Sponsor a Client

My name is Joanne Beaudry, a Speech/Language Pathologist at Wachusett Regional High School in Holden, MA. I am working with classrooms of students on the Autism Spectrum; most have been diagnosed with Asperger's or PDD-NOS . Many of the students have co-morbid diagnosis' of severe anxiety, severe depression, ADHD, and communication disorders. With these secondary diagnosis, their behaviors make it extremely difficult to express their feelings as well as communicate and socialize with peers, and adults in their environment.

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.

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.

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.

Hello, my name is Alyssa DeFazio. I am a sophomore in college at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT/NTID), in Rochester, New York. I have been hearing impaired my entire life and now, I wear two cochlear implants. I received one in July 2004 and the other in July 2010. When I wear both of my implants, I function very well in the hearing world and can hear almost everything. However, when I take them off, such as when I sleep or shower, I cannot hear anything at all. It is completely silent in my ears; I cannot hear even a sound, peep, or beep. When I am sleeping, I go into a deep deep sleep and am unable to wake up to alarms clocks, even with vibration. Even three vibrating alarm clocks do not wake me! I even sleep through fire alarms! This really frightens me and my family. Even with my cochlear implants, I still am unaware of sounds like keys dropping or cars approaching in parking lots.

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 Shevlin now assists me with.

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.

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.

I am Samantha (21 years old) and I have a progressive connective tissue disorder (Stickler Syndrome) that affects my hearing, my vision and my joints. I have moderate/severe hearing loss in both ears. I’ve worn hearing aids since I was seven months old. I am very nearsighted and have worn glasses since I was 13 months old. I have also had extensive joint pain since I was two years old. Looking at me you would never know anything is wrong because I look “normal” I have been accepted to receive a NEADS hearing dog – YEAH!!

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.

Please donate today to support 31-year old Jill Hatcher’s dream of having a hearing dog. Jill was born with a genetic mutation that caused profound bilateral hearing loss. Today, Jill relies on two hearing aids to hear some sounds but even with her hearing aids, Jill is unable to hear essential sounds, such as approaching sirens, tea kettles, stove timers, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire alarms from neighboring apartments.

My name is Kelly Heller and I have been matched with Sebastian, a classroom service dog. I am a District Behavior Specialist for Lebanon School District in Lebanon, PA. Sebastian and I are hard at work in our district’s emotional support, autistic support, and life skills support classrooms. Our students are enjoying having him wander into the classroom for a handshake, a puppy kiss, and another body to read to. The difference he has already made in our district has been incredibly rewarding to see.

My name is Joe Hurley. In May of 2012 I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the nerves. Before that, I was actively competing in Mixed Martial Arts and held a full time job.

I’m Sue Jones a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and I work with clients who suffer from trauma, situational difficulties and mental illness. My primary place of employment is located in a psychiatric facility. As you can imagine, living in such a facility can be difficult and frustrating at times for clients. I have been working in this environment for close to 20 years. At the same time have volunteered as a NEADS “weekend puppy raiser” and was able to bring some of the pups in training to the hospital weekly. The response and excitement from the patients and staff was overwhelming. Playing with these dogs, petting them and loving them, brought smiles and sometimes happy tears to people they encountered. As a result of this positive interaction I applied for a therapy “assistance dog” and was matched with Chips. He is a BIG, lovable yellow lab who puts a smile on every face he meets. Chips has been coming to work with me daily and has a huge fan club. He attends therapy sessions with patients, groups, outside activities and sometimes will help motivate folks to get out of bed and start the day.

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.

Many of you knew my previous service dog Dooley, and how devastating it was for me to lose him. I still miss him everyday as he was my constant companion for the past 8 years. While it is easy to dwell in the past, I am choosing to look forward, and the reality of the situation is that I need another service dog. Yesterday, I went to NEADS for an interview and the beginning of another amazing adventure with NEADS and a new dog.

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.

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.

