Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Starfleet Service Dogs, Inc.

3,420 pageviews

Claim This Nonprofit

More Info

Add to Favorites

Share this Nonprofit

Donate

Volunteering Oportunities

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: Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, Oregon

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

41 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

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.

20 Brandon T.2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

Don’t use Starfleet Service Dogs, a Maryland-based organization.
After the death of handler, the family should keep the service dog. This family should be allowed to keep their dog and allow it to retire. Imagine the withdrawal of having a service dog care for your family member and then taken years after being in your home!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Jenny is responsive at all times and is committed to finding the best possible match for both the dogs and owners alike. Her passion shines through in her expertise as she works tirelessly to support the ongoing training needs of each dog and to ensure that her clients feel comfortable each step of the way.

1 Nichole S.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We received our daughter's service dog through Starfleet. He is an amazing service dog. We've had him almost 4 years now, Starfleet still helps us out with training when things come up. Wonderful organization.

Previous Stories
4

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!

Read more
1

Donor

Rating: 5

As a longtime donor and supporter of Starfleet Service Dogs Inc, I am proud to help them continue to change lives for the better.

In reading the negative posts on this page , I can personally attest that all organizations have problems and it is how the individuals involved choose to act and go forward. The individuals ranting in the form of a 48 page Dropbox were clients in Starfleet and still have their life saving dogs thanks to Starfleet’s help. As an organization SSDI was publicly attacked and each officer/member of staff still chose to act above it and continue on towards their mission. Thank you to Starfleet for having fortitude and for remembering that it is in hard times that we learn the most!

The service dogs graduating from this program are impeccably cared for , well mannered, Task trained, confident, and happy! The dogs in training are allowed the freedom to progress at their own rate and I absolutely love being a part of their journey.

Thank you to this wonderful organization, I’m proud to support you.

1 Tammie S.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have met multiple service dogs in training in public as well as in my home. Every dog are always very well behaved, content and polite. They always got along perfectly with my dogs. You can tell that the dogs really enjoy being service dogs because they happily help out their handler and run to get their vest on when it is time to go somewhere. It's fun to see them excited to do a task. I can see how much passion the trainers have to help both the dogs and clients.
The trainers are so willing to answer questions and educate people who want to learn more about what Starfleet Service Dogs do. They really go the extra mile for the clients as well as the dogs. For example, I had never heard of vet insurance before, but after asking some questions and learning why all Starfleet dogs have insurance, I got vet insurance for my new puppy.
I am blown away by the detail and care Starfleet puts into their organization. I am happy to recommend Starfleet to anyone who is looking to learn, be treated with care and respect and is looking for that personal connection.

1 Kendra Claire C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

"We must find time to stop & thank the people who make a difference in our lives" - John F. Kennedy

This is Jennifer Barnhard & the SSDI organization. Jenny's undeniable passion & knowledge is the foundation of this organization & a testament to their continued success.

SSDI has an amazing group of people who have a sincere love for dogs. In my experience working with Starfleet, they don't just care about their dogs, but about their humans too - helping you with hands on training to become the best handler possible. They create a positive training experience, for both the dog & the client

"Some people arrive & make a beautiful impact on your life, you can barely remember what life was like without them"

1 Katey O.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Starfleet has been wonderful from the beginning, helping me with my original Service Dog. Now, she is retired due to age and they're helping me with my second Service Dog. Every interaction I've had with them, especially Jenny Barnhard, has been professional, ethical, held to high standards, and kind. I am truly grateful we crossed paths, they have helped make life with rare diseases so much better!

Previous Stories
2

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!!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Starfleet trainers have an amazing ability to teach new handlers how to work a their dogs. The level of patience and expertise they display is truly next level!

2 equineglory

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Starfleet is one of the most professional non-profits I have encountered in my lifetime. The management is timely and thoughtful and it is obvious they always go above and beyond. To train rescue dogs as service animals, helping both members of the team learn and grow, is one of the most noble things a human can do. Infinite stars.

Previous Stories
3

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 ❤️

JaBarnhard

Board Member

Rating: 5

Starfleet Service Dogs, Inc has grown over the years and in the words of Assistance Dogs International's Executive Director, "sometimes the greatest lessons come from the hardest times" . Since 2016 we have experienced growing from one to thirty dogs in training at a time, client's with first dogs to clients needing successor dogs, and saving lives of dogs and humans to cherishing the memories of the ones we have lost. SSDI has trained or assisted in the training of over 75 service dog teams and I have helped save the lives of over 100 animals. Throughout our growing pains we continue to provide life saving service dogs and we continue to have to make the tough choices regarding protecting the welfare of our clients and dogs, training incredible and confident working service dogs, and providing continued education for everyone involved. We are not perfect, and we are not fighting for a monopoly in this industry. We are doing what we can training service dogs to make a dent in mitigating aspects of a person's disability. We love our dogs and we are so proud to serve our wonderful clients.

