It is hard to believe that I am writing to you as we enter the 3rd year of this pandemic. As NEADS and the Service Dog industry continues to feel the impact of the virus, I wanted to touch base to give you a brief snapshot about our current operations.
As you are aware, our dogs typically spend 18-24 months in training, which means that dogs who are reaching maturity this year are those who were born just as the pandemic began. As you know from prior correspondence, the number of dogs entering the program at that time was low primarily because our sources of dogs were drastically reduced. Many organizations we typically received dogs from had stopped breeding in March 2020 and our own breeding program was just starting out.
It’s now two years later, and we are feeling that impact. Fewer dogs entering the program in 2020 mean that fewer dogs are reaching maturity and graduating in 2022.
The good news? NEADS’ commitment to growing our breeding program has allowed us to put an increasing number of puppies in the training program since that time, and we are forecasting that the number of dogs reaching maturity – and thus the number of matches – will start to rebound next year.
Matching our currently accepted clients is our priority, so we have closed applications to all but new veteran and successor dog applicants. We will match the dogs as they mature and complete their training, and your time will come.
In the hopes that the following brings a smile, please enjoy this artwork created by NEADS very own Lori Barrett for NEADS Valentine’s Day cards.
Take care, and please remember to contact me with any changes in your living situation, your family, your health, your work, pets in the household, etc… I always look forward to hearing from you.