‘So helpful to so many people’: FIDOS Facility Dogs training to support, serve community

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 8:55 AM CDT
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HOOVER, Ala. (WBRC) - Friends Invested and Dedicated to Outreach and Service (FIDOS) is a nonprofit organization that trains and places Facility Dogs.

FIDOS says a Facility Dog is type of therapy dog trained to provide services in a corporate, healthcare, judicial, or educational facility. Facility Dogs are expertly trained to do many tasks that support the people they serve. Their handlers are trained to work with them on a daily basis, making sure that the dogs are well cared for, get breaks, and stay committed to continual training.

Libby.(Source: Kelly Schaeffer/FIDOS)

Currently, FIDOS is training 13-month-old Luna and 7-month-old Lady Liberty (Libby) at their facility in Hoover.

They hope to place Luna at a corporate facility, and Libby somewhere in the community as well.

Luna and Libby.
Luna and Libby.(Source: Kelly Schaeffer/FIDOS)

“We offer our clients highly-trained Facility Dogs, focusing on the Standard Poodle breed, and consulting services related to facility dog program development at your location,” the organization states.

“We love, love, love dogs! And we thought, ‘How can we combine our love of dogs to help poeple in the community?’” stated Kelly Schaeffer, FIDOS Executive Director and President. “We want to serve local.”

Schaeffer and Luna.
Schaeffer and Luna.(Source: Kelly Schaeffer/FIDOS)

FIDOS depends on their volunteers, like Dave Davis, to help run the organization.

“I get the opportunity to interact with the dogs and have them see a patient, and they’re just so excited. They all want to pet them because they’re so soft and just really nice to be with. So, it gives them a warm feeling under different circumstances, and that puts a smile on their face and mine. Just to see the reactions of some of them is fulfilling,” Davis said. “It’s amazing all of the training they go through to be able to do this process, which is so helpful to so many people. I’m glad to be a part of that.”

Volunteer Dave Davis with Libby and Kelly Schaeffer.
Volunteer Dave Davis with Libby and Kelly Schaeffer.(Source: Sara Hampton/WBRC)

The organization was born through a shared love of dogs among three friends in Birmingham, and their unique experiences working with Service Dogs, Facility Dogs and Animal-Assisted Therapy Dogs.

“We believe that serving our community is a privilege, and through this shared love and passion, Schaeffer founded FIDOS Facility Dogs, focusing on raising Facility Dogs using an individualized training approach specific to the needs of the facility. FIDOS is unique due to the personalized training model and the breed of choice, the Standard Poodle,” FIDOS states.

Schaeffer says Standard Poodles are the breed they choose to work with because they are smart, bond well with people, train easily, and don’t shed.

“Everything we do is for the benefit of the dogs. It’s for the benefit of people too, but it’s important to us to make sure the dogs are comfortable and safe,” Schaeffer continued.

Luna and Libby.
Luna and Libby.(Source: Kelly Schaeffer/FIDOS)
Luna.(Source: Kelly Schaeffer/FIDOS)

Their Mission: Our Facility Dogs provide positive interactions between dogs and those they serve within healthcare, education and corporate environments.

Two aspects make up their Facility Dog Program: The dog and its training, and establishing and implementing a program within the organization, including developing policies and contracts, communicating with staff, and training modules for volunteers and staff that interact with the Facility Dogs.

“Through our staff and training partners, we have the knowledge and skills necessary to help your organization start a Facility Dog program at your location. In addition, we offer continued support and training for your Facility Dog and your handlers to facilitate successful placement and meeting your goals of having a Facility Dog,” FIDOS states.

Schaeffer training Luna and Josie.
Schaeffer training Luna and Josie.(Source: Kelly Schaeffer/FIDOS)
FIDOS training room.
FIDOS training room.(Source: Kelly Schaeffer/FIDOS)
FIDOS training room.
FIDOS training room.(Source: Kelly Schaeffer/FIDOS)

FIDOS emphasizes the following:

  • We train working dogs specializing in therapeutic services for healthcare, education, and corporate facilities. We specialize in Standard Poodle breeds.
  • We believe in, and use, force-free and positive reinforcement training philosophies.
  • We offer consulting services for organizations interested in starting a Facility Dog program at their location.
  • We also partner with other facilities to offer continued education for handlers, dogs and staff.
  • We offer community outreach to provide therapeutic services for schools, colleges and/or community events.

If you’d like FIDOS dogs and staff to visit your facility, contact Kelly Schaeffer, FIDOS Executive Director, at 205-354-3285, or email at Fidosfacilitydogs1@gmail.com.

For additional information about FIDOS, visit their website. If you’d like to donate to FIDOS, you can do so at this link.

Luna wearing FIDOS vest.
Luna wearing FIDOS vest.(Source: Kelly Schaeffer/FIDOS)


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