Celebrating 30 Years
1987-2017 (that’s 210 dog years!)
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Freedom Service Dogs. In 1987, FSD was founded by Michael and PJ Roche. Michael was a paramedic who was paralyzed when his ambulance was broadsided. Wanting to remain as independent as possible following his devastating accident, he and PJ trained their rescued border collie, Oreo, to be Michael’s service dog. Michael and PJ realized that shelter dogs had the potential to make great service dogs for individuals with mobility impairments, and created the legacy for what would become Freedom Service Dogs.
Over the years, FSD has grown exponentially. We’ve increased our programs to serve teens and adults with physical impairments, and also help veterans who are living with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other disabilities. We’ve formed a partnership with the Prison Trained K-9 Companion Program that allows for the rehabilitation of offenders through the use of positive-reinforcement based service dog training. We’ve pioneered an at-risk youth program that helps hundreds of children in the Denver community each year to develop critical social skills. Most importantly, over the past 30 years, FSD has helped hundreds of clients to live more independent and fulfilled lives, while also giving thousands of rescued dogs a second leash on life.
Along with our 30th anniversary, this year marks a new phase in our journey – the completion of our new forever home. After more than six years of preparation, FSD has finally moved into a facility that will allow us to more adequately meet the increasing need for custom-trained service and therapy dogs. We are deeply grateful for those who have helped us to achieve this monumental goal and are eager to see what the future will bring as we continue to build on the legacy established by Michael and PJ Roche three decades ago.
These accomplishments would not be possible without the help of our dedicated supporters from around the nation who fuel our mission, our partners in the community whose collaboration is instrumental to the work we do, our amazing volunteers who donate thousands of hours to move our mission forward, and most of all, our incredible past, present, and future clients who inspire our work every single day.