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Fidos For Freedom Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Human Services

Mission: To provide trained Service Dogs or Hearing Dogs to people who are physically challenged, deaf or hard-of-hearing, including on-going support services and training. 

To provide quality trained assistance dogs and continued client support and training for the duration of the working team for people with mobility and hearing impairment. To provide emotional and physical benefits through the use of well trained therapy dogs and volunteers for patients residing in health care facilities. To educate, enlighten and enrich the lives of individuals in the use of quality trained dogs in disability awareness presentations and demonstrations in schools, churches, organizations and businesses within the community. To provide a junior volunteer program, enabling hands on experience with the training of dogs and working with physically challenged individuals while earning community service hours. To provide a reading literacy program that improves the reading skills of elementary school students by encouraging them to read one-on-one with a Fidos Therapy Dog in a relaxed learning environment.

Target demographics: increase the quality of life for people

Direct beneficiaries per year: 22 clients in training plus 35 active teams in 2013. 238 health care visits in 2012.

Geographic areas served: Washington-Baltimore metropolitan community

Programs: dogs for veterans, hearing dogs, service dogs and therapy dogs.

Community Stories

25 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Madeleine B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

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Linda Jo N.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a newly matched team and love having a service dog. My gorgeous and brilliant yellow Lab Tessa has opened up my life again and given me the confidence to enjoy things to the fullest. I began training in November 2015 and was matched in June 2016. Thank you so much to all the dedicated Fidos volunteer trainers and staff. You do change lives every day.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

1 Diane204

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am no longer afraid to go by myself since I have been with my great hearing dogs from Fidos!!

Previous Stories
5

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

5 Brian166

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

6 amploskonka

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories
3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have just started training with Fidos and already my life has changed for the better in ways I couldn't have imagined. The volunteers are beyond helpful and understanding and truly take a special interest in each of their clients as well as the dogs that serve them. I can't say enough about the dogs themselves either! They all have such sweet personalities and you can tell that the trainers recognize and bring out the best in each dog. I am really excited to have Fidos as a part of my life. It feels like a second family!

6 Cara9

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Denise37

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

Jasmine K.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Fidos provided me with my amazing hearing dog Star and continue to work with us to make sure that we remain on top of our game. I can't imagine what my life would be like if they had not come into it. I am a much happier, much more independent person because of them and I have formed long term lasting friendships with my fellow clients, the volunteers, the trainers, and everyone else who is a member of this close knit community.

Carbear N.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I wanted to say thanks to the trainers and friends at Fidos for freedom for giving me oppunity to have lily (hearing/services dog in my life and I feel more freedom and inpendence in my life... Thank you for all my Fidos friend to give me a wonderful hearing/ service dog.... Thanks fir this nonprofit to help other with disability but we are able and more inpendence in our life's with these services dogs... Thank you...

