Sponsor a Client

Hi everyone! My name is Tim Appel and I am a founding teacher at the Roger Clap Innovation School, now Roger Clap Elementary, in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston.I work with a diverse group of students aged 6 to 9 years old, including children of immigrants and students with special needs. I am extremely excited to partner with NEADS to enrich the learning environment for my students, and provide them with much needed emotional support via an in-service classroom dog. 

Hey readers, I'm Michael Argenyi. I'm now in my 30s and I'm deaf. When I was a mere months old, my parents got the diagnosis and all my life, I was raised to be as independent as possible. Sometimes independence backfires. It was right here in Boston that one night my dog and another dog I was taking care of jumped off the bed and ran to the door. I got up and followed them, and that's when I saw the smoke in the staircase. A look out the bay windows onto Commonwealth Avenue confirmed it - a fireman was high upon a ladder opposite my window but he had no clue I was waving at him. 

Imagine a place where you know your neighbor- not just their name, but their parents’ names. Where your child’s teacher comes over for dinner. A present day Mayberry. This is the town of Rossville, Indiana. In a city that is mostly comprised of agricultural industry, the love of animals is something that seems to be innate in our citizens. We still have “Drive your tractor to school” day and the yearly tradition of breakfast with Santa in the barn- complete with a petting zoo. This is the way of life in Rossville. Community, service to others, and family are tenants that drive every decision.

Our son Derek has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder along with several sensory issues. Derek is a very smart tenderhearted child, but it can be challenging for him to fit in. He doesn't understand why. It is upsetting for him and hurts him, which pains us deeply. He often struggles when entering social situations and becomes very anxious as a result.

Six months ago, Derek received a NEADS Service dog names Jean. During this time, we have seen many positive changes in areas that he struggles with. There has been a boost in his confidence.  Jean is an answer to prayer and is Derek’s miracle dog.

I started losing my hearing about 15 years ago. I use to hunt and fish and when my hearing started going I quit doing those things because I couldn't identify what was around me and it was not safe for me to continue doing so.  While I was living in PA our company scheduled a hearing test and the lady that took my test asked me how I am getting by not hearing. I didn't realize how bad my hearing loss was until I failed the test terribly.  For years i would just agree and nod at people when they spoke to me like I knew what they were saying, but that didn't always work.  

I am a 36 year old single mother to 5 wonderful children, who choose me to be there mom as much as I choose them. For over 10 years I was a foster/adoptive parent to over 60 foster children, and it was one of the best experiences in my life. I have always been a very active person, whether that is out in nature, helping out at my church, working with my children, or baking anything and everything! My daughter and I were in a car accident in 2013. Immediately my life changed. The accident resulted in extensive injuries, cognitive issues, and relying on a wheelchair. I have had to adapt and find new ways to do a lot of things, even the smallest things. Yet I am a fighter and will not give up. I believe that working with NEADS, and being matched with a service dog will allow me even more to get back some of the independence that I lost.

Julianna Cognetta (one of our newest NEADS clients) has reached her fundraising goal but she has graciously decided to continue to fundraise for the benefit of other clients.  Go Julianna!  

All additional donations will be used to help NEADS clients reach their fundraising goals.  

NEADS extends our deepest gratitude to the Cognetta family for their dedication and generosity!  

Hi! My name is Julianna Cognetta and I am a senior at Marlborough High School. I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when I was born and have been in a wheelchair ever since. In the Fall of 2018, I am planning to go to college for engineering. I want to go into engineering to build assistive technology for others with disabilities and allow them the same opportunities that I have had. My goal is to live on-campus by myself. A service dog will allow me the independence that I have always wanted.

Meet our son Timothy! Timothy is a happy and energetic 9-year-old boy. He was born with autism. Autism makes life…interesting. Before preschool he was accurate to a 1/16th note on the drums. After playing with his grandmother’s piano for a few minutes, he began playing music from memory. He also knows a lot of facts about airports, animals, geography, and math.

Artist and photographer, independent and caring, these are the words I want to define me, not cancer and rheumatoid arthritis patient. My name is Tracy Cornell and since 2004 when diagnosed with my first battle with Ovarian cancer, to 2006 when the Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) diagnosis was made, my life changed dramatically.

In November 2017 I was matched with my service partner Skye. I had a feeling that my life would change, but I didn’t realize how much. He has helped me navigate through living with a mobility issues. He picks things up for me that I drop. He even opens and closes the door. One thing I never knew was how much he would affect me emotionally. He has given me a new lease on life and a reason to keep going every day. I am forever thankful for the work that NEADS does to change so many lives. It costs $42,000 to raise and train Skye. Please help with a donation.

