Our Story

SDA Family

Service Dogs Alabama is dedicated to providing medical and psychiatric assistance to children, adults, and Veterans with disabilities and School Dogs trained to assist educators and counselors with student interventions that create drama-free classrooms.

In the process of fulfilling our Mission, SDA rescues 50+ dogs a year, rehabilitates 50+ inmates a year who train our dogs in prison, changes the course of the lives of children, adults, and Veterans with disabilities, and alters classroom dynamics.

SDA began as K-9s 4 Kids and K-9s 4 Heroes service dog programs of Easter Seals of Alabama under the direction of Frances McGowin and Ashley Taylor. In March of 2015, the programs were spun off from Easter Seals and placed under the umbrella of the new, independent organization Service Dogs Alabama (SDA).

Service Dogs trained by SDA are provided to children, adults, and veterans with disabilities and qualifying nonprofit facilities and schools.


SDA is comprised of several programs: K-9s 4 Kids, K-9s 4 Heroes and K-9s 4 Schools. SDA rescues dogs from shelters and rescue organizations, socializes and raises them utilizing professional trainers and volunteers. When they are at an appropriate age or stage in the evaluation process, the dogs are sent to corrections facilities to be trained by inmates.

Approximately 50 inmates train dogs specifically for SDA’s programs. SDA’s professional trainers, staff and volunteers travel to the facility regularly to work with the inmates, train them and reinforce their training. SDA can have 30 to 40 dogs in the socialization and training process at any time.

Inmates participating in the SDA dog training program have low recidivism rates.


K-9s 4 Kids Service Dog training program was founded by Frances McGowin and Ashley Taylor in 2011 under the non-profit umbrella of Easter Seals Alabama, and has been operational for four years before SDA's official incorporation.

Service Dogs Alabama was incorporated as an official non-profit on March 6, 2015 by Founder and current Executive Director, Frances McGowin, with the help of the organization's first board of directors: President Ty Fondren, Vice President Joshua Granthum and Secretary/Treasurer Marianne McLeod.