidosforfreedom.com to learn more about us, to donate, or to volunteer.
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.
Gayle, We appreciate everything you do for Fidos. You've been a large part of our success. Thank you
In March 2020, I received my second service dog from Fidos. (My first service now dog happily enjoys his retirement plan...relaxing at home while the puppy has fun working:-))
The trainers made another perfect match! My new dog is also a beautiful, intelligent boy with loads of energy. Surprisingly, both, from a young age, have been content to chill on days when I need to rest.
The pandemic may have stopped some things, but Fidos is dedicated to continuing to change people's lives. There have been other clients and dogs matched after me, weekly virtual and socially distanced training sessions, weekly virtual client support meetings, a webinar on dog seatbelt safety, a virtual fundraiser, virtual graduation, and of course the puppy raisers and trainers continue to raise and train the future service dogs. (There are so many amazing volunteers donating their time that I'm sure there's much more happening that I don't know of.)
When I made the decision to apply to Fidos to get a service dog 9 years ago, I thought I would get a service dog to help me with things I have difficulty doing. I had no idea that I would be gaining so many wonderful blessings. Not only have I received the 2 best service dogs ever, but I've also received weekly training whenever I wanted to attend, volunteer and networking opportunities, knowledge, and support. I've developed friendships with other clients, trainers, therapy dog handlers, puppy raisers, and their families. Some of whom, are among my closest friends. I've also received love....from the dogs and the people. These are people I trust and can count on. They are like family.
Fidos' motto, "The Heart of Fidos Changes Lives" is 100% true!
We are happy you have found a family with Fidos and made us "home". I hope this relationship continues for years to come.
I joined the Fidos For Freedom therapy dog program twelve years ago and could never have predicted all the wonderful ways my life would be better for it. Bringing my dog out on therapy visits is definitely rewarding, but the best part of Fidos are the people in the organization. I have my third dog in the program now and have made deep, lasting friendships with the most caring and compassionate people.
Thank you for investing twelve years and three dogs into Fidos. Volunteers like you are what make us great!
I been with Fido's for Freedom since 2007 and I had Lily for 10 1/2 years till 2018 when she passed away.. Then I got match with Wrigley in 2018 on Dec 12, 2018 and Fido's change my life and Wrigley change me to a better person.. Fido's change us to be a better people and Wrigley is a wonderful hearing/service dog.. she is a wonderful service dog and she help me with my daily basic.. We will be graduated this month Sept 25th.. I wanted to say Thanks to Trainers, puppy raisers, family and friend all the supports.. thank you so much for your love and supports we got from Fido's.. Thank you for everything you have done for all of us who needed for service dogs.. Fido's get a "10" or higher... Thank you so much!
Carrie, Thanks for all you do for Fidos.
I been matched with Lily since 2007.. and We been working together for over 9 years and still happy working together.. She is great Hearing/Service dog! So proud to be in Fido's for Freedom and proud to be a client! Fido's ROCKS!!!!!!!!!
Fidos For Freedom is changing the lives of disabled people in the DC Metro Area. Several years ago it became apparent that I was going to need help doing tasks that normal people take for granted. After coming to Fidos For Freedom and training with all of their dogs. I was ultimately matched with an amazing chocolate lab named Grant. Grant is now my partner in crime, going everywhere with me and opening doors that I thought were closed by my disability.
JDR, Because of the work you do for us, together, you and Grant are helping open doors to others with disabilities.
I am a long term volunteer and client of Fidos. The agency is well managed, runs like a well oiled machine and really depends on the volunteers to help run it. As for the service dog training, it is second to none....I have had my service dog Annie for 3 years now and we can always come back for training if needed. The group is also like my 2nd family....I can depend on the folks here to be supportive of my needs during good and bad times. I fully and wholeheartedly feel that this non profit should be rated a 5. I rate it as a 10!
Jane and Annie Harford
Jane and Annie, We rate you as a 10 too! Thank you for the wonderful words and your many years of service.
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 Delaney, I am a client at Fidos For Freedom and have been for 5+ years now. Fidos is a wonderful amazing group who are not only genuine and honest with their clients but also meticulously thorough with the dogs as far ensuring their abilities, their safety/health, and making sure that as ownership of said dog is transferred, their new owner handler understands the gravity of those concepts as well.
Delaney, The two of you are great ambassadors for Fidos and service dog teams everywhere. Thank you for your support.