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a hearing impaired person who lives a fully, more independent and happier life because of the hearing dog, Ellie, that I was matched with at FIDOS for Freedom in 2006.
In late 2005, I applied for a hearing dog at FIDOS. I went through an interview that asked me what me needs were, hearing a door knock, telephone ring, person coming up behind me, being told I had dropped something, someone calling my name and other sound alarms that I do not hear. I was accepted into the program and did my initial training, first without a dog, and then with various dogs. In March 2006, I was matched with Ellie, my Norwegian Buhund, hearing dog. I was also matched with a FIDOS trainer who would make Ellie work for me.
FIDOS has a well thought out program of making all this work. The volunteers give of their time and hearts to help the clients live a more independent, safer and happier life. Their good work has been demonstrated with Ellie’s behavior many times over the years and the organization is always willing to help me when I ask for it. Although, I have basically been rather inactive for the last four years or so I know that I can depend on them when I have needs.
Ellie has behaved in an amazing way over that time and it is a result of the careful choosing and training that she has received. I tell people that she really isn’t a dog but is my ears. I can take her everywhere, and do so, and depend on her proper behavior and alerting. We have been in theaters, air planes, trains, buses, airports, restaurants, classes, voting lines etc.
I am blessed to live near the FIDOS organization and truly believe that they deserve many awards for what they do for people with hearing and mobility disabilities and for the therapy dog work they do.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Eight years and two months ago I was matched to Ryan, my hearing assistance dog - a beautiful, loving, sweet natured two year old yellow labrador. What a wonderful gift! I thought I knew what I was getting into - in fact I had no idea, I got SO much more! After nine months of training at Fidos I was ready to be matched. At the end of the announcement the words "now the real work starts" were added. It didn't take long to find out how true they were. I had been matched to a dog who had spent the first two years of his life in training to be a hearing assistance dog. We fell in love with each other quickly but Ryan held back - maybe I was another trainer, or a vacation home provider, how long would he be with me - I could practically read his mind as he looked at me from the other side of the couch or his bed. It took a year to finally convince him that he was home for good! In the meantime he was an amazing worker - alerting me to everything he had been trained to help me with - timers, alarm clocks, phone ringing, etc. but also to sounds he decided I should know about - electric kettle going off, toaster popping up, even when something boiled in a pan. It was amazing. After years of burning food, cookies, forgetting to turn the sprinkler off now all I had to do was set a timer and wait for Ryan to tell me when it went off - I could relax on my deck! I could sleep at night knowing Ryan would wake me when the alarm went off - especially important if we had to travel the next morning! In my efforts to make Ryan feel welcome in my home I was not a very good leader so he decided to take charge for a while. I would open the front door and he would charge out. Somebody would come and he would have his nose in the door crack waiting for me to open the door to greet the guest. Where was Fidos in all this? This is where Fidos truly shines! Every step of the way they were there to help me - train ME to work with Ryan, to become a true partnership. Ryan already had the training - he was waiting for me to become his leader. Once we got that straightened out we settled into a wonderful relationship. So many times he has amazed me in what he does for me. One experience we had (which has had many repeats in different settings) happened late one night in an underground parking garage. We had worked late in an office and were the last ones heading out. As we walked to the car Ryan suddenly stopped, jerking the leash. I couldn't imagine why but I remembered the words from training "listen to your dog" so I turned around - Ryan was picking up my keys which I had inadvertently dropped. It's hard to describe how I felt at that moment - I think my love and gratitude to Ryan probably quadrupled in that instant. Over and over again people tell me (at the grocery store, when we walk through airports, just about anywhere we go in public) that Ryan is always watching me, that he holds his head high and proud (obviously loves what he does). Apparently so do I! Ryan is now ten years old, he is slowing down but he still works and most of the time wants to go out in public. He is an excellent traveler - we have traveled to Peru 14 times together, twice to Alaska, to Canada, to England and Europe - he never ceases to amaze fellow travelers with his impeccable manners and sweet nature. For the first three years I had Ryan we lived fairly close to Fidos and would attend training sessions and demos whenever we could. After that we moved away but every year we have returned to Fidos to take the recertification exam. Ryan makes me proud as he shows off all his training as he completes each test. Fidos has very strict requirements about who they place their dogs with, when they feel a client is ready to be matched to a dog, which dog is right for the client, etc. As clients we are impatient to be matched quickly; looking back I realize how important that pre-match training time was. After you are matched you get months of personal one on one training with your dog learning how to go out in public together, how to take care of him/her, getting questions answered. When you finally get to take your dog home you are well prepared - you know the dog's language (commands). Actually sometimes you draw a blank as I did shortly after Ryan came home with me. Before Ryan was allowed to touch his food he needed to hear "paid for." One morning I could not remember the words. Poor Ryan was literally drooling into his food waiting for the command. I was at the point of calling his trainer when I finally remembered it!!!! Fidos has always been there for me. For a volunteer organization they do an amazing service to the community not only in training service and hearing assistance dogs but also with the extensive therapy dog program and educating the community. They definitely deserve to be at the top of the list of non-profit groups!

Review from Guidestar