45 Years of Changing Lives

Today, NEADS offers the widest array of programs in the industry while still holding true to our core mission of producing Service Dogs for individuals with disabilities. We are proud of our reputation as a pioneer, leader, and innovator. As we celebrate our 45th year, we thought it only fitting to let our World Class Service Dogs tell our history.

Nugget drawing

1978: First Service Dog for Hearing/First Dog placed

Nugget, a hound mix, was placed with Larry in 1978 and was part of the original Hearing Dog program. Larry returned to NEADS over the years for his second and third Service Dog for Hearing.

Kendrick drawing

1988: First Service Dog

Kendrick, a Golden Retriever, was placed with Ted in 1988 and was NEADS’ first placement as a Service Dog.

Zenas drawing

1999: First Dog to Graduate from Prison PUP Program

Zenas, a Golden Retriever, was placed in 1999 with Loretta as her third Service Dog. Zenas was trained in the Gardner facility and was the first dog to graduate from the NEADS Prison PUP Program.

Rainbow drawing

2006: First Service Dog for a Veteran

Rainbow, a black Lab, was placed with Roland in 2006. She was NEADS’ first placement in a brand-new program for a veteran with a physical disability. Rainbow retired from client work in 2010 and became a popular spokes-dog for NEADS.


2007: First Service Dog for a Female Combat Veteran

Lila, a yellow Lab, was placed in 2007 with Sue who lives in Tennessee. She was the first female combat veteran to receive a Service Dog as part of the NEADS veteran’s program. Sue is a double amputee who was injured in Afghanistan.


2009: First Trauma Assistance Dog (TAD)

Ronnie, a black Lab, was matched with Kevin in 2009 as one of the first dogs to be placed with a veteran with PTSD. Kevin later joined NEADS as a member of the Board of Directors and then as a staff member.


2013: First Service Dog placed with Boston Marathon Bombing survivor

Rescue, a black Lab, was placed with Jessica in 2013. Rescue is the first placement for NEADS with an amputee survivor of the Boston Marathon Bombing. He and Jessica have traveled near and far advocating on behalf of NEADS.


2018: First Breeder dog for NEADS Breeding Program

On Nov 21, 2018, NEADS Breeder dog Acadia gave birth to the first NEADS-bred, born, and raised litter of purpose-bred puppies. Before retiring in 2021, she had 4 litters and 31 puppies, 18 of which entered the NEADS training program. Acadia now enjoys life as a cherished pet.

The last 45 years has brought tremendous growth and change to NEADS. Your support will help us continue to serve our clients, community, and canines for the next 45 years and beyond.