Pheobe's First Slumber Party with Mazie

We are excited to announce that Phoebe had her first sleep over at age ten! Thanks to Mazie, the family’s service dog who is able to detect low blood sugar, she was able to enjoy an overnight stay at her friends house with less cause for concern. Phoebe was joined by her sisters Karis and Megan, and also her friend Katelyn. These girls are all mentioned in Dogs in Vests, the book and project that raises money to assist in paying for the life of Mazie, and teach the world about owner trained service dogs. 

Mazie has been doing so well since her training, and of course with continued training, to perform her medical alert duties. She even alerted twice to Miriam Richard, the dogs original host mom, who was on preforming a Prolon fast (for more details on the Prolon fast, please send a direct message). This moment was really special because it showed how accurate Mazie was becoming at fulfilling her duties.

Miriam shared that Mazie jumped up and pawed at her on multiple occasions within a small amount of time. She generally wouldn’t leave Miriam’s side for over and hour. Miriam realized that the affection was beyond what is called for during a foster mom and pup reunion. Trying to understand Mazie’s relentless pressure for attention she thought to herself, “I wonder if my blood sugar is low and she’s alerting me?” Miriam immediately checked her blood sugar levels and  discovered her numbers were at a low of 72 the first time and even lower at 70 after the second test. Miriam then ate a Prolon bar, quickly raising her blood sugar to 84. Mazie stopped alerting to Miriam after a couple of minutes and went on enjoying being a dog and checking on her girls (The Ladewig daughters). The next morning Mazie alerted to Miriam and thus, she ate another bar. Fortunately, the Ladewig girls did not warrant any alerts during the visit. What a success! Mazie is becoming a master at her craft. It’s so exciting to watch her grow not just as a service animal, but also in her love for her girls.

On behalf of Dogs In Vests, we are so proud of Mazie, our Novacek 84 Labradoodle! Additionally, we are so happy for The Ladewig girls, whom defy all odds while discovering how to live a normal life with their trusted dog Mazie at their side. 

Watch more and let this transformation warm your hearts at Many people are sharing our mission and helping us raise funds by purchasing the Dogs in Vests book through the website. All proceeds pay for the life and care of Mazie. Our dream is to raise enough money to care for the lives of owner trained service dogs for families in need. We’re always available for questions or concerns. Please write or call us with any questions about our process and journey! 

*We’ve recently been embarking on meet and greet presentations at local junior high schools to share our experience, strength, and joy. For speaking engagement inquiries please e-mail or

Socialization at the University Park Fire Station

Socialization at the University Park Fire Station

The Dogs in Vests team gathered up the service animals and visited the University Park Fire Department today!

Miriam, as well as Karis, our child author, took turns sharing their stories. They explained what types of services the dogs provide and how the could help firemen as well!

Our outing was a huge success primarily because we could tell that everyone enjoyed learning about the various uses of service dogs. Additionally, we got to show them what a trained service dog looks like and how it should behave.

Stellas sister, Mazie, (Karis’ service dog) is about to get her IAADP international service dog certification. That being said, we covered all bases to ensure she would preform at her most professional. Most importantly, we wanted to make sure she would not be frightened in an emergency if a fireman with full gear and an oxygen tank came to rescue her. Although there have been ambulances in the past, there have been none while she was working.

This was an incredible training experience for all of the service animals and human friends involved. We noticed the dogs were alarmed and gave out a single bark and backed up as the fireman approached.  We had the fireman hand the dogs high value treats and pet them to help them learn to associate them with a positive experience. Along with our calming and reassuring voices they warmed up quickly inspire of the chirping and funny sounds that come with the oxygen tanks running. 

  We love getting to bring our audiences along for our journey of training and socialization.

Please feel free to comment with any questions you have about our outings, techniques, training experience, and ideas for the future! Most importantly, check out our book on Amazon and grab a copy. All proceeds go to the life of Mazie and and dedicated work to the Ladewig family!

Dogs In Vests Reaching Out to Community

Dogs In Vests vist local stores.  


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Once nervous about opening up and asking people to use their stores and businesses to spread the news about Dogs in Vests, I found the confidence to talk to them. I am so glad I did. As it turns out more times than not, these companies would love to help and actually take pride in giving the young girls who are impacted by these loving dogs a chance to have their voices heard. If you are not familiar, Dogs in Vests is a mission we started to help families in need of a service dogs. The subsequent book we wrote is to help others in need learn what is involved in training a service dog. 


    Logos book store, in Snider Plaza welcomed us on May 31st and we are able to meet and greet locals and share our story.   Regular customers, friends, and family came to the bookstore to see the pups and get signed copies of the book (signed by the girls and the dogs). On June 8th, the Lucky Dog Barkery welcomed our whole gang. Many others with service dogs in training came by and see the dogs, grab a book and chat with the families who owned service dogs or who were in the process of  training their own dogs. Members of the community we knew and others who we got to meet came out to show their love for this cause. All the positive feedback we have received pushed us to have another event this time just outside the bubble. Mutts Canine Cantina is hosting us on June 24th and we could not be more thrilled to have everyone come hear the stories and the impact these beautiful service dogs have had. Live music and snacks will all be there and the dogs (Stella, Maize, and Malachi) get ecstatic to meet new friends!  