Empathy, self-confidence, inspiration, and love are core foundations to a successful learning environment.  In my role as a Therapeutic Special Educator in an elementary school, I am able to support students in their development of a sense of self and security.  We work together to identify and solve problems collaboratively and the tools they need to be successful. 

My name is Lindsay Curtius. I am an Education Specialist at San Diego Cooperative Charter School 2. My passion is supporting all children as they learn, grow, and thrive at the school I love. SDCCS2 is a progressive, developmentally-based, child-centered program. We focus on developing empathy and social emotional skills through healthy attachment, pro-social communication, and relationships. We are designated as an Ashoka Changemaker school through the Start Empathy Initiative and we are dedicated to the development of each individual child as a whole person.

A service dog has been a welcome addition that fully aligns with our school’s mission and vision.

I am a clinical social worker and an adjustment counselor working in the Plymouth Public Schools. I have focused my career for the last 25 years working with vulnerable children with a range of challenges. Presently I am the clinician in a therapeutic program that focuses on offering support, education, and counseling for students who have not been able to reach their potential in the mainstream classroom.

Hello, My name is Judi Earnest.  I have worked at Wayside Trauma Intervention Services in Milford since 2010 and I have volunteered since 2008.   The clients I work with are victims/survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, children that witness domestic violence and family members of homicide victims.

Hi my name is Lillian Fraser-Gray and I am 12 years old. I have been in intensive therapy since 18 months old. I have been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, moderate retardation, Major Anxiety Disorder, ADHD, Mood Disorder, Auditory Processing Disorder, Mixed Receptive and Expressive Language Disorder, Sensory Integration Disorder, and cognitively stuck at about mid-kindergarten level. I have a very hard time dealing with all things going on around me. I am very happy to be in this process for a service dog to help me remain calm so that I may go out into the world and not be afraid or able to handle it. I am truly happy and eager to be able for this opportunity and grateful for NEADS. Thank you very much, Lily

My name is Matt, and I have lived with profound hearing loss my whole life. I did not receive hearing aids until I was seven years old. It has been a long journey to get to where I am today, but I am still far from being 100%.

My name is Sumer Gill. Fun fact about me-I am partially deaf. I have been diagnosed with genetic and progressive vestibulocochlear nerve deafening which means I have problems hearing. This is most likely due to a condition that I have, Turners Syndrome, which is a genetic disorder that I was born with and that comes with several health problems including; Osteoporosis (brittle bones), a heart murmur (one of my valves is incomplete), hypothyroidism, and of course my hearing issues.

The photo is of me with a handful of my students from the Resiliency for Life Program www.resiliencyforlife.org at Framingham High School in Framingham, MA.  We are a voluntary program that supports about 50 students in grades 9-12 who are struggling in school.  In almost all cases our students’ academic struggles are rooted in their social/emotional challenges.  Many of our amazing students suffer from depression and anxiety, and in several cases they have undergone significant trauma like rape, abuse, hunger, or the sudden death of a parent.

Benny has been a blessing to my ministry since we started working together. He has sat at the feet of grieving family members as they prepared for the funeral of a loved one. He also sat at their feet during the funeral. He often knows before I do that people are struggling and in need of the comfort he provides.

Hello, my name is Donna Kerr. I have Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy type 2I (LGMD 2I), I am also a Breast Cancer Survivor. I live in a very small town in North Carolina. I live in farm country, rolling fields of corn and cotton, one of the best places I have ever lived. I work part-time in a bookstore at a small Community College a couple towns over.

Let me just start by saying - thank you for your time. I have had hearing issues for several years but I still like to walk, garden, swim, and lead an active life. A NEADS Service Dog for hearing would help me do that.

Hey! My name is Tyler and I have Spina Bifida, which has had me wheelchair bound my entire life. Don’t think for a second I’ve let that slow me down, though. I’m an avid sled hockey player, and use my personal experience and disability to help children in similar situations learn to embrace who they are and the fun that team physical activity can give! I do my best to never let my physical disability slow me down, though some things are just too physically difficult to perform on my own. It was for this reason that I applied for a NEADS service dog, and I was thrilled to have been accepted in June 2017.

For more than 11 years, I, Tamela Manhart, have worked with victims of domestic violence and sexual crimes in Bannock County, Idaho. As the Victim Witness Coordinator, I have witnessed the effects that the court system can have on children, elderly, vulnerable adults and others that have faced the long and sometimes frightening moments in the courtroom as part of the navigation through the legal system.

In 2016, I traveled to WA to attend a multiple day conference on the benefits that Courthouse Facility Dogs can offer to these victims, especially child victims of sexual abuse. I was amazed! I knew it was something I wanted to move forward with, on behalf of all the innocent children, adults and the families that these types of crimes have an everlasting effect on.

