A Caring Community Opens Its Doors to NEADS Service Dogs in Training
When NEADS brought several puppies to Trinity Church in Concord (MA) to introduce weekend puppy raising to the congregation, Stephen and Jen Newbold knew right away it was something they wanted to be part of. They also appreciated the connection between the work their church was doing in the Concord prisons and the NEADS Prison PUP Program.
The Newbolds have raised five puppies to date, an experience they’ve shared with their entire church community. The puppies attend services, visit the nursery, and socialize at coffee hour. They participate in a variety of activities, from church pageants, lectures, and youth group to vestry meetings and the Blessing of the Animals. The clergy has always been appreciative of the pups’ presence in the services, including welcoming their attendance at the communion rail. Each puppy has been welcomed in and blessed on their departure with special prayers and recognition during the service. Two have been blessed by the bishop as well. Trinity Church also supports NEADS financially though plate donations and general funding gifts.
“The church environment has been great for socializing and exposure,” says Stephen Newbold. “Crowds, music, pews for ‘under’, costumes, children, elderly, wheelchairs, walkers, classrooms, office and meeting environments are all available for training the pups. Of course, we limit exposure as appropriate for the age of the dog. With the youngest pups, we might attend smaller and shorter early services. As the dog matures, we can attend longer services with more people. The major events we save for those ready for more advanced training.”
NEADS is grateful for the Newbolds and the entire Trinity Church congregation for all they do to support the NEADS mission. Thank you!