Who we are: Gerad & Debbie Claseman founded American Service Animal Society (ASAS) in 2005. The idea was to help a few veterans every year with service dog (SD) training at no cost to them due to the high cost of typical training as well as the 3 to 7 year wait for a fully trained SD. Due to the overwhelming demand for SD services, we found that we needed to expand the program and the way to do this was to create a 501 c 3 mission. Within the 10 years of operation, ASAS has experienced many changes due to growth and experience as well as perfecting the uniqueness of the program. This has positioned ASAS to become one of the largest programs of its kind in the nation. ASAS’ training center is located in Gilbert, AZ, but finds that veterans will relocate from across the country to attend the program. ASAS is comprised of educated, compassionate trainers that want to give back to our military men and women. Some of our trainers are disabled veterans or they are family members of veterans that have educated themselves to come on board with the program.
What we do: ASAS helps disabled veterans train their own dog to be their service dog (SD). If the veteran does not have a dog, then ASAS will help them find the appropriate dog for their needs and lifestyle either through shelters, rescues or breeders. The veteran’s dog must meet specific requirements to enter into the training program, but age is not a requirement. ASAS sponsors disabled veterans that qualify with lifetime, no cost service dog (SD) training and certification. The veteran’s program is tailor-made for their specific needs. We/ASAS feels that part of our success and uniqueness is due to the idea of building a bond between the dog in training and the veteran. In order to achieve this, the dog must be willing to work with the veteran and the team must have genuine respect and compassion for each other. This training is only able to have success without the use of “torture gadgets” and with the gift of trust. Unlike some programs that teach the dog mundane tasks like leaning, our service dogs are trained to interact with the veteran and notice changes in body language, stress hormone chemicals and voice. Our service dogs are trained to disrupt negative behavior or get help amongst numerous other skills. These proven results are well documented in testimonials by our veterans and throughout the VA hospital doctors and clinicians. ASAS trainers specialize in mobility, seizure & diabetes alert, TBI, all forms of PTSD, Psych disorders, Parkinson’s, MST, fibromyalgia, and we can accommodate some hearing and vision loss needs. ASAS does not work with the profound deaf or legally blind at this time.
How we are funded: ASAS is funded primarily through the kindness and generosity of individuals, companies, and foundations that believe in what we do. Since ASAS is a 501 c 3 charity, individuals who reside in the state of Arizona can take advantage of the state tax credit in which allows $800 for married couples and $400 for single. Because of the tremendous growth of veteran’s in need, we can only continue our charity with your help. We/ASAS would truly appreciate any amount that you can donate. Please know that over 90 cents out of every dollar goes directly to sponsor these veterans with service dog training as well as enable them with a better quality of life through the use of their service dog. For more information on how to fund our charity, please contact us directly or you can make a donation on-line today.
Accolades and testimonials: 60 Minutes, AARP & People magazines, Sonoran Living Live, 12 Who Cares Award, local news, TV & radio.