About Freedom Service Dogs

At Freedom Service Dogs, we unleash the potential of dogs by transforming them into custom-trained, life-changing assistance dogs for people in need. The clients we serve live with disabilities like autism, traumatic brain injury (TBI), multiple sclerosis (MS), muscular dystrophy (MD), Down syndrome, cerebral palsy (CP), spinal cord injuries, and more. We also serve veterans with post-traumatic stress (PTS); however, we do not provide service dogs for non-military civilians diagnosed with PTS. FSD has been recognized nationally for its innovative approach and life-changing work.

FSD primarily works with shelters and rescue groups to identify potential service dog candidates, taking in nearly 200 dogs annually. Since 1987, FSD has graduated hundreds of client-dog teams. Dogs that are not suitable for service dog work—or “career change” dogs, as we lovingly refer to them— are adopted into forever homes.


Freedom Service Dogs was founded in 1987 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization by Michael and PJ Roche. The Roches worked tirelessly to transform FSD from a local, two-person organization to one of the leading service dog training organizations in the country at a time when the assistance dog industry was in the early stages of development.

As FSD expanded, its leaders recognized a need for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to have additional support as they entered civilian life, leading to the launch of Operation Freedom, a program that provides disabled veterans with trained service dog companions.


Service dogs can help perform a multitude of tasks that increase the independence and self-sufficiency of their human partners. People with service dogs show significant improvement psychologically, socially, and even economically—and the benefit is mutual for both human and service dog.


Retrieve and carry dropped objects
Push medical alert or 911 button
Find and retrieve phone
Go for Help
Retrieve items from refrigerator
Push handicap buttons
Turn lights on and off
Open and close doors
Enhance balance while walking or using stairs
Provide brace for transfers
Assist in pulling wheelchair
Retrieve adaptive equipment
Carry items in mouth or service packs
Specialized tasks, such as tug coat off, pull client upright, and more

Our Organization


Karen Aalund, Director of Philanthropy

Patricia Al-Abssi, Administrative Assistant

Ailbe Astor, Veteran Services Coordinator

Erin Conley, Director of Communications

Lisa Davenport, Content Coordinator

Laura Edwards, Director of Dog Operations

Kate Goble, Donor Relations Coordinator

Stephanie Guild, Animal Health Manager

Ryan Holman, Volunteer Manager

Morgan Karol, Dog Training Manager

Karen Moldovan, Grants & Foundation Relations Manager

David Neff, Adoptions & Foster Program Coordinator

Nadine Pace, Events & Community Partnerships Manager

Allison PeltierDog Intake Manager

Laura Rogers, Business Operations Manager

Amanda Vallo, Client Services Manager

Anne Burgess, Dog Trainer II

Lisa Krieger, Dog Trainer II

Laura McGaughey, Dog Trainer II

Allison Peltier, Dog Trainer II

Irene Fobe, Dog Trainer I

Sierra Knotts, Dog Trainer I

Sam Graeff, Prison & Puppy Programs Trainer

Ruby Purdy,Animal Care Coordinator

Shelby Casey, Dog Caretaker

Carolyn Gentile, Dog Caretaker

Kelly Lazarczyk, Dog Caretaker

Alison Lentz, Dog Caretaker

Amy Medina, Dog Caretaker

Hannah Perruccio, Dog Caretaker

Jason Smith, Dog Caretaker

Desiree Valles, Dog Caretaker

Michele Ostrander, President and CEO

Michele Ostrander joined Freedom Service Dogs of America in January 2016 as president and CEO. Ostrander has more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit leadership. Most recently, she served as CEO for Susan G. Komen® Colorado. Prior to Komen, Ostrander served as executive director for Tahoe Women’s Services, helping survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Honors include being named one of the 50 most influential people in Denver by 5280 Magazine in 2010 and an Out Front Power Player in 2012.

