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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Starfleet Service Dogs, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animal Training, Animals, Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Human Services

Mission: Starfleet Service Dogs, Inc. aims to professionally task train, match, and sustain service dogs to mitigate an individual’s mental or physical disability. Starfleet Service Dogs, Inc. is a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization.

Target demographics: Individuals with disabilities, rescue dogs, shelter dogs, rehomed dogs

Geographic areas served: The entire United States of America

Programs: Starfleet Service Dogs, Inc. envisions an integrated community of humans and animals helping each other to live fulfilled lives. ​Starfleet Service Dogs, Inc. is committed to our mission while ensuring the highest quality partnerships we can provide. Our core principles include: Respect: We advocate for our dogs, our clients, and the public to ensure that all parties are treated with the respect they deserve. This respect is extended to all members of the community through teaching clients to come from a place of understanding in all scenarios they may encounter while with their service dog. Responsibility: We have the responsibility not to deceive others; we have the responsibility not to deceive ourselves, and we have the responsibility not to allow others to deceive themselves. Education: We are committed to educating our dogs to the highest degree using scientific-based research. We are committed to educating our clients on service dog training to give them the tools to succeed in the future. We are committed to educating the public, organizations, and business entities regarding service dog legislation, accessibility, and the latest canine research to change the world. Innovation: Our practices are based directly on sound peer-reviewed research and is continually updated to provide the most effective outcomes in all aspects of our organization. We directly drive innovation in both the public and private sectors by partnering with research institutions and working with product developers to further our mission and vision. Integrity: As a non-profit we are committed to transparency. Our standards of training and welfare act as a baseline, which will continue to be raised as new scientific research informs our practice. Our number one concern in all situations is the physical and mental welfare of our dogs. Teamwork: Maintaining effective working teams that continue to exceed our training standards requires many individuals with unique perspectives to work together to reach a common goal: our mission. We are devoted to matching dogs and clients appropriately as to facilitate effective teamwork and quality partnerships.

Community Stories

29 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3 Noelle R.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Starfleet Service Dogs was my third attempt to get a service dog. I first fell for a scam and second, adopted a dog who had to be put down due to a staph infection in his brain. All that pain was worth it to get to Starfleet and to Antares. I've only been working with Antares since August and every day I'm amazed at how smart she is and how in-tune with my body she is. Every time I have a question, Starfleet is there, even late at night. When anyone asks how Antares is so well behaved, I very quickly mention Starfleet. Every person with a service dog deserves the experience I've had with Starfleet.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Starfleet Service Dogs has changed my life. This organization has the soul, heart, and extensive knowledge to change the world for people with disabilities. I have not only gained my independence and a greater quality of life with my dog, but have also had the chance to learn dog behavior, learning, and how to train. The skills and support they give their clients is unmatched in the industry.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Starfleet has helped me to train my own service dog and has always offered excellent advise and training to help me work with my four legged companion.

Ashley T.3

Board Member

Rating: 5

We are an innovative professional non-profit aimed at providing multi-purpose service dogs to individuals with multiple disabilities. We take an approach rooted in peer-reviewed research for our dogs and clients and spend just as much time educating our clients as we do educating our dogs. 2019 has been an exceptional year for Starfleet's program expansion and growth.

Previous Stories
2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I work at Starfleet Service Dogs, Inc. (SSDI) as a Head Canine Training Specialist. SSDI rescues the dogs they train as service dogs and treats every dog in the program as an individual. Being able to save a dog’s life and change a client’s life all at the same time is extremely meaningful work.

I have immense amounts of creative control in my job position and endless opportunities to expand my knowledge and constantly become the best service dog trainer I can be (which is always a moving target).

SSDI is the ideal workplace for those who want to help humans and canines, constantly learn, and have the ability to make your own work schedule!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

In 2019 Starfleet Service Dogs has applied for candidacy from Assistance Dogs International and continued to run three programs Academy Service Dogs, Owner Assisted Service Dogs, and Owner Trained Service Dogs. We are proud to still be able to donate our Academy Dogs free of charge to individuals with disabilities.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Starfleet Service Dogs has been an amazing non profit to work with. They have helped me not only locate and train a service dog, but also helped me consider how a dog would impact my life before even bringing a dog into my home. SSDI goes beyond a service dog organization, they teach you the theory behind why your dog does what it does, train you on how to handle issues that crop up and service dog laws as well as tailor your training journey to you and your dog. I considered owner training a dog, but the Starfleet family goes above and beyond what I expected from an organization. It is very personalized. I’ve been very happy with SSDI and plan to work with them to train all my future service dog partners.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This has to be one of my favorite organizations that I have ever volunteered for. They continually to give back in enormous ways to multiple communities. Starfleet Service Dogs is amazing, they're base when first starting was to rescue dogs from shelters and train them to perform a multitude of tasks which can help someone with a disability. They have even rescued dogs considered "dangerous" or marked for euthanasia, they truly have given these dogs a second chance at life. Service dogs trained from most other places are thousands of dollars, the average person cannot afford to get the aide they desperately need. Bridging this gap is what Starfleet does best, they actively train rescue dogs and offer training sessions for owners wanting to train their own dog into a service animal themselves.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've had a chance to meet Spock and Jenny and Spock is the most amazing dog. I'm sure all the other dogs in this incredible organisation are just as fantastic!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Starfleet is amazing. Highly recommend! Great work all around. Got a chance to meet Spock -- such a great dog :)