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Karis helps  Phoebe change her feeding tube,( at Lucky Dog,) an everyday reality that these girls face. We are so glad to have provided them with a service dog who gives not only emotional support, but a very real alert if either girl has a dangerous change in body chemistry. 




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Stella is tired after meeting all the dogs and humans that came through at Lucky Dog Barkery

The importance of Team Training.

We believe you achieve the best results while training your own pet or dog because you’ve learned to read your dog well. You know its body language when something is not right. You observe the nuances in his responds to games, requests, distractions, and other dogs. You cannot make these connections if you simply drop your dog off at a trainer and picking the pup up in five months! Allowing others to train your animal and not being part of that team puts you at a huge disadvantage. Bonding, trust and confidence need to come gradually from the moment the decision to own a dog is reached. That is why we encourage the family to pick their dog from the breeder and, while we are the initial trainers, the forever family visits frequently, as much as twice a week, to ensure connection and observe progression. By witnessing the training process, the forever family gains confidence in their ability to model future training. 

How Do You Know If You Have A Reputable Trainer?

Valerie Fry Kpa Ctp As a Certified Dog Trainer. And entire career has been Service Dogs, this is a huge frustration we have. Dog Training is not regulated in America. 


😞And people pop up all over the place claiming to be a professional trainer or Service Dog Trainer. Credentials can not be faked because you can look them on the the website of the certifying body. The best Dog Trainers credentials are from CCPDT, KPA CTP, VSA. Others include Behavior Consultant. IAABC, CBCC mostly necessary for dogs with behavior issues. 

Honestly a KPA CTP gets the best education for training a disability task. Because everyone is different and every teams task will be different a Service Dog Trainer needs the skills to create a behavior chain and know how to capture, lure, shape these tasks. KPA teaches that BEST. The reason I know these things is because I am not only certified with these, I am also a Mentor Trainer for VSA, ABC, CATCH. Meaning I work with students all the way through their school. 


I totally suggest actually speaking to individuals who have worked with the Trainer you are paying. Do not spend your money until you have spoken to at least 3 of these clients. Verified their credentials on the website of the school or certification body. Verified insurance and training skills by asking those questions directly. 


I hope this helps.

Finding a Trainer

We found our trainer  Valerie Fry owner of Canine Solutions Dallas through the Park Cities Animal Hospital here in Dallas. But an animal behaviorist might be another resource. It is not easy to locate a local service dog trainer. But we have found The Ping Project book extremely helpful for D.A.D.’s training, and Debbie Kay also has a DVD program called Super Sniffers (website referenced above) which we found helpful. I also reached out to Jullian Skalky of Creating New Tales (website referenced above) but unless you live in Florida she is only able to board and train your dog herself or communicate via Skype. 

Is Service Animal training right for you?

In considering this undertaking, make sure you can afford the expense of a dog and the investment of time to properly train your service dog. Taking an extended leave from work to train might be a strong consideration. It could be the difference between having a best friend for life and having an animal that just lives with you. It Is important that you find a trainer that will give you a lesson plan (road map to get to your end goal). Do the research yourself if you can’t locate a trainer…watch videos on YouTube or movies to become more informed about what tools are available to train your service dog. You need to honestly test your puppy’s mental abilities to learn and retain information. You need to ideally spend 15 minutes per day on brain exercises and but remember that your puppy needs to sleep for 3 or 4 hours at a stretch as they tire easily. After a nap time, you need start the training again. This cycle repeats throughout the day.


Book Cover for Dogs In Vests

It is exciting to have the book cover complete.  Our teen author Karis was so excited she shared on her social media that she will be a published author at age 15! We are thrilled to use resources in the community and empower the youth by giving them portions of this project to help it move forward.  In exchange they improve not only our project and their high school resume, but also their self esteem. Dogs In Vests will be available on Amazon and Barns and Noble online. Due out late May/ early June. 


Service dog Mazie allows 15 year old Karis to attend her first sleepover.



Karis enjoyed her first sleepover at a friend's house with Mazie at her side. I hooked Karis 

up to her TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) about 6 hours earlier than normal 

so that she could enjoy her fun night. Knowing that Mazie was by 

her side gave both Karis and I great comfort just in case Karis got in trouble 

adrenal wise. Thankfully the night remained without incident health wise. It was a night filled 

with fun, laughter, and memories were made. Mazie faithfully stayed at 

Karis's side into the wee hours of the night, or should I say the next morning. What a trooper! 

Service dogs are truly a blessing. I am sure that Karis and Mazie will be 

going to many more slumber parties together in the future. 


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