My name is Tia Maxson. I cannot begin to tell you how much Millie, my Service Dog for hearing, has made a positive impact on my life. Millie has enriched my life in ways beyond what I could have ever imagined. I am single sidedly deaf in one ear and have 20% hearing loss in the other. There were many things I struggled with before having Millie at my side. For example, I often wouldn’t wake from my alarm in the morning, causing me to be late to work day after day.

Here I am with Dekker, my new service dog.  For many people, great matches are made in heaven but this match was made at NEADS and couldn’t be more perfect.  One of Dekker’s most important tasks is to keep me moving and we take long walks every day, regardless of the weather. I walk slow…he walks slow. I stop...he stops. I drop things...he picks them up. Dekker doesn’t tie my shoe laces (yet) but if I need to bend down he gives me the support I need to stand back up without losing my balance. These are only a few of the ways Dekker serves me and eases the challenges of MS in my life. 

Dekker and I are grateful for everyone who has donated towards my fundraising goal of $8000.  You have brought two lives, one canine, one human, together as an unstoppable team of love.

Hi Everyone! I’m Paula.  I am a T8 paraplegic and have been for 8 years now.  Since my injury I have continued to work, ski, bike, and generally be active. I am a mother of two amazing young adults who have left the nest.

Hi, my name is Jennifer Moro and I am 43 years old.  I suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis, degenerative disc disease Spondylothesis and severe scoliosis. In 2011, I needed to have spinal fusion surgery. I went back to work afterwards but the pain was so bad I could no longer sit at my desk all day.  I was forced to retire in 2012 from a job I absolutely loved. 

In the short time Doc and I have been together he has already changed my life. He picks up items I've dropped. He shuts the light so I don't have to get up. He goes and retrieves items from the fridge. He has reduced my pain by completing these tasks. Doc has changed my life. NEADS has changed my life......Forever

Hello, my name is Christopher Rushe and I am 45 years old.  I was born hearing, but became deaf at 25 from a condition called otosclerosis. It is a condition that affects the stapies bone and prevents transmission of sounds. I had a surgery to try and regain hearing in my right ear, but I knew even then that it was only a matter of time before I would be "deaf again" as this surgery is not a permanent fix. I say "deaf again" like that because the truth is I've been deaf since I lost my hearing at 25.

It’s been a long time and a long way since being a daily runner and a passionate fan of classical music, even owning my own stereo components store.  Hello everyone.  My name is Joseph Sala.  It has been for me a fortunate life having a number of varied and, I believe, successful careers.  Toward the end of my career, I had an accelerated hearing loss that began to interfere with my life. 

My name is Ellyn Salkin and I have been matched with Murray, a Service Dog for Therapy. As an advocate, counselor, and coach for people with autism spectrum disorders, other needs and different abilities, I'm thankful to have Murray by my side to provide comfort and encouragement. There are so many ways that Murray can assist in a therapeutic session or activity.

My name is Phyllis Samara. I was born with a moderate hearing loss, but I have never let my hearing loss stand in the way of accomplishing my goals. I have worked as an occupational therapist for 45 years. I graduated from the Sargent College at Boston University and I am a retired Professor Emerita from Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, MA. I have always had a passion for working with children and this led me to found the Barrett Family Wellness Center, a pediatric speech and occupational therapy clinic, in Northborough, MA.

Hi my name is Jessica Sinclair and I am a third year student at Rochester Institute of Technology, studying Journalism. I am trying to raise funds for a Hearing Dog to help me to live independently. I am currently working at Walmart Store, part-time while attending school, in hopes of earning funds towards my goal of acquiring a Hearing dog.

Cathedral in the Night is an outdoor church in Northampton, MA. Our community is a blend of people experiencing poverty, homelessness, and addiction; people living with mental illness; and people seeking a social justice-oriented, progressive church. Our weekly Sunday worship services include a hot, free dinner, insuring that there is a community meal every day of the week. We serve between 80-100 meals each Sunday. Additionally, we serve a weekly luncheon at a veterans support group in downtown Northampton. A ministry dog would be an incredible gift of support and healing in our community, where many people are marginalized and often overlooked.

My name is Katelynne Steinke, and I am a Paralympic hopeful. In November of 2008, I was in a car accident that severely injured my left leg. After two years of trying to salvage the limb, doctors made the decision to amputate above the knee. I immediately got involved with adaptive sports and worked for Spaulding Rehab in their adaptive sports programming. In June of 2012, I started experiencing complications in that residual limb and in December of that year, doctors decided to do a back surgery to help with the symptoms. Unfortunately, I received terrible, neglectful care that resulted in a MRSA infection in my spine, leaving me a T8 complete paraplegic.

Jones knows he is responsible for me, just as I am responsible for him.  I am safer because of him.