1 Katey O.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSDI has been absolutely fantastic helping people I refer to get highly trained service dogs that help them navigate the world a bit better with their disabilities. They’ve also been a huge help with my own service dog as I’ve needed to train her for new tasks. Their advocacy and education is top notch, and I eagerly share their posts with my friends & the public. SSDI is absolutely the platinum standard for service dog training & education!!

1 Lisa L.11

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had been searching for a service dog organization for years and had been saving thousands of money for a service dog. Many organizations offer service dogs for a ridiculous price up to $30,000. I was a college student with a disability and no matter how many hours I worked, I couldn't save enough money to make that amount. Somehow, I came across Starfleet. Starfleet provides a reasonable price and one that I could afford.

The application process was pretty straight forward but I did have some problems getting medical references. Starfleet was with me to provide some solutions on how I could ask my medical team, what to say, and particular things to discuss with my providers. I have PTSD, depression, and anxiety and some of my providers in the past have disregarded the legitimacy of my illness in the past. Starfleet never questioned my disability and helped me figure out how to direct these discussions with my providers.

I originally planned on waiting for an academy-trained dog, but the team suggested that I could do the owner-assisted program. I opted for the owner-assisted program to get a service dog faster. I will admit, this program is NOT for everyone. You are very engaged in the process of getting your dog acclimated to the service dog life. After picking a dog that's passed the temperament test, the first two weeks of the dog in my home was the hardest part. It was extremely overwhelming and caused me to have panic episodes. I was going to give up on myself but the Starfleet team didn't give up on me. They took the dog to a trainer's place to work on the dog's rehabilitation period and get him to a state that I felt I was ready to take him back. Meanwhile, a trainer (Alexa) worked with me to teach me what it was like to be a handler. I was able to handle the trainer's service dog, participate in training sessions, and go to public places. This was so life-changing for me because it taught me so much of what it meant to be a handler and how beneficial it could be for my life. This was a pretty long process so I am forever grateful to the team's patience in helping me gain confidence as a handler and in getting me ready for a service dog.

Once I received my dog, I ran into multiple problems again. The Starfleet team was always there for me through Messenger and always gave detailed responses, suggestions, and advice. It could be late in the night or the morning--someone would read my message and help me. As the problems with my dog persisted, I tried everything that I could that the Starfleet team suggested. Unfortunately, it was clear that the situation was worsening. My dog was getting increasingly stressed and was withdrawing. I was very emotional and afraid to discuss with the Starfleet team, but I spoke with one of the trainers (Ashley) during our virtual training session and she was very compassionate and empathetic. After some time, the Starfleet team deemed my dog and I unfit as a team because our lifestyles were incompatible. I was very ashamed and disappointed in myself but the Starfleet team kept reassuring me and were very sympathetic to the situation.

I know that the previous me would have completely given up by now and considered this as a massive failure. However, with the individual handler training from the trainer (Alexa) and the Starfleet team's immense support, I have the emotional strength and stamina to continue. Even though I am very early on in the service dog process and have experienced many trials and tribulations, I am hopeful for the next service dog candidate. I know that my feelings and newfound confidence now would not have been the same if I went with another service dog organization.

1 Nichole S.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Without Starfleet Service Dogs we wouldn't have our daughter's amazing service dog. He has been a life saver for her on so many levels. The people at Starfleet Service dogs are amazing, always there for us, if anything comes up they help us navigate it. An amazing nonprofit!

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We love Starfleet Service Dogs. Because of them our daughter has an amazing service dog that has changed her life. The staff is amazing and very responsive to questions and are extremely helpful. They are there for you even after you receive your service dog. I'm not sure what we would have done without them.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The most rewarding thing is getting to see the new teams once they have had a chance to bond and get to know each other. When they are truly autonomous and happy to help each other we know our job is worth doing!

1 bookwormlex

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Starfleet literally changes lives. Not only do they rescue and rehabilitate dogs that do not thrive as pets, the dogs they train go on to drastically change the lives of disabled individuals. Their kind and extremely helpful staff a a joy to work with.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Starfleet Service Dogs rescues and academy trains dogs as well as helping owners train dogs to mitigate disabilities. I’ve seen many lives changed because of the good work they do. Pups are given jobs that they love, and humans find a companion that helps them do things they never would have dreamed of doing alone. I’m proud to volunteer with Starfleet.

