Sponsor a Client

You can sponsor a client by making a donation to NEADS. Just click on an individual listed below to learn why he or she needs an assistance dog, and how their new partnership with a NEADS dog will change their life. You can help to grant a person freedom, mobility and independence through canine assistance.

Our son Gabriel is a 12-year-old boy who received the diagnose of Tourette Syndrome (a neurological disorder that involves involuntary motor and verbal tics) in 2010 by Dr. David Coulter from Children's Hospital Boston.

CJ is a 16 year old boy with Mitochondrial Disease. For CJ everyday is a battle.

Suzanne is a mother, writer, youth coach, and Protestant ordained minister. Suzanne is interested in the myriad ways ministry happens outside church walls, and is eager to embark on a new partnership of pastoral care with a NEADS Service Dog for Therapy.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is George Breault and I’ve struggled every day with Multiple sclerosis for the past 24 years and have been confined to a wheelchair 21 of those years. I am determined to stay independent as long as possible. However, with the disease progressing that is getting to be more and more challenging every day. Therefore, the time has come for me to consider having a service dog to assist me with daily functions that sometimes seem impossible. I believe a service dog will provide me with the confidence necessary to maintain an independent life style.

Dante is 11 years old with autism. He waited a year and a half for the perfect dog. Then he met Lucky and there was an instant attraction. Lucky is a black lab who is 20 months old with a birthday in August.

Hi, my name is Kelly Bucchere.  I was born with a birth defect known as Spina Bifida. This has caused complete paralysis of my legs below the level of my knees and partial paralysis in the rest of my legs.  As a result, I utilize a wheelchair for mobility.  I have always been extremely independent, sometimes to a fault. 

My 7 year old daughter Rayanie recently recieved Chief, an assistance dog from NEADS. Rayanie has Williams syndrome -- a genetic condition that is present at birth and characterized by medical problems including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, and learning disabilities.

Our daughter Alexis was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bones). Lexi is 12 and she has broken 72 bones to date. She is a happy little girl who loves swimming and helping others. Her bones are breakable but her spirit is not! Thanks to everyone for your love and support.

I have had moderate to severe hearing loss since birth. I have always strived to be independent and not have my hearing loss be the driving force of my life. I am a School Psychologist, so my professional life is dedicated to advocating for children with special needs and supporting their families and teachers.

Rev. Debbie Clark is pastor of Edwards United Church of Christ in Framingham, Massachusetts.  The congregation has welcomed Jeannie, a beautiful standard poodle, as a "service dog for ministry."  Jeannie provides a warm, gentle, caring presence for the congregation and the wider community.

When I first applied to get an assistance dog from NEADS, I knew that I would receive a special dog. I didn't know that I would receive a dog that has had such a huge impact on my professional and personal life. Rev accompanies me to work everyday, which is the Nevins Nursing and Rehab Centre in Methuen Massachusetts.

My name is Robbie Dudzisz and I am C6-7 quadriplegic. I’m a student at the University of New Hampshire. I enjoy being active and play wheelchair rugby for the NEP Wildcats. With my busy and stressful schedule a service dog would give me independence and simplify life. Opening doors, picking up objects, turning on/off lights, are just a few tasks my dog will perform while assisting me.

Words cannot express how excited I am in being selected to receive a therapy dog. As a Special Education Teacher at Longridge Elementary School in Greece, NY, I work with students with disabilities such as aspergers, autism, speech/language impaired, learning disabled, and other health impairments.

Michelle was born profoundly deaf and has identified herself as being culturally Deaf. She attended Gallaudet University and received her doctorate degree (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology.  When not working, Michelle is active and enjoys the outdoors of New England. She can often be found hiking, running and camping during her down time.

Gradually becoming deafer, Cynthia needs a hearing dog to alert her to everyday sounds such as alarms and phone calls. Without her hearing aids, she can barely hear anything.

Several years ago, I walked into a room at the Tippet Home in Needham, MA to visit a member of the church I was serving. She was there for hospice care. As soon as I entered the room, she gave me a distressed look and asked, “Where’s your dog?” She had met me and my senior lab, Copper, earlier during her illness. I told her, “I didn’t even think to bring him.” I checked with the Tippett Home and asked if I could bring Copper for the next visit and they said, “Of course!” I brought Copper and as soon as she saw Copper, there was a look of peace, contentment, and even joy on the dying woman’s face. She was ready to talk.

Born deaf, Kathleen would like a hearing dog to alert her to sounds she would otherwise not hear.

Diagnosed with MS, Michelle hopes to have an assistance dog in time to train together before she becomes more disabled. Michelle was very active and independent before the MS and feels that a dog would help her to feel whole again.

I began working with NEADS in 2005 and received my first Service Dog in 2006. I discovered more independence that I never knew was possible with my Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral palsy. Things that I benefited from were: picking up dropped items, accessing the fridge, light switches, and opening doors just to name a few.

