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.
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.Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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.Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
We could never have begun to imagine the wonderful, strong bond that Thekla and Keely would forge. Thekla was matched with Keely about a year and a half ago. Keely is Thekla’s best friend. She is loyal, she comforts when sad; shares joy; gives love unconditionally. Keely helps Thekla navigate socially when out and about.…Read More
Willis has helped tremendously since he came onboard. I can tell countless stories, but one in particular stands out. Willis was on the stand with a 13-year-old girl who had to testify against her father’s abuse. She bonded with Willis and it made it easy for her to talk with the Prosecutor and me about…Read More