Client Stories

NEADS brings together a community of puppy raisers, prison inmates, on-staff trainers, and others to produce a highly trained Service Dog who is then matched with someone to mitigate a specific disability.

There is nothing more telling about the successful and lasting human-animal partnerships this community creates than the stories of the lives these World Class Service Dogs change.

Why Mutti is My Hero

For children with autism or other developmental disabilities, a NEADS Service Dog can make all the difference These dogs are trained in a variety of tasks that can address a range of issues facing a child with autism and his or her family. Maddy and her family applied to NEADS with the hopes that a…

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Jason and Service Dog Ernie

Jason was diagnosed with PTSD in 2006, three years after returning from a difficult tour of duty with the Marine Corps in Iraq. He was in a very dark place, unable to leave his home, unable to trust or relate to other people, unable to be the husband or father he wanted to be. He…

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What It Is Like Having A Service Dog

I have always been a dog person.

When I was injured in 2011, I briefly entertained the idea of having a dog, but felt I needed to take care of myself more and didn’t want to put extra responsibility on the caregivers who help me. You see, after my spinal cord injury, my life became a constant battle between different therapies, doctors’ appointments, home exercise, and just getting my life back to some normalcy. This took me a little over a year, but even then, I didn’t feel as though I could comfortably take care of a dog. Now that I have Oliver, I somewhat regret not getting a dog sooner.… but then, if I had gotten a dog sooner, it wouldn’t have been Oliver.

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NEADS Graduates 22 New Service Dog Teams

NEADS held its 76th Graduation Ceremony on November 4 at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School (“Monty Tech”) in Fitchburg, MA. Supported by family, friends, and NEADS staff, volunteer puppy raisers, and other supporters, NEADS Service Dog teams spoke about living with a Service Dog during a moving ceremony to celebrate their life-changing partnerships.In honor of…

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Stephanie and Assistance Dog Tootsie

Tootsie, an Assistance Dog for the Ministry, was matched with Pastor Stephanie Smith of Cathedral in the Night in October 2017. Since that time, she’s made quite an impact on the Northampton, MA congregation. Pastor Smith continues the story. Cathedral in the Night is out-of-the-box – literally, as we don’t have a building, and we…

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Jocelyn and Service Dog Sammie

Jocelyn, an Air Force veteran and NEADS first female TAD client, was matched with Service Dog Sammie in 2017. Here’s her story:

I now know why there is a sign in the NEADS client house that says, “Every once in a while a dog enters your life and changes everything.” Little did I know just how quickly everything would change for the better when Sammie entered my life.

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Will and Hearing Dog Digby

I first met a Hearing Dog when I was in my 50s and thought it was truly amazing, even more so when I learned that just a month later this brave dog led her partner to safety as her house was engulfed in flames. Without this helper, the woman would have died. My wife and…

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Kayne and Service Dog Nikki

Nikki has been with me for about a year now. She has changed my life dramatically, and I can’t imagine it without her. Nikki helps me with my daily tasks. She picks up items I drop, opens and closes doors, turns light switches on and off, pushes buttons at elevators and handicap doors, and fetches…

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Chris and Hearing Dog Masie

I first learned about the Hearing Ear Dog Program (now NEADS) in an article in the Disabled American Veterans magazine in 1982. I contacted the program and was interviewed and matched with my first Hearing Dog, Fitzgerald, a Black Lab/Pit-Bull mix. Fitzy was with me from 1983 until 1994. He was followed in 1993 by…

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Josh and Social Dog Badger

Badger has brought light back to Josh’s life. He’s Josh’s best friend, consistently and reliably by his side. Badger’s goofy personality makes him a perfect fit–Badger is on point when he should be, but extra silly on free time, making him more relate-able & perfectly Badger. On the day of this photo, Badger had perfect…

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