Elijah is 14 years old and in the 8th grade at King Philip Middle School in Norfolk, MA. He has many strengths such as a great sense of humor but is socially withdrawn. A social dog would give him confidence to meet new challenges in his daily life

Courtney grew up with a hearing loss that is progressive. She needed a new hearing dog as soon as she lost Texas, her first hearing dog. 

I am a pastor of two small churches in northern NH (Trinity UMC in Whitefield and Durrell Memorial UMC in Bethlehem). Thanks to NEADS, I have found Benny, my four-legged partner in ministry.

My name is Kelly Heller and I am thrilled for the opportunity to work with a therapy dog. I am a District Behavior Specialist for Lebanon School District in Lebanon, PA. As part of my job, I service our Autistic Support and Emotional Support classrooms on a daily basis. As a district, we are excited for all of the ways that a therapy dog will support our students’ social and emotional needs. As a district and community, we are excited for the chance to work with a therapy dog to further bring us together in supporting our students with special needs.

My son Braedan is 6 years old. He was diagnosed with mild Asperger Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, anxiety, and sensory sensitivities. Though he looks and acts like your average little boy, there are so many obstacles for him to overcome.

Hi Everyone, My name is Rylie and I have been matched to become a therapy dog at Boston Medical Center (BMC). I’ve been waiting my whole life for this. In this role, I will visit patients, families and staff at the hospital and bring with me compassion, caring and a pleasant diversion from hospital life.

Eric's hearing loss, a result of brain damage at birth, was only detected about 7 years ago and is getting worse. His hearing dog Princess helps him to be more independent in his daily activities and alerts him to sounds that he is unable to hear.

I am excited to be joining the NEADS family and developing a partnership with Bella. Bella will serve as both a ministry dog and a service dog assisting me personally. As a minister and an animal-lover, I cannot think of a more ideal way to “do” ministry. Bella and I will serve our congregation, community, and region in many ways: through congregational and interfaith worship and events; pastoral care visits to nursing homes and hospitals; and crisis response to recovery and reunification centers in Petersham and the wider region. We will respond to requests by local clergy of any faith as well as regional fire, police, and other emergency responders.

My journey began in 2006, when I injured my back. Since that time I have lost feeling in both legs, gave up being a volunteer firefighter/EMT and had to learn how to live life with my disability.

Hey there! My name is Bennett Lamson and I'm a 30-year-old guy with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a form of Muscular Dystrophy. I grew up in the small town of Sandown, NH but currently reside in Portsmouth, NH. SMA is a progressive neuromuscular disease. Although I am overall in fairly good health, my muscles are weakened to the point where I am 100% dependent for all my physical care. That hasn't stopped me from striving to and succeeding in being the most independent person I can be.

I began my partnership with Daisy, a young Golden Retriever "Service Dog for Ministry" in October. She has become a favorite in the various ministry settings in which I am involved. In churches, she opens up conversations with people who might be reluctant otherwise. She is particularly good with kids, even the most hesitant.

I am a counselor at the Cushing House which is a part of the Gavin Foundation and located in South Boston. The Cushing House is a 6-month program for girls ages 16-20 in early recovery from addiction. Working with me from 3-11 pm, Rowan brightens everyone's day- from greeting girls at the door when they come back from school/work to giving them a kiss before they go to sleep.

My name is Karen and I live in Storrs, CT. I have been dependent on a wheelchair for mobility for the past four years. I was been diagnosed with a progressive neuro-muscular disease that resulted in neuropathy and partial paralysis.I did my best to remain very active, including playing sled hockey for a team in Arizona and also on the USA Women’s National team.

I’ve been a paraplegic for 28 years and due to arthritic changes in my cervical spine, I’ve lost strength and dexterity in my hands. I continue to work for the Center for Living and Working, Inc. where I work to help other people with disabilities gain and maintain their independence. My daughter is now 20 years old and serving our country as a United States Marine.

Janet Has Arthrogryphosis which involves all four extremeties and uses a wheelchair all the time. 

Pauline was born deaf but lives alone. She would like a hearing dog to keep her company and to alert her to sounds such as the door bell and smoke alarm. 

I graduated with my 1st NEADS Service Dog ‘Alex’ in April 2002, but sadly I had to say goodbye to my helper and wingman in September 2013. Fortunately, I have been accepted to receive my 2nd NEADS Service Dog and I could not be more excited! I live in the Boston area and work as a Project Manager for an Architectural Firm. I enjoy attending sporting events, playing billiards, keeping up with friends & family, traveling and the outdoors.