My name is Karen Landy and I am a rabbi at NewBridge on the Charles – a continuum of care community in Dedham, MA. We are a multigenerational campus with a k-8 Hebrew Day School – the Rashi school. I am so lucky to have found a wonderful chaplaincy dog to partner with me in my work of healing, teaching, and gemilut Hasidim – loving kindness. Tamari, my one year old, Labrador retriever, has touched my residents in ways that compliment and surpass my work. She brings smiles to everyone – residents and staff. She patiently gives visits and love. She participates in therapy and is able to fetch the ball for hours. She is the epitome of unconditional love and everyone had labeled her their dog. We are truly blessed to have her.

I was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease, a neuromuscular illness that occurs when the mitochondria cannot generate enough energy for the body’s demands. It is progressive and incurable, and can lead to a shortened life expectancy. It often includes muscle pain and weakness, neuropathy, extreme fatigue, and complications related to organ failure. To some extent every day, I experience dizziness, nausea, pain, and exhaustion. I am frequently unable to do things for myself. As this devastating disorder has caused increasing limitations, I realized the need for the independence, mobility, and freedom that can come through canine assistance.

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.

My name is Julie Gardner Mandel, Ph.D. I am a Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School and Associate Clinical Psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. I am a Certified Psychoanalyst (graduate of Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute). In addition to teaching medical residents at MGH, I have been an individual and group psychotherapist in private practice, for over 20 years, in Boston’s Back Bay. I treat patients (aged 18-80) suffering form Anxiety, Depression, Trauma Histories and Relationship Difficulties. I specialize in the treatment of patients with Anorexia, Bulimia and Compulsive Over-Eating Disorders.

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.

My name is Nicholas and I am a quadriplegic. In April, 2012 I was involved in a dirt biking accident that would change my life drastically. Since I was about 13 years old, my passion has always been riding dirt bikes with my friends. I was a healthy young man graduating from high school in June of 2012. I had a contract to go into the Navy August, 2012. My dream was to be a Navy SEAL for which I was training hard with a group of young men in the hopes of being accepted to the SEALS once boot camp was finished. My plans changed. I had a tragic accident on April 7th, 2012 which left me as a C-5 quadriplegic.

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.

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.

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.

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.

I am a 24-year-old student at UMass Boston, studying psychology and women's & gender studies, which I love. I was diagnosed with type II spinal muscular atrophy around three years old. It is a genetic disease resulting in the death of motor neurons, causing worsening system-wide muscle weakness. As a small child, I could walk slowly and for short distances. I had a spinal fusion to correct scoliosis at age eleven, which caused me to lose this ability and my weakness began to manifest much more rapidly. I require the use of an electric wheelchair both at home and out in the world. Although I am unable to transfer in and out of my wheelchair on my own, once in it, I go about my day as independently as possible. I've learned to adapt to my surroundings, and have become quite crafty in figuring out alternative ways to do things. Still, it is not an impeccable plan. Things can and do go wrong.

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.

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 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.

Hi, I'm Sandy, pictured here with my second NEADS dog, Rally. I was diagnosed with Juvenile RA when I was 13. Over the years, the disease has left me with a severe mobility impairment.

Hello Friends! Let me tell you all a little bit of my situation. During the past few years, the diabetes that I suffer from has taken its toll. It has rendered me completely disabled. To add insult to injury, I also have developed neuropathy in my left leg. Even with the use of a walker and or cane, getting around is very unsafe for me at best.

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.

For years I took in and helped difficult dogs, and now I’m the one that needs the help of a dog. For more than thirty years I was a psychotherapist often taking on the most difficult cases; and I did the same with dogs, adopting the most challenging and least likely to be rescued from the area shelters. Until 1994, when I was injured in a hiking accident with my dog, I was physically active, including tending my organic garden which fed me and another family. After the accident, I lost the stabilizing ligament in my left knee which began the long decline. Unfortunately, due to another dog clipping me in a neighbor’s yard, the same thing happened to my right knee.

My name is Brent Woodard, and I am 21 years old. Since I was born, I have been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, more specifically, Spastic Quadriplegia. In addition, I am prone to seizures and strokes; I'm considered to be high risk. With all of these associated health concerns, I applied for a service dog. Fortunately, my wish was granted, and I have been approved for a service dog. This dog will become my companion and my safety net, especially with me wanting to be more independent.