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!
Shannon, What you have done at Washington College is amazing! We can't thank you, Jared, and the other officers enough for laying the foundation and all of your hard work. I see a great future for the puppy raising program at WC. All because you had a vision of what could be and acted to make it happen ❤
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!
ImJustMe, Thank you for taking the time to share this from a different perspective. It's nice to hear that people in the public understand how much a service dog means to its human partner.
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'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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
My dog Lily and I were volunteers at Fidos for years until this year when Lily retired from her therapy dog duties. We participated in the DEAR (Dogs Educating and Assisting Readers) at a local elementary school for 5 years. This was such a wonderful experience for us and for the children we helped get to their grade level in reading.
Fidos is a great organization supporting the community with service dogs and therapy dogs. Please give if you can to support their mission.
Fidos for Freedom positively changes the lives of persons with disabilities and all of the volunteers who work so hard for the organization. They make a lasting difference!
I have been with Fidos for a little over 3 years. I came to the organization to receive a mobility, service dog. I didn't realize that I would be gaining so much more.
I very quickly felt that both the clients and trainers cared about me as a person as well as a client. There is a definite family atmosphere at Fidos! I have developed some amazing friendships that will last a lifetime. In many organizations, it is difficult to find people who care as much as my friends at Fidos, but any time I've needed anything, summertime is there.
Because they care, the volunteers put an incredible amount of time and energy into their work there. Most have full time jobs and families, but still give us their all.
I've been matched with my dog, Tank, since February 2012. Since then, my life has changed immensely! I am able to live on my own and go out alone because Tank is there to help me. I'm back in college, taking a class, coaching a basketball team, volunteering at church, and other things I haven't been able to do in years.
I now volunteer wherever I can at Fidos so I can help others the same way I have been helped by others. I owe my independence and increased confidence to my Fidos For Freedom family!
I am a client with mobility impairments. When I applied for a service dog through Fidos for Freedom, I had no idea how much my life would change. Not only does my dog, Tank, assist me in areas of my every day life, he has given me gives me the confidence to go out into the world more often. With Tank, I know that if I need assistance, he is there to give it. We've only been together for 6 months and each day, I learn a little more about him and the ways he can help me continue to be independent. I will forever be thankful to the volunteers at Fidos for all they have done and continue to do for me and the other the clients of their various programs.
I have been a volunteer with Fidos For Freedom for more than 13 years. At first, I thought it was all about the dogs, but I have come to understand that it is really about the people.
The people in hospitals, nursing homes, and health care settings who are lonely or in pain or afraid - Fidos Therapy Dogs visit them and bring the affection and companionship that only a dog can give.
People with disabilities or hearing loss who simply desire a freer, more independent life - Fidos Assistance Dogs bring them all this and more; research indicates that having an assistance dog increases social attraction from other human beings - thus reducing the social isolation that many people with disabilties are subjected to.
The people who freely give their time, their treasure, and their talent - to help small cute puppies become the indispensable life partners they will someday be. The careful breeders who donate one of their special pups to become such a dog out of an abundance of love for their breed and a desire to do good in this world. The people who rescue puppies and understand that it is a very special dog that is now unwanted but can become the most important dog in the world for a person with a disability or hearing loss.
The people who shepherd new clients through the process to become an assistance dog team or who share their lessons, good and bad, about how to be the best assistance dog partner you can be. And of course, the clients themselves. Fidos clients have taught me so much about the resilience of the human spirit, about the importance of never giving up in the face of disease or disability; and about the importance of community.
I am so privileged to be associated with this community, Fidos For Freedom.
I began as a Fidos volunteer in 2001. I started because my daughter wanted to be a part of Fidos Junior Volunteer program. The more I saw of Fidos, and the more I learned about its mission, the more impressed and intrigued I was. That mission is to make a difference in peoples' lives in the Baltimore Washingtion area through hearing dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs. I saw how dedicated volunteers made a positive impact in the lives of people with disabilities - not because they were paid to do so, but because they wanted to make a difference in this world. So I began to do more. I got involved with the Fidos Therapy Dog Program - Fidos volunteers take their personal pets to nursing homes, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities to bring residents and patients the affection and companionship that only a dog can give. My Pomeranian Mischief was a favorite of people who like little dogs! My next big leap was to join the Fidos Training Department and take a puppy or assistance dog in training into my home and heart. I have either puppy raised or trained at least 10 Fidos assistance dogs! And I became a member of the Board of Directors as another way to share my skills and talents with this organization and the amazing people who are a part of it. What we do still stirs my heart after 11 years - I feel so privileged to be a part of it!