Previous Stories
2

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.

17 Noelle R.1

Client Served

Rating: 1

TL;DR: I do NOT recommend SSDI due to unprofessional behavior and lack of cognizance regarding how their actions can negatively affect clients.
I was a client of Starfleet Service Dogs, Inc. from May 2018 until February 2020. While initially I was thrilled with SSDI and the training I was receiving, I came to realize that I was being treated as a favorite client and was dealing with a very different SSDI than other clients. I was appalled at the way other clients were being treated and initially, believed they were exaggerating. When I began needing help with an SSDI Academy Dog in training, Sulu, I was bumped from the “nice” list to “naughty”. Suddenly, I began enduring the same negative treatment from SSDI that others had described to me.
Sulu is the most tragic aspect of my time with SSDI. When he was evaluated at the shelter in April 2019, he was in a cone due to a leg injury and likely under sedation or otherwise medicated (which was mentioned by SSDI at the time). He began public access ten days after they pulled him from the shelter, despite the fact that he was still injured and had a tapeworm infection. I fostered Sulu as an Academy Dog with the intention of placement with my husband as his service dog. We were encouraged to continue working him before recovery from his tapeworm infection had been confirmed. When we asked for help because Sulu started acting out, the CEO said that we never reached out to her for training sessions. That was untrue, as we reached out to the CEO every weekend and usually received no response. If we did receive a response, we often would be given a later time and the CEO would be a no-show. Her response when I pointed this out was, “If I don’t answer I didn’t see it. You have to actually get my attention,” yet a better way to communicate was never suggested. We were forced to cancel our own plans and leave entire weekends open for whenever the CEO would happen to be available. When Sulu’s behavior escalated to the point of causing significant anxiety in one of our animals and retired service dog, we were either ignored or had her fear minimized many times by the C-level executives. When they finally took action, their advice was to leave Sulu muzzled at all times and to have him either crated or alone in the backyard. This became a welfare issue; Sulu wouldn’t run or play muzzled. When we asked how we were to meet his exercise needs, we received no suggestions on how to help him. At no point during our struggles with Sulu did an SSDI officer offer to come out to evaluate him in person. We were never advised to bring him to a veterinarian to evaluate if any of his behaviors were due to potential medical issues. SSDI’s website stated as of February 2020, “We also commit to ensuring the welfare of all dogs that enter into our training program for the entirety of their lives”. Due to the lack of guidance we received, we requested that SSDI find a foster that would be better suited for Sulu, and that did not endanger the wellbeing of any of our own dogs. Instead of searching for alternate housing or reaching out to his previous fosters, SSDI’s solution was for me to relinquish Sulu to the local shelter. When I informed them that other SSDI clients had offered to help transport him to any fitting home or trainer, I was scolded for involving others in trying to save him. Because I was a foster and did not own Sulu, I was not able to search for a home for him myself. It wasn’t until AFTER Sulu was relinquished to the shelter that the CEO asked if I knew anyone who could take him. Sulu was euthanized by the shelter. Sulu was not the first Academy Dog to have concerning behavior issues. Katehi, Hodor, and several Great Pyrenees puppies were Academy Dogs that all developed behavior issues that meant they were not able to work. They were all placed in homes rather than returned to shelters. Sulu was the only Academy Dog not granted that opportunity.
The C-level executives frequently exhibited unprofessional behavior. Whenever an SSDI trainer was nearby, plans were made for me to meet with them in person. Only one time of six did SSDI follow through on those plans. Once again, I was expected to leave entire weekends available only to never receive solid plans. My time was repeatedly viewed as valueless to SSDI. I was later told that having friends over for a holiday counted as my 6 month check-in, despite the friend never informing me of an evaluation. No thorough evaluation of my and my service dog’s skills was ever completed while I was a client.
