Boston Marathon Fund

Pawsitively Strong

Boston Marathon Bombing Survivors Offered Free Service Dogs Through Mass. Nonprofit NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans

NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans announced on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, that survivors of the Boston marathon bombing who have sustained a permanent physical disability are being offered assistance dogs through the creation of a new fund.

The funds raised will be restricted to cover the costs involved with supplying assistance dogs to the survivors of the Boston marathon bombings should they decide, in the future, that an assistance dog will bring them renewed independence and connection.

For many years now, our office has partnered with NEADS by hosting young service dogs in training. We are grateful to those donors who have agreed to fund service dogs for victims of the marathon bombings and look forward to working with NEADS to identify appropriate homes for these incredible animals. 

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley

NEADS is working in collaboration with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Victim Assistance Program and the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance to distribute information and identify potential recipients of assistance dogs. Going forward, the fund will be opened to include all survivors of violent crime in Massachusetts who have sustained a physical disability and who feel that they would benefit from an assistance dog.

The value and impact that our service dogs provide to those in need is immeasurable. We are happy to offer our help, and hope that by establishing this fund, marathon bombing survivors receive the independence, comfort and companionship our dogs provide. 

Gerry DeRoche, Chief Executive Officer of NEADS

The Boston Duck Tours (BDT) has come on board as a lead donor to this fund. BDT held a staff-wide contest to name the fund. Pawsitively Strong was announced as the fund's name on May 14, 2013.

Press inquiries: If you would like to interview a representative of NEADS, please contact Cathy Zemaitis, at czemaitis@neads.org or 978-422-9064 ext. 36.

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Details for Pawsitively Strong Fund applicants


NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans trains assistance dogs for men, women and children with a permanent physical disability. Our dogs meet the criteria described under the Americans with Disabilities Act and are certified by Assistance Dogs International. NEADS does not train psychiatric service, emotional support, or post-traumatic stress (PTS) dogs (with the exception of a small, targeted program for United States military combat veterans). Within the Pawsitively Strong Fund we are pleased to offer assistance dogs to survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings who have sustained a physical injury that will cause lasting, permanent disability as determined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and who require the services of an assistance dog that can perform task work to aid them with physical actions on a daily basis. Please fill out an application for a service dog or a hearing dog and contact Cathy Zemaitis at the number/email above.