When I started losing my hearing, I found Fidos for a Freedom. They gave me a hearing dog. They care a great deal about the clients and dogs. My life was changed for the better when they gave me Alice. the organization is run by an awesome group of people. They have an incredible therapy dog program and participate in the DEAR program. Grest organisation and I highly recommend them.
Wonderful volunteers, great dogs. constant in the community for >25 yrs . Clients treated as part of family and offered support before, during and after placement of assistance dog. Therapy Dogs visit community and love everyone.
Fidos is a wonderful volunteer organization.I have been a volunteer for over 11years and have participated in most of their programs in some roll. The people I have met are genuinely dedicated to their mission and spend countless hours working with dogs, clients and the general public, all to improve someone's life with these special dogs. My favorite comments from audience members after watching a demonstrationn were "the dogs never barked and all got along with each other, and did exactly what you wanted !! Do you drug them??? " Of course NOT, these dogs prove that love and consistant good training make dogs a valued member of the society whether working for a disabled client or cheering a lonely widow in a nursing center.
Fidos For Freedom gave me independence. Having invisible disabilities meant that people could not tell by looking at me that I was deaf and had a balance disorder. I had trouble coping at work and rarely left the house for anything other than "must have" errands. After being matched with a hearing/balance assist dog named Chloe, I am no independent again. I can run errands, work, and I went back to school and am completing my doctorate. More importantly I found a "family". The trainers love people AND dogs, and work hard to make sure each match is successful. The volunteers and clients are all "community minded" and work hard to make a difference in the lives of others. Fidos For Freedom has made a permanent impact on my life.
I never dreamed a specially trained assistance dog would do more than alert me to the sounds I could not hear and help me with balance related tasks. Quite frankly, the decision to partner with an assistance dog changed my life dramatically. I'm working again and no longer isolate myself at home as I have an independence and self-confidence to do all the things I felt I could no longer do. Fidos For Freedom, Inc., takes pride in being an ADI organization and I have felt like a valued member of the organization as now - a veteran client. Fidos For Freedom has served to better the lives of people in the Baltimore-Washington area for many years. I'm very excited to be a part of this wonderful organization.
My husband and I started volunteering for Fidos For Freedom about 6 years ago. We had, to begin with, 2 standard poodles with marvelous temperments that we thought would make great therapy dogs. I also had a dream for my male standard to be able to breed and donate puppies back to Fidos to be trained as service dogs. So far, one of the puppies is almost ready to be matched with a client, 2 are at the Federal prison, and the 2 puppies are with puppy raisers. We remain so thankful to Fidos For Freedom's trainers, puppy raisers, therapy dog program, and all the wonderful dedicated volunteers, who make lives of those they touch so much better.
I have been a volunteer with Fidos for almost 3 years and am working with my second therapy dog. The are a wonderful caring group that provides service dogs for little money and our visits to hospitals and care facilities are wonderful. A great organization.
Fidos for Freedom uses our church to help train the dogs by bringing them to our worship services to get them accustomed to large crowds. As a pastor in the church, I think the dogs are more observant during the sermon than the people are! These dogs are lovingly trained, and their trainers demonstrate love for people in need by training them. This is an excellent group of people!
Terrific group providing service dogs to those in need at no cost. It's easy to see how many hearts this group has touched by simply visiting them once. Their vast team of volunteers is well organized, talented and committed. They are truly a special group.
My cousin, Sharon Tucker was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Our family witnessed the strength and grace that Sharon demonstrated, even while she slowly lost her independence. She was pro-active and sought out Fidos for Freedom, Inc. I accompanied Sharon on some of her training classes where she learned how to work with these wonderfully trained dogs. I saw how she not only re-gained some independence, I saw her engaging with the trainers, other members and the dogs. She learned how to work with her dog, Tommy to do so many physical and social activities. More than anything else, I saw my cousin laughing, smiling, telling jokes, supporting others and developing a supportive circle of friends. Sharon is able to participate in all kinds of family and social activities because of Fidos for Freedom. Instead of despair, solitude and withdrawal from life, I saw the exact opposite. Sharon, my "big sister," mentor and best friend continues to enjoy her life because of the amazing work with Fidos for Freedom. I am so proud of her and so grateful to Fidos for Freedom for assisting her and our family through this most difficult journey; to freedom and independence with dignity. Linda D. Holland, LCSW
Review from Guidestar
I have been involved with the organization since 2001 after the rest of my family got involved in various capacities from being a Jr Volunteer to the Jr Coordinator and Board Member. I can say from the office staff, to all the trainers, and all the volunteers are some of the best, and most devoted I've seen. It is amazing to see the effect a trained service dog has on the life of somebody who needs one. I'm proud to be a volunteer for them.