SSDI officers discussed private information of other clients with me in an extremely unprofessional manner. The COO would regularly rudely talk about a specific client, blaming that client for all issues the dog placed with them was having, despite the dog having displayed that behavior in other homes. The CEO asked me in several group chats if I knew why a different client was upset. I felt pressured to either report what I had been told in confidence or jeopardize my relationship with SSDI. I was also threatened by the COO that entanglement in certain messages would call into question my “fitness to work”, which is a corrective contract SSDI uses as punishment to threaten to take away dogs. Throughout my time with SSDI, I regularly heard the CEO discuss taking away clients’ dogs due to reasons such as: changing a collar to a different one of the same make but different color without permission, disagreeing with some of SSDI’s methods, and complaining to SSDI about treatment they had received. These threats were made so frequently that I have had the entire C-level staff listed as “do not admit” to our community security guards, as the CEO boasted about making surprise visits to clients’ homes to remove their dog.
SSDI is inconsistent in their training methods and had me incorrectly using a tool for over a year. When Antares was first placed with me, she used her dew claws to rip her head collar off her face. I was told that the best way to remedy this was to pull straight up on the leash, lifting her up until she stopped. This has caused permanent aversion to her head collar and a permanent mark on her nose from where the nose band would sit. Photos of this are attached. The CEO, the COO, and I discussed multiple times Antares alerting to my pain in late 2018. They are the ones that helped pinpoint that her natural behavior was an alert that could be shaped. In my last few months with SSDI, they became suspect that pain could be something a dog could alert to, despite over a year of accurate alerting from Antares.
The grading of all phases are extremely subjective depending on your trainer. I attended a street fair, which is one of the requirements for graduating, yet was told that it did not count, as the COO believed it was more like a county fair. The distinction is not addressed ahead of time. Repeatedly, one dog would pass a requirement while one would not; what constituted a pass was extremely different for each dog. Sulu could not have ANY treats to pass out of phases. Chekov could be given treats regularly after he performed requested behaviors in early phases. Antares could be lured in early phases. When we asked the COO why this was the case, I was told “they are different dogs,” and she would not provide any further explanation. I was also required to get a video of Antares wearing a warming coat, despite her being a husky mix living in Southern California, showing a lack of cognizance for what her day-to-day life would entail.
The final straw that caused me to sever ties with SSDI was receiving the 2020 contracts. Based on my former career in contract negotiarion, I recognized the extreme risk that the 2020 contracts pose to both SSDI and clients. The Veterinary and Wellness form specifies that they can take ANY dog that isn’t being cared for to SSDI standards (including insurance). This means that a pet that isn’t an SSDI dog is at risk of being taken. The CEO said to me that she was considering taking dogs from clients that had not even been part of SSDI’s program. The Responsibility and Indemnification form dictates that SSDI will “provide long-term support” for their clients and dogs. They do not define if this support is in reference to training. “Support” is usually defined as monetary support. This puts SSDI at significant risk, as a client could sue for monetary compensation. When I pointed out these and other contract issues to the C-level executives of SSDI, the CSO stated that they were not making any changes to any of their contracts. Suspiciously, they would also not clarify any of my questions regarding their contracts in writing and only wanted to discuss them via phone. They also suddenly enforced a $200/month fee that I had never agreed to pay. I was billed and told that my only options were to pay or no longer remain a client.
In short, if you are seeking an academy dog or help with owner training your service dog, please do not consider Starfleet Service Dogs, Inc. as an option. They have shown a disrespect for their disabled clients and a lack of cognizance for the wellbeing of dogs in their program.