Hello, my name is Jackie Marcoux and I am a senior at the University of Hartford looking to pursue a career in either student affairs in higher education or theater. I was diagnosed at 4 and a half years old with a moderate to severe bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and have been wearing two hearing aids ever since. In the past few years my hearing has begun to fluctuate. On those days I wake up being unable to hear anything except for loud noises. Therefore, I made the decision to acquire a service dog. This is especially important because the fluctuations are becoming a more regular occurrence.

I am a 75-year-old woman who was recently partnered with Della, my second Hearing Assistant Dog. Monte had passed over the Rainbow Bridge a year ago last March., and I was lost without him. I did not think I could ever find another dog as well trained as he, but Della is already getting me to respond to even more sounds than he did.

Brandon has difficulty in making friends because his speech is sometimes hard to understand and people do not always understand how to communicate with people with Down Syndrome. 

Small and mighty. That’s how many describe twelve year old middle school student Mason from Wyoming. Mason is just like any other twelve year old boy… he likes to hang out with his friends, play hockey and baseball, travel and pick on his little sister. What makes him different from most other kids is that Mason is living with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Diagnosed at age three, Mason has grown up with this autoimmune disease that destroys joints, bones, muscles, cartilage and other connective tissues. JIA prevents him from moving his joints properly, often hampering or halting his physical movement.

Because of a rare metabolic disorder, Gabrielle has brain damage which causes balance issues, poor muscle tone, and difficulty with her fine motor skills and speech. A dog would be her friend and help with daily activities. 

I have recently been matched with Murray. He has been such an amazing gift. I was diagnosed with MS in 2010 after 20 years of symptoms. I have weakness on both sides, more on the left and my balance is starting to become a problem.  I drop things frequently and have difficulty picking things up from the floor.

Mikey is a six year old boy with an autism spectrum disorder. He has anxiety in various situations especially when transitioning from one place to another and where there's a lot of stimulation such as a grocery store. Feeling insecure, he is quite dependent upon his mother's presence.

Our son Evan is nine years old and has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, and ADHD. Evan is a very smart, caring, and affectionate child who loves to play baseball, but who also struggles daily socially and emotionally. A social assistance dog would help reduce his anxiety, increase his self-esteem, make transitions easier and be a constant companion for Evan.

I have a spinal cord disorder called Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, an autoimmune disease called Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease, that does not effect my mobility, but has an effect on my health, and Aspergers Syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum.

Hello, my name is Marie Neault. I suffer nerve damage and chronic pain associated with numerous surgeries to treat endometriosis. So many damaging aspects of my surgeries, including scar tissue, have damaged most of my internal organs and complications continue.

Kaiyla is a vibrant, energetic, happy 9 year old girl with Autism and Mental Retardation. The obstacles she faces because of this can be emotional, frustrating, sometimes hurtful and cause everyday tasks to be difficult.

Hello, my name is Jennifer O’Rourke, I am a special education teacher at Salisbury Elementary School in the town of Salisbury, Massachusetts. The students in my program have significant social and emotional needs and some have experienced trauma and lived in poverty during their young lives. Students with Autism, a history of trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and various other social emotional challenges are in need of the comfort and reassurance that a therapy dog can provide.

Taylor is our bright 8-year-old daughter. When she was 18 months old she was diagnosed with autism. We began Early Intervention and had ABA therapists in our home for countless hours. Taylor has always loved dogs, horses, dinosaurs and dragons. As Taylor got older her presentation of autism improved and her current diagnosis is Aspergers. Over the last couple of years, we have noticed high levels of anxiety and depression. We brought her in for help where she was then diagnosed with both of these as well as a mood disorder.

Xander is a seven year old who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at the age of four. Asperger's makes it very difficult for Xander to make meaningful connections with other people. Xander was recently matched with social dog Lucy.  He was so excited to bring our newest family member home with us!

All my life I've struggled with hearing loss. I was affected with juvenile otosclerosis and the loss got so bad that in my teens I had bilateral stapedectomies performed. That means they did surgery on each ear and replaced a non working bone with a prosthetic piston. This “fix” worked well for a while and I lived a wonderful young adulthood with decent, passable hearing. In the early 2000's my hearing began to fade again. I ignored it in the beginning. I had a wonderful fulfilling job as an EMT Intermediate on a 911 truck and I volunteered on my local ambulance. I was Chief for 6 years. Life was good. I chose not to believe that I was again losing my hearing. Sadly, eventually I couldn't deny it. Relationships with co-workers were struggling because I would misunderstand people and patients were not getting the best patient care they deserved. I eventually resigned from my position since I felt I wasn't doing my job at 100%, the patients deserved better.

Welcome! I am L. Elizabeth Shaw originally born and raised in Portland, Maine. I am 46 years old and have happily worked in medicine and social work even though I have been on full Social Security Disability since the age of 19. I always worked when I could. I now have severe poly peripheral neuropathy; nerve damage in my hands and feet. This is a progressive illness which began with tingling in my toes to now being unable to feel the ground under my feet.