I have been a client at Fidos since the 90's (that is a long time). I have received two hearing dogs from this organization that has become my family. If it was not for this great non-profit I would not be living independent and would be afraid to do things on my own. I have been proud to represent them both locally and nationally.
Review from Guidestar
I have been working with this prganization since it's inception. My office provides veterinary care for ALL of the working Dogs and Therapy Dogs. For 20 years every person involved in the organization has been dedicted to raising and training these dogs for people w various disabilities, from complete paralysis to hearing disorders to seizures and more. The amount of time and effort that these voluteers put in is AMAZING TO ME.As a Veterinary Professional, there has never been a time when an animal either in their ownership or in their training has not been brought in as soon as any problem has been suspected. We have been able to p[ractice the highest quality of medicine without any interference from anyone involved with the group.I will give my full support ot Fidos For Freedom for as long as I practive Veterinary Medicine and after that, hopefully I will be able to donate my time to help foster and train dogs. Dr. Bob A Cohn and Dr. Kristine Covert of The North Laurel Animal Hospital
I am an adjunct professor at Coppin State University. I asked Sharon Tucker and Tommy to come speak to my class about the importance of service animals and organizations like Fidos For Freedom, Inc. The student were engaged and curious about Tommy's skills. They also gained an important insight regarding facility accessibility. I look forward to inviting Sharon and Tommy to my class each semester.
Review from Guidestar
I currently serve as a puppy raiser for FIDOS. It's a tremendous community! I raise and socialize a puppy for 9-12 months and then release it back into the program for its formal training. I have volunteered in a variety of non-profits, but this experience by far has been one of the best.
Review from Guidestar
I learned about Fidos 2 1/2 years ago. Since I do not have a dog, I didn't know how I could help. But as a "dogless handler", I go on visits to Hospitals and Nursing Homes with other volunteers who have more than one dog. Seeing the smiling faces of patients, especially children, is so heart warming. Many times it is hard to get to the patients because the staff and visitors want to pet the dogs; they are important too. Therapy dogs are just one aspect of Fidos. Providing service dogs to help the dependent become independent is inspiring. And a number of these people are young, even 20's, and so happy with their service dogs.
"I can't" is turned to "I CAN!" with the help of Fidos for Freedom! People whose lives are forever changed with the help of dogs can enjoy an independence that may have been squelched by physical limitations and a lack of confidence in their own abilities. Having an assistance/hearing dog opens doors literally and figuratively. Fidos volunteers come together to train champion teams who face daily hurdles. I find Fidos volunteers to be caring folk from all walks of life, giving of their hearts and talents and time to give others a hand up! I trained several assistance and hearing dogs for Fidos and have a true love and respect for the working dogs, the clients who put their all into preparing for life with a service dog, and a special regard for the many volunteers who are party to making the quality of life better for persons with disabilities. Learn more...call Fidos for Freedom for help...or to volunteer!
I have been a volunteeer with Fidos since 2001, when I was a freshman in high school. I started out as a junior volunteer in order to get my community service hours required for high school. I thought it would be a fun way to get my hours and be able to hang out around dogs- little did I know that it would suck me in and keep me around for more than 10 years. My junior year I became one of 2 juniors selected to raise a puppy for the assistance dog training program. After having him for a year I then raised another puppy, and then recruited my dad to take over the responsibility when I left for college. Over the past 8 years I have taken part of raising and/or training at least 6+ dogs between breaks from college and grad school. I also volunteered as an assistant to the Director of Client Services to ensure the clients' process through the training program went smoothly and efficiently. The most rewarding part of volunteering with Fidos is being able to see first hand the differences these dogs make on peoples' lives, and the knowledge that I to have been able to help people in ways I may never even understand.