Lucas & Social Dog Rory
Rory is the first thing Lucas thinks about in the morning, and her name is the last thing he says when he goes to sleep. To say that she is an anchor in his life is probably an understatement. She's both an emotional and physical anchor in his life. It's been an emotional journey for all of us in the family. It means we can go to places that we hadn't before. And she provides a sense of constancy and consistency in our lives every day. Whether we need to run errands and take her with us, or whether we talk about her on our way to and from school, or anywhere we go, it's her name that he says very often every day. -- Lucas' mom Kristina
Rayanie & Social Dog Chief
My name is Rayanie, and Chief is my best friend, and I wouldn't trade him for anything. -- Rayanie, age 7
Nicole & Service Dog Murray
I think my most favorite moment is when I first came home with Murray. My daughter, who was nine at the time, for the last two years has been helping me take off my shoes and take off my socks and put them on, and pick things up off the floor, and hence, never able to be a regular child. The first night I brought Murray home I dropped something on the floor and she came and I looked in her eyes and I told her I was okay. And she had this big smile on her face because she said to me "I can go play? I can go play a game and I don't have to worry?" I told her, no, I was fine. That was my first special moment that made me realize how special NEADS was. And every day as my disease progresses I also realize the wonderful things that they teach these dogs, and I still have my independence and my dignity thanks to what NEADS has offered. -- Nicole
Nicole & Service Dog Watson
I go to Providence College, and being on my own is -- it was very difficult. Watson takes things that used to get me so frustrated and makes them fun. I drop something, it's like his play, he gets to just have so much fun with it, and I don't get frustrated anymore because I know he'll be right there to help me. He just, he knows exactly what I need and where I'm at, and he loves to help, which is the best feeling in the world to know that someone is there for you and wants to be there for you. I am so lucky and thankful to NEADS. This year would have been a lot different, harder without him.
Jennifer & Service Dog Justice
The biggest thing that I think she does for me is, I never used to go out by myself, because I felt kind of weird. People would look at me and then would look away. I think they're uncomfortable looking at someone in a scooter, or they don't want to stare, or they think, there but for the grace of God go I, that could be me. Instead of people looking away, everywhere I go with Justice, everyone smiles at me, and people come and talk to me and it's really nice to have that connection with people.
Larry & Service Dog Apple
Apple is my second Service Dog through NEADS. I got the first Service Dog Emmie, ten years ago, and sadly she passed last November from cancer. There was a little bit of a process for me physically, emotionally to be prepared to get another Service Dog, but when I was ready there was only one place I would come, and that's here, here at NEADS. Apple just brings me so much independence and joy. Just a terrific dog. A wonderful friend and companion.
John & Service Dog Owen
In the morning when I wake up I usually look down and see Owen with my sock in his mouth, wagging his tail, as if to say "I got your sock in my mouth. You got my cookie." And so begins our day. I drop everything, Owen picks up everything. Owen helps me in the kitchen closing cabinets and carrying things for me. He also helps me with my retiring service dog Chadly, and they will go out together and Owen will stay with her, stay close, and Chadly will lie down, and Owen will come next to and touch her, just to let her know that he's next to her.
Rene & Service Dog Saint
I just want to say thank you so much to NEADS. I got my life back from getting Saint. [Assistance Dogs for Veterans] is an amazing program for giving back to soldiers. So I just want to say thank you.
Andres & Service Dog Gunny
Gunny has been one of the stable parts of a very unstable life over the past two years of recovery, and really there's not much more to say after that.
Aaron & Hearing Dog Tucker
It is hard for me to put into words how much my new Battle Buddy means to me. I'm sure if you ask any service member who has been in combat to define how they feel about their Battle Buddy who has been there to cover their "six" and keep them alive, in some cases save them, they would be hard-pressed to express in words their gratitude and appreciation for them. When people ask me about Tucker, what it's like to have him, I always reply he is a force multiplier, one of which I would never have imagined. He picks me up when I'm feeling down, and is just what the doctor ordered when I'm feeling ill. Eventually I'll need to have my left hip replaced as the shrapnel that sits on it causes me pain when the weather gets cold and damp. It's on those days Tucker will come up to me, rest his head on my lap and look at me waiting to say "Okay, jump." And he jumps on me and lays right on top of my left thigh and my hip, causing the burning, aching pain to subside, and allowing me actually to rest and fall asleep. There is so much more I can write, but I would say it's great to have a friend who loves me unconditionally and is always there for me watching -- watching out for him and for me.