NEADS Celebrates the Opening of its State-of-the-Art Canine Center

On Saturday, June 1, NEADS hosted a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the completion of its new, state-of-the-art Hawkins Canine Center. NEADS was honored to have special guest Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, guest speaker MA State Representative Kimberly Ferguson, and keynote speaker Congressman Jim McGovern take part in the ceremony. After a short presentation and ribbon-cutting ceremony, attendees had the opportunity to tour the Canine Center and enjoy refreshments.

The theme of the day was collaboration. Dedicated community, state, and federal leaders, volunteers, staff, and donors all spoke about the “why” of their involvement with NEADS, and it came down to a common theme – the World Class Service Dogs and the people they help. Representative Ferguson, speaking about meeting her first NEADS Service Dog and attending graduation, said “I’m proud to be part of an amazing, World Class organization.” Lieutenant Governor Polito called the work NEADS does “transformational,” and congratulated the federal, state, local, public and private organizations for working together to make it happen. Congressman McGovern said, “This is what a good community looks like. The work we do has made a difference here and across the country.”

While the Canine Center was primary focus of the day, NEADS also used this occasion to celebrate several other recently or soon-to-be-completed features of the campus master plan: the Early Learning Center and interim Nursery; a renovated main lobby and welcome center; and the nearly completed Sullivan Carriage House. NEADS has partnered with Monty Tech and their students from the carpentry, masonry, and electrical programs to build this carriage house, which will house two trainer vehicles as well as the bulk of our dog food. NEADS has also acquired a new handicap accessible van that was generously provided by the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts.

About the Hawkins Canine Center

The need: NEADS is one of the premier innovators in the Service Dog industry. We breed, raise, and train World Class Service Dogs. Our kennel, designed and built in 1994 at a time when we used primarily smaller, rescue dogs, was outdated and did not meet our world-class standards.

The process: in 2015, we began a nearly 18-month research project to develop a world-class Canine Center that is a completely redesigned and efficient space. It is light, airy, and cheerful to help reduce the inevitable stress that our fabulous World Class Service Dogs can experience.

The result: The Canine Center is part of the Master Plan for our campus to produce a positive environment for our dogs as well as our clients when they are on campus.

The details: The new Canine Center is a cutting-edge Service Dog facility. It is light, airy, and cheerful, and designed to minimize stress and provide a healthy environment for our staff and dogs. Key components of the new facility include a main work hub, hospitality area, outdoor pavilion area, exam, and specialty care rooms, a grooming room, three kennel wings with 31 individual runs, and outdoor paddock areas.


Listen to the story behind the Sullivan Carriage House: