With Memorial Day coming up (and just because we love dogs), we decided that Freedom Service Dogs should most definitely be this month’s featured nonprofit. Last week, we got an exclusive tour at their facility in Englewood. It was dog-tastic and we learned a ton!
Freedom Service Dogs began with Mike Roche, a paramedic injured in the line of duty. Together, with his wife PJ, the couple trained what would be the very first Freedom Service Dog, “Oreo”, to help Mike with daily tasks.
Freedom Service Dogs is a nonprofit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by rescuing dogs from shelters and custom training them for individual client needs.
Michael, a lucky boy who received a custom-trained dog put it this way when talking about his new best friend Fender on the Freedom Service Dogs website, “He has become my best friend and given me self confidence. He is also helping my walking. People no longer stare at me because I walk differently. They now look at me and my dog and smile.”
Allison Parks of Conscious Real Estate started her firm in order to fulfill her two obsessions:
1) Real estate (she can’t get enough of learning about trends, eco-friendly building materials, and the rich history of Denver neighborhoods)
2) Making a difference to nonprofits like Freedom Service Dogs by donating 10% of her commissions to nonprofits of her clients’ choice after every completed home sale.
Allison says, “I like Freedom Service Dogs because it’s one of the few nonprofits that helps people and dogs.”
Allison Parks, Conscious Real Estate Owner/Broker, with Lindsay Ganassa, FSD Development Manager and “Cargo”
The dogs are rescued from shelters and trained to become service dogs for people who otherwise would not be able to afford one. Getting a service dog trained is very costly and can cost over $25,000, and these dogs demonstrate how amazing dogs rescued from shelters can be! Also, if you have ever seen a dog work, you know how happy they are to have that opportunity. It’s truly amazing to see these dogs have a second chance at life, happily working to help the people who need them.”
Freedom Service Dogs is thriving. They have expanded by helping veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries by custom training dogs to help children as young as 12 live more comfortable lives – despite such daunting conditions as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and more.
Noticing the extreme PTSD that military personnel were coming back with after fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, Freedom Service Dogs started Operation Freedom to help wounded warriors returning from traumatic conditions abroad.
Freedom Service Dogs Development Manager, Lindsay Ganassa filled us in on some of the details of the program. “Operation Freedom provides custom train service dogs to help mitigate multiple issues. Our clients might be facing PTSD, traumatic brain injury, or mobility impairment. We can teach the dogs to perform room sweeps where they go into each room, turn on the light, scan for intruders, and signal “all clear,” which is important for flashbacks and anxiety.”
Ganassa told us that their custom-trained service dogs “can find phones in case of emergency, open and close doors, and can learn more than 50 custom commands.”
On average, Freedom Service Dogs rescues between 105-110 dogs per year. Out of that bunch, about 35 dogs are chosen to be trained as highly specialized service dogs. Those who do not make it as service dogs are adopted into forever loving homes.
There are many ways to support Freedom Service Dogs! Our favorite is buying a home with us and choosing to donate to Freedom Service Dogs through our Conscious Real Estate philanthropy program. To date, we have had two clients select FSD after purchasing their homes and we look forward to the opportunity to multiply this number and increase our impact on this fantastic organization!
You can also attend the Ryno & Tracy’s Rally for Freedom on June 13th. Or, you can donate directly, volunteer to walk dogs, foster a service dog, or start your own fundraiser. (Think: dog wash for charity!).
For more information and to learn about all the different ways to give to Freedom Service Dogs, check out their website here.
And, if you’re thinking about purchasing a home the socially conscious way, contact Allison at Conscious Real Estate today to set up a complimentary Q&A session.
Finally, please share! The more you share, the more you care.
Check out more from our tour of the Freedom Service Dogs facility in Englewood, Colorado right here.