ABOUT FREEDOM SERVICE DOGS
Freedom Service Dogs of America (FSD) transforms lives by partnering people with custom-trained assistance dogs. Our clients include veterans with PTSD, children and teens with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities, and individuals with physical challenges resulting from conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injury. We also provide professional therapy dogs to serve as partners for clinicians, therapists, law enforcement, and more. Since being founded in 1987, Freedom Service Dogs has graduated hundreds of client-dog teams and provided lifetime support to nearly 200 active teams, at no cost to our clients.
For people with disabilities, a custom-trained assistance dog from FSD can open the door to new possibilities. Instead of a life limited by difficulties, fears, and frustrations over what they cannot do, our clients and their service dogs discover all they are capable of doing—together. With their service dog at their side, FSD clients regain lost independence and feel more comfortable in crowds. They learn to reconnect with loved ones and take on challenges with confidence. They find that what was once impossible is now possible, and they experience greater self-esteem, happiness, and hope.
Freedom Service Dogs is proud to be an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International (ADI) and has passed regular on-site inspections to ensure that we meet strictly defined ADI standards for assistance dog training. ADI is the nonprofit organization that sets and promotes standards and ethics for assistance dog training organizations around the world. FSD is a voting member of Assistance Dogs International.
We transform lives by partnering people with custom-trained assistance dogs.
We envision a world where individuals have the freedom to live their lives to the fullest with a custom-trained assistance dog by their side.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
We believe in harnessing the power of diversity to create a culture of belonging where all individuals are celebrated and valued for their unique ideas, perspectives, and strengths as a means to achieving personal excellence and organizational success.
how we rate as a charity
Freedom Service Dogs is a 501(c)(3) charity that is rated as a four-star nonprofit organization by Charity Navigator. This highest rating indicates that FSD exceeds or meets best practices and industry standards across almost all areas, including Impact & Results, Accountability & Finance, Leadership & Adaptability, and Culture & Community. We also were chosen for Charity Navigator’s curated list of highly rated nonprofits helping veterans and military service members.
Freedom Service Dogs has earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar/Candid. The Platinum Participant level requires that we share our financial data and report on our goals, strategies, capabilities, and programs.
Freedom Service Dogs of America (FSD) was founded in 1987 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization by Michael and PJ Roche. Michael, who was paralyzed from the chest down after a vehicle accident, and PJ, a dog trainer, worked tirelessly to transform FSD from a two-person organization based out of their Denver home to one of the leading service dog organizations in the country at a time when the assistance dog industry was in its early stages.
The Roches retired from Freedom Service Dogs in 2001, and sadly, both Michael and PJ have since passed away. Their legacy lives on, however, as FSD continues to provide custom-trained service dogs to people with physical disabilities resulting from spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and other conditions. Over the years, we have expanded our programs to serve veterans and active-duty military with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, and combat-related injuries, as well as children, teens, and young adults with autism and other neurocognitive disabilities. FSD also trains professional therapy dogs that are partnered with mental health and crisis-support professionals.
After leaving the Roches’ home and moving to several different locations in metro Denver, FSD launched a capital campaign in 2010 to raise funds for a new facility. In 2015, FSD purchased our current building in Englewood, Colorado, and launched a new capital campaign to fund renovations of the new facility and future operations. The renovations began in early 2016 with the goal of creating a state-of-the art training space, kennels, and play yards for FSD dogs. In October 2016, FSD moved into its new home, beginning a new era in FSD history.
In 2020, FSD launched an in-house dog breeding program, which necessitated a redesign of our space to include whelping and neonatal kennels. By breeding our own service dog candidates, we expect to be able to produce more reliable service dogs, thus reducing the time clients are on our waiting list and ultimately being able to better serve those in need. As of October 2022, 188 puppies born at FSD have joined our training program.
Since 1987, FSD has graduated more than 550 client-dog teams and provided lifetime support services to more than 170 active teams, all at no charge to our clients.