Melissa & Service Dog Clipper
Dreams do come true. Life is complete with Clipper. He's given me the happiness I've never known. And he has really made my dreams come true. --Melissa
Joseph & Social Dog Rave
[Rave] gave me my independence. -- Joseph
Ryan & Service dog Noonan
I don't know where to start. I just have to thank the NEADS staff just for everything. Noonan has just changed my life.
Karen & Service Dog Sasha
The last six months has been a blessing. When I received Sasha I was trying to go back to work full time with a spinal cord injury, and Sasha has quickly adapted to life at UConn. She thinks she is a student. She enjoys picking up the numerous things I drop, opening doors, pushing buttons, and unwinding with the students at the end of the day. Overall she's given me the chance to live independently thousands of miles away from family.
Jackie & Hearing Dog Chantey
I was diagnosed at four and a half with a hearing loss, and it's been the past couple years that my hearing has fluctuated. There's some mornings I wake up and I can't hear anything. She's impacted my life tremendously. I can have a normal alarm clock now, and respond to people calling my name on campus. It's just amazing.
Bennett & Service Dog Mercury
NEADS has been a part of my life for about 12 years now, because Mercury is my second Service Dog. When I had my first Service Dog, I was living away at college. As time changed, my body got weaker. I knew when I needed a new dog I needed him to be able to get close to me, and cuddle me, because I can't cuddle him. Mercury's just been the most perfect match, and I couldn't thank people enough. Mercury makes my day - my days. There's not one day that he can't make me smile.
Stuart & Service Dog Swanson
The medical community should spend 2 weeks at NEADS to see what is involved in healing people. Healing is more than apparatus. Healing is more than medicine. Healing comes when you have a companion that can do those things for you that you wish you could do but couldn't, and the emotional bond is so strong. I just wish that every medical professional could spend 2 weeks here [at NEADS] and see what happens to transform a life.
Sheryl and Service Dog for Therapy Rylie
I work as a patient advocate at Boston Medical, and he delivers love and acceptance and caring to patients, family and staff. And many are patients who life has not been kind to, but Rylie doesn't care. His favorite patient is a terminally-ill patient who lost a sister to the same illness a year ago. Rylie and this young man have a special relationship, and he said to the specialist at work, "I know I'll be okay because Rylie will always be with me." And I can't say much more than that.
Suzanne & Service Dog for the Ministry Maestro
I'm an ordained minister, called to ministry on the margins, is what I felt for so long. I ended up being invited into the healing paws program at Boston Medical Center ‑‑ encountering every time I go on campus the suffering that goes under the radar, and it is an amazing thing to hold the leash of what I call an icon of unconditional love. Maestro's actually an angel in a dog suit. I thought I could really help people. Well, you know, the great southern writer Flannery O'Connor wrote a story once called "The life you save may be your own." That's how I feel working at Boston Medical Center with Maestro. Seeing Maestro, petting or bearing headlong into that lush fur seems to be akin to dropping down into memories like when you smell fresh‑cut grass or smell the perfume your beloved grandmother once wore. It is here that people encounter what I believe is God, the life force of creation that exists outside of time, and it is here in this thin place between heaven and earth that people find the most profound comfort. In this way Maestro is a spiritual guide because Maestro unlocks this timeless place. As I go on my rounds, tethered to such magnificence, and I know I am not a healer, doing anything myself, but I am the recipient of so much love and grace.
Scott & Service Dog for the Ministry Lazer
To this point I've had Lazer and been working with him for about 5 weeks only, but he's already made a huge impact. My very first trip to the local nursing home I was visiting a resident who has Lou Gehrig's disease, a very serious illness. I've been visiting her for about three or four years now, and I've never once seen her smile, so serious is the illness. As soon as Lazer and I walked into the room her face lit up, and she used whatever motion she had in her right hand to reach out and pet him. I could replicate that story many times over, just in 5 weeks, the impact that Lazer has made, and will make in the time to come.