NEADS in the News
Special dog meeting young Mikey's NEADS
PEPPERELL -- Eight-year-old Mikey Mongelli is playing fetch with his yellow labrador retriever Foxy. He finds a stick on the ground and holds it above Foxy's head. She playfully bites at the stick and they tug back and forth for a few minutes before tiring in the 90-degree heat. Foxy lies down for a rest, and Mikey collapses on top of her, hugging and stroking her in the shade of a tree. Mikey, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3, was paired with Foxy by NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services) last summer as a way of calming his anxiety and helping his social adjustment.
Milford mom raises funds for daughter's service dog
MILFORD — Seven-year-old Rayanie Castillo clutched the stuffed yellow dog, playing with its ears and adjusting its “service dog” vest, as she said what she hopes to be when she grows up: a veterinarian. Rayanie, who has a genetic condition called Williams syndrome that causes medical problems including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays and learning disabilities, is set to receive a service dog of her own from NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans in a few months – if her family can raise $9,500.
NEADS Nation News -- Summer is here!
Summer is perhaps the busiest season at NEADS. After the quiet calm of winter, the warm weather brings an abundance of walks, fairs, rides, runs, concerts, golf classics and more -- all with the goal of supporting NEADS! These events, while incredibly fun and exciting, serve a greater purpose. They enable us to raise funds to help pay for the unique partnerships that NEADS develops between our service dogs and our clients. We never lose sight of that important fact -- that even when we're having a fantastic time at one of our many summer events, we are doing so for a greater good!
GREAT TURNOUT FOR THIRD ANNUAL PUPPY DUCK RACE & FAIR
The 3rd Annual Paddling Puppy Race and Fair took place on May 18th on the NEADS campus in Princeton. Thankfully, skies were blue and the sun was shining as more Puppy Ducks than ever weaved and bobbed down the Stillwater River to the finish line at the end of the pond. The grand prize winner of the puppy duck race, Mary Beth Keena of Hubbardston, will spend two nights at the Fairmont Copley hotel in Boston, with two plush dogs: Liberty, who symbolizes the NEADS logo, and Buckles, who represents our many client/dog partnerships. More than 20 wonderful prizes were awarded to the winners, including Red Sox tickets, a variety of outstanding gift baskets, and entertainment passes to the Ecotarium, Old Sturbridge Village, Chucky Cheese and so much more.
The campus was filled with families and fun and, of course, lots of canines...working dogs, family pets, and puppies in training. Everyone was delighted by the live Music, the vendor's marketplace, the old fashioned games, Bridgette the Clown, a face painter, a wonderful raffle table, and tasty treats! The band Livestock performed acoustic bluegrass, country and Americana. Also featured were To and Fro with Jordan Richmond, Gayle Craig and Mark Ellis, and Michelle Savanelle, singing the Star Spangled Banner. A flag retirement ceremony was held on the grounds by the cadets of the Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School JR ROTC.
Many thanks to all who donated their time, including the vendors, our donors, volunteers, ticket outlets and the tireless work of the NEADS Young (at heart) Professionals. All of your support made this day such a success! Plans are already coming together to make the 4th Annual Paddling Puppy Race and Fair even more fun next year!
Proceeds of this event benefit the Prison Pup Partnership Program.
Service Dog Liberty offers Brenda Bodanza True Liberty
The past 9 years of my life had been such a struggle with my disease of Multiple Sclerosis. I was forced to give up a job that I loved, and watch as the progression of my disease robbed something from me everyday. I would fall all the time, as I no longer had the sense of balance. I did the drunken walk without the drink, and I found myself avoiding many social things/places in life.
Well that all changed because of Liberty. In these past three years, my life has transformed beyond my wildest dreams. She has provided me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, to do many public speaking engagements, beside travel to different cities in support of NEADS, where it all started.
Liberty has given me my life back. She doesn't care how I walk, or what I look like. She doesn't care when I am sad, though she is sure to always turn my frown upside right, for no matter what, through out the day, she brings me constant light. She has provided me with a tremendous amount of unconditional love, always happy to work and help me even when I don't ask her to. She draws attention everywhere we go, sometimes forcing me to stop and appreciate the small things in life.
She is my shadow, my amazing gift from God, for she has allowed me to grow and look beyond my disease, and strive beyond my dreams. She has allowed me to fight for handicapped individuals and to make it known that service dogs are our breath when we feel like we can't breathe. Because of her, I am stronger than I have ever been. She has allowed me to not focus on this horrific disease but instead to walk forward accomplishing all that I set my mind too. It has been a long time since my body has hit the ground. I am healthier than I have ever been and I finally accomplished my dream. Together we have been afforded a full-time job, and I have gone off of disability. So for today, Liberty and I strive, because together, we can conquer whatever we set our hearts to do, for she is the driving force right beside me!
NEADS dogs help veterans with PTSD
Congressman James McGovern met with veterans at the NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans campus in Princeton on May 10. After listening to the veterans' stories, he vowed to speak with the Veterans Administration so the agency will acknowledge that NEADS dogs can help make a difference in the lives of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Free service dogs offered for bombing victims
PRINCETON — NEADS/Dogs for the Deaf and Disabled Americans is offering free service dogs to Boston Marathon bombing victims. The Princeton nonprofit said victims who have been left with a physical disability will be offered the assistance dogs through the creation of a new fund. The money raised will be restricted to cover the costs involved with supplying the dogs to the victims should they decide they want one.
NEADS Nation News -- Reaching out to the Community
The month of April went by in a blur, as all of Boston, all of Massachusetts, and the whole United States tried to recover from the shared trauma of the Boston marathon bombings. Everyone wanted to know what they could do to help. People felt united as a community, but as individuals, people felt sort of helpless. At NEADS, we felt no differently. Our Boston neighbors just a few dozen miles to the East were suffering and we wanted to help. But what could we do?
Concord inmates learn responsibility working with dogs
Concord — Pablo, an inmate at Concord's medium-security prison, worked during one afternoon last month to teach his service dog in training, Milo, how to pick up crutches. "Fetch," said Pablo, as he watched Milo, a 10-month-old chocolate Labrador, walk over to a crutch lying on the ground. "Hold, hold, hold," he said as Milo returned to him holding the crutch in his mouth. "Now give. Good boy."
WFD 6K sponsors service dogs
WORCESTER — Three puppies being sponsored by the WFD 6K for National Education for Assistance Dogs Services training received a warm welcome today when they visited the Franklin Street fire station. From left are dogs Rescue, Maurice and Blaze. Behind them are Firefighter John Peters, left, and Lt. Joseph Gaffney. Rescue was sponsored in memory of Firefighter Jon D. Davies Sr. and Maurice in memory of Lt. Maurice "Mo" Zingarelli.