Ostrander holds a master’s degree in psychology from St. Bonaventure University. She currently serves as a board member for the Audubon Society of Greater Denver and as a mayoral appointee for the Denver Judicial Discipline Commission. Previously, she has served as a mayoral appointee on the Denver Women’s Commission, board director for the Friends of Women’s Studies at the University of Houston, and vice president of the Clayton Neighborhood Association. Ostrander lives in Denver with her wife, Sofia Aguilar, and her dogs, Toodles and Scout, all of whom love to camp, hike, and enjoy the beauty of Colorado.

To contact Michele, email mostrander@freedomservicedogs.org or call 303-922-6231.

Board Chair
Tom Scanlan
Retired, Brigadier General US Air Force

Vice Chair
Blake Johnson
Addison & Maxwell Real Estate Brokerage

Vice Chair
Michelle Search
Experis Finance

Margaux Trammell
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP

Gabe Koroluk
Private Wealth Management

Board Members

Dr. Allison Friederichs
University College of University of Denver

Ryan Godsil
Independent Consultant

Kristi Graning
Loan Stop

Margot Hampleman
Decorative Materials

Lani Kessler
Write Occasions

Peter Meyers
Black Creek Capital Markets

Lee Mickus
Taylor Anderson LLP

Debra Nelson

Josh Robbins
Four Seasons Hotel

Michelle Search
Experis Finance

Neal Stanley
Insight Exploration

Brian Sward
Jackson National Life Distributors

2017 Annual Report

2017 Audited Financial Statement

2017 990

2016 Annual Report

2016 Audited Financial Statement

2016 990

2015 Annual Report

2015 990

2015 Audited Financial Statement*

Privacy Policy

*In 2015, Freedom Service Dogs, Inc. began an initiative to spread our mission across the country using multiple different means, including nationally aired public service announcements, printed marketing materials, and email marketing campaigns, to both educate the public about the work of Freedom Service Dogs, Inc. and to request contributions. These efforts help advance our mission to rescue, train, and provide service dogs to those in need. As a result, in accordance with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) guidelines and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance, Freedom Service Dogs, Inc. allocated a portion of our fundraising costs to program services in 2015. As a nonprofit organization that is exempt from federal taxation, we ensure our donors’ money is spent as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Client Services Coordinator

Manage application process, interviews, and training for clients with neurocognitive disabilities, including autism. Provide ongoing support for service dog and therapy dog teams including recertification. Manage all client processes and communication using an online database. Manage Disco’s Dogs training program. Support Pawsitive Connection Intern Program. Ensure adherence to Assistance Dogs International (ADI) standards for clients and assistance dogs. Reports to Client Services Manager. View full job description.

To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to info@freedomservicedogs.org with the subject line “Client Services Coordinator”.

Dog Intake Coordinator

Under the direction and guidance of the Dog Intake Manager, this position will assist in the activities of the Freedom Service Dogs Intake program. This position is responsible for supporting the Intake Manager resulting in the acquisition of high quality service dog candidates, and meeting established quality and quantitative goals. The successful Dog Intake Coordinator will ensure FSD’s excellence as a member of the service dog community. View full job description.

To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to info@freedomservicedogs.org with the subject line “Dog Intake Coordinator.”

Freedom Service Dogs is proud to be an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International (ADI) and has passed regular onsite inspections to ensure that we meet strictly defined ADI standards for assistance dog training. ADI is nonprofit organization that sets and promotes standards and ethics for assistance dog training organizations around the world: www.assistancedogsinternational.org. FSD is a voting member of the ADI service dog training organization.


Foundation Partners

Corporate Partners

Shelter and Rescue Partners

Dumb Friends League Buddy Center

Foothills Animal Shelter

Humane Society of the South Platte Valley

Luvin’ Labs

Midland Humane Coalition

Peaceful Animal Adoption Shelter (PAAS)

Prison Trained K-9 Companion Program

Sam Coffey Animal Rescue


Wag While you Work


Freedom Press

Looking for the latest news and information from FSD? Read the Freedom Press. Below is a list of past newsletters that you can download in PDF format. Interested in receiving these on a regular basis? Send your mailing address to info@freedomservicedogs.org.

Close Menu