Hello, my name is Tracey Stoll. I am a licensed Special Educator and Certified Autism Specialist.  As the Founder/Executive Director of Learning Solutions, LLC (“LS” in Norwood, MA), I am committed to providing a safe, practice place for students experiencing social-emotional stress and confusion among their peers.  Our Social Learning Center supports the growth of over 70 student clients a week; and collaborates with school districts to create inclusive programming that empowers at risk learners. 

Monty's impact on my practice has been better than ever anticipated! With Monty available to provide acceptance, attention, and non judgmental friendship; clients who struggle to trust peers have been able to sit through social groups and participate actively, week after week!




Our son, Matthew is on the autism spectrum.  He is twelve years old.  Matthew has struggled with developmental, social, sensory, ADHD and anxiety issues his whole life.  We are raising money for a service dog to help make his life a little easier.

Livy is a wonderful addition to our family. She is Matthew’s constant companion and brings him much comfort and joy.


In the summer of 2015, Ben was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism; many people are more familiar with the term Asperger’s Syndrome. We always knew our Benjamin Bunny was quirky: when he was learning to walk, he'd never let you see him trying. As soon as you'd turn your head to see what he was up to, he'd sit down. Then one day around 15 months old, he just walked across the living room like he'd been doing it for years.

Brody has been life changing for our whole family. Ben generally feels calmer just by having Brody around. Just one example of the many ways Brody has helped Ben: when Ben feels overwhelmed, a snuggle with Brody helps him calm down, often to the point where he can talk about what upset him. Now, instead of spending hours or days trying to figure out what upset him, we can help Ben address the problem or plan what to do the next time it happens. Their bond is truly amazing.

My name is Courtney Wang. I’m an occupational therapist at Galaxy Brain and Therapy Center, a neuro rehabilitation facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Galaxy is an amazing community of therapists and brain injury survivors who all work together to meet each survivor’s goals. 

Hi my name is Josh Werner, I’m a 22 year old college student who has had my fair share of frustrations and challenges in life. I have a rare bone condition called osteogenesis imperfecta, or OI for short. It is a genetic disorder which leads to bones that break easily, often from little or no apparent cause. I have broken over 100 bones (I stopped counting once I got to 100) and have probably had at least 50 surgeries. The only bones that I haven't broken are my spine, fingers and toes. I have basically every bone in my body rodded or had plates put in. I use a power wheelchair to get around.

My name is Tracey Williams and I’m an Intensive Special Education Teacher for Boston Public Schools. Several years ago I had three therapy dogs participate in a summer program for students with autism. The dogs came in twice a week and worked with children ages 3.9 to 5 years of age. The children increased their language skills, social skills, improved behavioral issues and classroom topics such as turn taking and completing a task. After that experience I was hooked on working with a classroom dog and students with behavioral needs, Autism, cognitive and developmental diagnosis. My classroom consists of children who are entering school for the first time and have severe anxiety, non-verbal, and socialization deficits. 

Having Cuba in the classroom calms the environment for learning, increases verbal skills as well as social skills and increases the motivation for the whole classroom.

Hi, my name is Vanessa Winters and I am a United Church of Christ pastor in Midcoast Maine. As a solo pastor of a small church, Ginger is my partner in ministry and helps me with so many tasks that I could never accomplish alone. She accompanies me to worship services, visits to nursing facilities, and people's homes. She also is with me as I serve as a chaplain to Maine Medical Center, hospice, and to the police and fire departments. Ginger is a great source of comfort in my community which has a serious need for it. On an average day Ginger and I might meet with military veterans, people with dementia, at risk youth, and people experiencing sudden and difficult loss. She helps make their suffering more bearable. Thank you for contributing to us so we can continue to serve our community!!

My name is Maddy, I’m 15 years old and I live in Raynham, MA. I was diagnosed with ASD (Asperger’s) when I was twelve years old. I have struggled with different things such as anxiety/depression, regulating my emotions, forming friendships and eating since I was little. I also have a hard time when I am not in my own environment and going to school has always been hard for me. I feel best when I am at home. I really feel like having a social dog will help me a lot with all of these things.

Mutti has given Madison more self confidence and above all else has given her companionship.  Madison and Mutti are inseparable.

My name is Stephanie Zaia. I am 28 years old and live in Medfield MA. I have a rare neurological condition called Dystonia. It causes my muscles to contract forcing my body to twist into painful positions. I started exhibiting symptoms at the age of 14 and since then my physical abilities have declined steadily.

You can sponsor a client by making a donation to NEADS. Just click on the individual listed to learn why he or she needs an Service Dog, and how their new partnership with a NEADS dog will change their life. You can help to grant a person freedom, mobility and independence through canine assistance.