19 Larissa S.

Client Served

Rating: 1

TL;DR: SSDI had me help surrender a dog for euthanasia, wanted me to sign a dangerous contract, encouraged me to starve my dog, told me private information about other clients, and encouraged me to lie and cover for them to help with ADI accreditation.

I am a former SSDI client, and I can no longer recommend Starfleet Service Dogs, Inc. as a program. They have grown and changed a great deal since I became a client in 2018. Inconsistency, double standards, and a propensity for flip-flopping became hallmarks of SSDI by the time I terminated my client and volunteer status with them. As an SSDI client, I was repeatedly told information about other clients that I had no business knowing (such as when other clients were in danger of having their dogs taken away from them, who was potentially going to receive Fitness To Work contracts, or sensitive information regarding mental or physical health issues). As a volunteer, I was told to surrender an SSDI academy dog despite “We also commit to ensuring the welfare of all dogs that enter into our training program for the entirety of their lives.” [About Us, https://www.starfleetservicedogs.org/dog-profiles]
The dog was euthanized.
SSDI, despite having no veterinarian on staff, repeatedly told me and other clients to ignore veterinary instructions. Particularly in regards to working-dog weight and caloric intake. When my dog reached 69lbs, I was told he was overweight and chastised for it. I cut back his food and increased his exercise. Chekov began to lose weight slowly. I was chastised again, told that weight loss “wasn’t hard” and to cut his food. I did so. At that time, Chekov began having behavioural issues such as trying to sneak food, as well as eating cat poop out of the litter. I informed SSDI of this, and was eventually told to buy a baby gate to prevent him from eating cat poop. I was led to believe that, despite not being vets, the SSDI officers were well educated regarding dog nutrition. My assumption was incorrect. When I consulted a vet regarding Chekov’s weight and food, I was informed that Chekov was on a starvation diet and should never have been on as little food as SSDI said was acceptable. I have since increased his food, and the behaviour problems have almost disappeared.
I was encouraged by the CEO to buy and use a Mini Educator Electronic Collar for recall work with Chekov. I was given two training sessions on it (one with the CEO and the other with the COO) and told what book to purchase (by the CSO) for further instruction on how to use it. I was also told never to take pictures of Chekov wearing the e-collar for social media use as they didn’t want it known that SSDI used e-collars and believed them to be a viable training technique. They were cognizant of the fact Assistance Dogs International does not approve of their use (and are working towards ADI accreditation). I was not supposed to use the e-collar when Chekov was vested, but encouraged to use it when he was unvested and the general public would not know of his connection to SSDI. I know of several SSDI dogs who have been trained with the e-collar (including the euthanized dog, on whom it was used as a ‘corrective measure’).
In January 2020 I was given the new 2020 client contract. There were numerous unethical, illegal, fraudulent, and unenforceable clauses within the contract (as confirmed when I spoke with two contract admins, and after having portions of it reviewed by a lawyer). When I pointed this out to SSDI officers, I was informed that no changes would be made to the contract whatsoever but that they would happily go over the contract and clarify points via Facetime. They were extremely unwilling to put any clarifications in writing. I was informed that signing the contract was voluntary, as it was voluntary to remain a client of SSDI. As I am not in the practice of signing my name to contracts of such dubious nature (particularly as their vaguely worded contract would have opened me up to the possibility of SSDI attempting to seize not only my service dog, but my retired one as well), I opted to terminate my client and volunteer status with SSDI. I was informed by SSDI that they were reviewing the contract, but after speaking with other clients, no amended contract has been sent out. Since leaving SSDI, I have been repeatedly emailed with requests for veterinary records pursuant to the adoption agreement signed with them for Chekov. However, the continued request for new documents made it clear that SSDI has kept inconsistent records since Chekov came into their program in 2018. It also became clear that these emails were punishment for leaving SSDI, as they were perfectly content to leave their records incomplete so long as I was a client. SSDI’s poor business practices should not become a client’s (or ex-client) problem. However, it continues to be my problem as I am still (as of writing this review) receiving invoices for $200/month for training I do not receive. The invoice was cancelled quickly, but it does not change the fact I continued to feel harassed by SSDI.
There is no effort made on behalf of SSDI to fundraise for their teams. Despite being a non-profit, fundraising seems to be an afterthought. I repeatedly offered to help write grant applications for SSDI if they would point me to grants they could apply for. They never did so. I have not seen SSDI attempt to fundraise to help any of their teams pay for graduation-related expenses. With the 2020 contract given to me, clients were on the hook for either paying for an SSDI representative to come evaluate them every 6 months during training, and once a year permanently for team evaluation post-graduation. The client would be on the hook for airfare, car, hotel, expenses that the SSDI representative incurred. There was no upper limit to these expenses within the contract, nor any obligation on SSDI to send the closest representative. The only other option given was for the client to go to the representative instead (leaving the client still on the hook for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in expenses at minimum every six months). There is no obligation from SSDI to help with these expenses for clients, no fundraising efforts made. The $200 per month for digital training follows a for-profit model more than a nonprofit, and there are no explanations beyond ‘paying your trainer’ (trainers who are almost all C-level officers). While I wholeheartedly support paying trainers for their efforts, the obfuscation of where the money is actually going (instead of showcasing what money is going towards academy dogs, a future facility, veterinary emergency fund, etc) does not inspire confidence.
Since leaving SSDI, I have been approached by numerous former clients, clients, and applicants who have had awful experiences with SSDI. Few have felt comfortable speaking out about the poor treatment they have received from SSDI. While I was a client, I was threatened not to speak with friends (who were SSDI clients) about certain topics. I was threatened not to become involved in ‘messages’ because it would affect my relationship with SSDI. These intimidation tactics are often used against clients to keep them in line (particularly threatening Fitness To Work contracts, which are contracts that can be used to terminate client status or repossess dogs).
SSDI also does not credit when and where credit is due. During the write up for the 2019 manual, I assisted in editing and writing. I was told that I would be acknowledged for my efforts within the manual. That was not the case.
Update to original review: I have been contacted by several other former clients regarding this sort of behaviour going back to 2015 when the company was created, and ongoing harassment and abuse continues with current clients.

Shelby G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Starfleet has given me a service dog who has helped me so much witj my disabilities. I wouldn’t be alive without her, or ultimately, Starfleet.

1

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 :)

3 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

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!

2 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.

2 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.

2

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

3

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

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

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 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.

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.