1 Charlie B.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a really good charity that has been nothing but professional the whole time I’ve dealt with them. Amazing service dogs in training with great training and personality.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Starfleet Service Dogs has been a godsend for me in their owner assisted training! Their training of Willow has allowed me to go back out in the world and is assisting me with conquering my disabilities! Without them, I am not sure where I would be today!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I’m proud to support this highly educated and dedicated group who do such great work to change the lives of deserving people and dogs all over the country

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been through a rough road trying to find a service dog, my disability is not one that most facilities train for. After being with another company and having a horrible experience I found Starfleet Service Dogs. I have had the best experience they have knowledgeable trainers andwonderful dogs. They are very understanding and patient, their utmost concern is that the dog and handler meet all and more requirements for a professionally trained service dog!!! After searching for a couple weeks I was matched with a dog and we have been doing wonderful, I wish I had found them first!!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Starfleet service dogs is amazing. Rescue dogs giving life changing assistance - it is really amazing to see these dogs grow emotionally and take on such important roles. Starfleet does an excellent job, not only of improving the lives of people, but also the lives of the dogs ❤️

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am proud to be the Treasurer for Starfleet Service Dogs, Inc. and to help SSDI stay committed to our mission while ensuring the highest quality partnerships we can provide. Our core principles include:

Respect: We advocate for our dogs, our clients, and the public to ensure that all parties are treated with the respect they deserve. This respect is extended to all members of the community through teaching clients to come from a place of understanding in all scenarios they may encounter while with their service dog.

Responsibility: We have the responsibility not to deceive others; we have the responsibility not to deceive ourselves, and we have the responsibility not to allow others to deceive themselves.

Education: We are committed to educating our dogs to the highest degree using scientific-based research. We are committed to educating our clients on service dog training to give them the tools to succeed in the future. We are committed to educating the public, organizations, and business entities regarding service dog legislation, accessibility, and the latest canine research to change the world.
Innovation: Our practices are based directly on sound peer-reviewed research and is continually updated to provide the most effective outcomes in all aspects of our organization. We directly drive innovation in both the public and private sectors by partnering with research institutions and working with product developers to further our mission and vision.

Integrity: As a non-profit we are committed to transparency. Our standards of training and welfare act as a baseline, which will continue to be raised as new scientific research informs our practice. Our number one concern in all situations is the physical and mental welfare of our dogs.

Teamwork: Maintaining effective working teams that continue to exceed our training standards requires many individuals with unique perspectives to work together to reach a common goal: our mission. We are devoted to matching dogs and clients appropriately as to facilitate effective teamwork and quality partnerships.

2 JaBarnhard

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am proud to be a board member at Starfleet Service Dogs Inc (SSDI). Here at SSDI, we believe in intelligence, not obedience. We use training methods that allow our dogs to predict the world in a logical way to make informed decisions about their actions. We teach our dogs concepts, an understanding that can be transferred and applied to situations the dog has never encountered before. These concepts are used by our dogs to navigate their environment with confidence and autonomy.

We teach commands to our dogs during the training process as a foundation in order to teach the body positions and body movements necessary for task training and public access. Once our dogs are trained, the goal is to only use commands in situations where you want the dog to do something contrary to what the dog would have naturally predicted (ex: You walk up to a restaurant table and want the dog to lay next to a table instead of laying underneath it.).

Additionally, we believe in individualized training programs for each of our dogs. Our dogs are not purpose bred for service work, we do not operate a breeding program; instead we rescue dogs from local shelters (what we call "the largest breeding program in the world"). Since each of our dogs has a unique history, there is no one cookie cutter that could fit all of them. We use the unique motivators of each dog to match training rewards as they progress through our Service Dog Training Program. We utilize all forms of training; behavior capture, social learning, lure training, shaping, behavior chaining, mimicking, and more to optimize the dog's understanding.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful, top-notch nonprofit. Very forward thinking and positive in all aspects of training and handling. The dogs, and their people, are a pleasure to be around. Absolutely recommend!

2 Ciara A.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Love seeing my friend be able to live life with more independence! From my experience as a friend of someone who has a service dog this company is amazing. The dog I know is such a well behaved, smart, hard working dog. Highly recommend to anyone who would like a well trained service dog!

2 Larissa S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSDI has been an incredible company to work with. They practice training dogs and teaching people -- the latter being exceptionally important to keeping your service dog well trained throughout its entire career. The SSDI trainers are extremely professional, non-judgmental, and welcoming. They are quick to answer questions and extremely happy to share videos of their training methods.

2 Emily B.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love Starfleet! They are always so helpful in providing advice for my dog Kevin. I think it’s great that all of the dogs are rescued from shelters, and while they’re given a second chance at life, they are giving their handlers more opportunities as well.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Starfleet has changed my life. They gave me a lifeline, amazing friendships, and independence again. I couldn't imagine where I would be if I hadn't found them.