Marina needs a puppy to turn itself upside down to help her! Marina had an accident while riding her horse and now needs a dog to help.

I am a 62 year old semi-retired registered nurse that has had 12 spine surgeries to correct a severe Scoliosis and now Kyphosis. If you are not familiar with that term it means that my back goes forward into a “Quasimodo” kind of posture - not erect at all. As a result, I have gone from being 5'7" tall to 4ft 11" tall.

I was diagnosed with ALS this past June of 2013. It has been a challenging journey for me and my loving family dealing with this every moment of every day. ALS is a degenerative Motor Neuron Disease. At this point, I have begun to walk with a walker. I keep active, go to work every day, and am driving. As the disease progresses, these activities will become more challenging. Not long after hearing about the work done at NEADS and going through an interview, they provided a beautiful yellow lab named Swanson in March of 2014. She has been such a blessing. Aside from performing tasks that help get me through the day (fetching, retrieving, opening doors, etc), she has brought a sense of joy and peace to our family which was absent for a while. I am now taking care of Swanson so she can take care of me.

Adam wants to have a hearing dog to help him in his daily life. He wants to protect his family from danger by hearing warning sounds such as fire alarms, smoke detectors, sirens. He cannot hear any high-pitched sounds, so he misses much of what is going on around him.

Katya is a petite college student. She was born with spina bifida, has had several surgeries including spinal fusion, and walks with crutches. Her goal is to be able to live independently and make a contribution to the world.

Hi my name is Jessica Sinclair and I am a third year student at Rochester Institute of Technology, studying Journalism. I am trying to raise funds for a Hearing Dog to help me to live independently. I am currently working at Walmart Store, part-time while attending school, in hopes of earning funds towards my goal of acquiring a Hearing dog.

Injured in a car accident in 1982, Cyndi is an incomplete parapalegic and needs to use a cane to help her get around. She attends Charter Oak State College as a commuting student and a dog would be a great friend and assistant.

Scooter helps engage my many clients who suffer from severe and persistent mental illness. My role as Residential Registered Nurse allows me to visit with these individuals, provide physical assessments and advocate for the services they may need. Scooter provides them with tactile stimulation and unconditional love they deserve. Scooter also encourages these individuals to increase their activity level through hikes and trips to the local dog park. In addition I will am able to share this amazing animal with my family. My clients are truly excited about Scooter being an addition to our clinical team. Thank you in advance for considering a donation.

On June 24, 1990 Bob Tamborelli was a victim of a violent crime. He was 27 years old. The event left him paralyzed from the waist down. Bob lives alone and has managed to stay independent through the help of NEADS service dogs. He was recently matched with his third dog CJ. Not only will CJ help Bob with every-day tasks but will also be a constant companion for him. Bob cannot imagine life without a service dog.

I am Sandy Teti pictured with my dog CeCe. I was diagnosed with Juvenile RA when I was 13. Over the years, the disease has left me with a severe mobility impairment. CeCe has been at my side, 24-7, for 8 and a half years, helping me with my balance as I walk with the aid of a walker, picking up dropped items for me, opening doors, nudging elevator buttons among other things and the most important, bringing me the phone to call 911 when I fall.

Hi! I’m Ritamarie Theiler and have long known about the benefit animals bring to our lives. As a teen, I had surgery to correct scoliosis followed by nine months in a body cast. During this time I had many dogs, cats and horses who loved me and helped guide me through the recovery. Without my animals around me, I’m sure this would have been a very depressing and difficult time in my life.

I was recently matched with Cami, my new service dog and she is so helpful! I look forward to building a relationship. I think one of the most rewarding things is the companionship a person develops with their dog. There really are no words to explain the understanding you have because you know your dog and the dog knows you.

Hi my name is Nicole Toscano and I am a student at Providence College. I'm double majoring in Social Work and Health Policy and Management. I have a rare, genetic connective tissue disorder known as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which makes my joints extremely loose causing them to partially and fully dislocate frequently.

Catherine Vrtis is a 5th year Ph.D. candidate at Tufts University. She also has Ehlers-Danlos, a rare, degenerative genetic disorder primarily effective the musculo-skeletal system, and as a result usually has to use a wheelchair for locomotion.

I am extraordinarily lucky to live a full independent life despite my moderate hearing loss. I have a rewarding professional career as an engineer, lived overseas, traveled often, done so much. My passions include travel, photography, hiking and sports where I often am alone. I have developed a growing awareness of my limitations, as much as I don't let them stop me from living life. Unfortunately, I came to head with the limitations of my hearing loss. I've missed hearing the arrival of emergency personnel in my building, I've had many scares where I didn't hear something or someone behind me until too late. Most recently, I was recently robbed and held up for several hours at gun point in my hotel room. The police suspect the robber ran up from behind me and with my loss, I never heard him until it was too late.