Cuter by the Dozen

NEADS World Class Service Dogs

Is pleased to introduce

The Donut Litter

Boston, Chocolate, Éclair, Strawberry, Butternut, Glaze, Maple, Jelly, Coconut, Vanilla, Munchkin, Sprinkles

Born July 24, 2022, between 9pm & 6am
Weight 10 pounds 4 ounces


With great delight, NEADS has welcomed the first litter of puppies born in the brand-new Breeding Center. The Donut Litter inaugurates a much-anticipated new era for NEADS.

Supermom Lexi delivered a jaw-dropping 12 squishy bundles of joy on July 24. That’s double the average Labrador litter, so Lexi really deserves that supermom title. Congratulations, Lexi—and thank you for getting the new Center off and running!

Lexi spent the last days of her pregnancy being cared for in an area especially for pregnant moms, and her pups were born in a state-of-the-art delivery room. An additional benefit of the new center is a private, outdoor yard directly off the delivery room just for the new moms.

Delivering 12 puppies is a marathon for any mom. Lexi whelped her first at 9pm and finished up at 6am the next the morning. Not surprisingly, she didn’t much want to eat during labor, so Manager of Breeding and Puppy Development Kate Albertini and Nursery Attendant Corinne Donahue gave her a spoonful of vanilla ice cream between each pup. Corinne and Kate had a long night, too. A staff work hub adjacent to the delivery room and comfortable staff quarters in the building made it easier.

Two days after birth, Lexi and her family moved to the Acadia Whelping Pod, where Lexi could rest and nurse her babies. Here, the all-important socialization process with puppies begins three days after they are born. Gentle handling and soft voices begin to accustom them to people.

The power wash system and a grooming tub keep dogs and pod safely clean. In a myriad of ways big and small, reports Kate, whelping and raising puppies is more efficient and easier for dogs and staff alike.

What’s all this about donuts? When our pups are born, we don’t yet know if they’ll go into our program or head to another that’s a better fit. Our puppies get their “real” names through donations to our Name a Puppy Program when they are accepted as future NEADS Service Dogs. Until then, we use their “litter” names. Breeding Center staff have a lot of fun coming up with these – we’ve had litters named for pasta shapes, Pokemon characters, and ice cream flavors, among many others. Lexi’s adorable dozen immediately made nursery staff think of the joy in a box of donuts!

Many thanks to all whose support has helped us create this state-of-the-art Breeding Center, including lead donors Larry and Nanine Costa and those who supported the spaces mentioned in this article: Anthony Matteo & Denise Ranucci (delivery room); James & Eileen Henderson (staff break area); A. Kim Saal (staff lounge); Julie Wolf (Acadia Whelping Pod); and Laura J. Niles Foundation (brood yard).