“It takes an extraordinary dog to make an ordinary life,” Katelynne Steinke, with NEADS Service Dog Jones, told guests at the October 18th Get Dressed. Give Back. fundraiser for NEADS. She then demonstrated, by asking for a show of hands, how everyone in the room was, in one way or another, part of the extraordinary community of people who come together to make that extraordinary dog.
NEADS celebrated its 5th annual Get Dressed. fundraiser at The Exchange in Boston’s seaport district and the event attracted a capacity crowd to help raise awareness and support for our World Class Service Dogs. The event was hosted by Karen Anderson, Investigative Reporter, WCVB Channel 5 and long-time supporter of NEADS.
Katelynne’s remarks were followed by a presentation of the inaugural Gold Vest Award to the Boston Red Sox for their commitment to offering a welcoming and accessible environment for those with a disability and allowing seamless access for legitimate, working Service Dog teams. “Service Dogs are near and dear to everyone in our Fenway family,” said Stephanie Maneikis, Senior Director of Fan Services & Entertainment for the Boston Red Sox. “We created the Service Dog of the Game initiative and recognized several of these highly trained, impressive animals during the 2019 season. And how fitting that our honorees were book-ended by NEADS Service Dogs Rescue and Jones. As we reflect upon this past year, our celebration of Service Dogs is certainly a highlight.”
Keynote speaker Robin Young, host of NPR’s Here & Now, then spoke about the year she spent following a dog from puppy to graduation and meeting all those who touched the dog on this journey, including the inmate handlers, Weekend Puppy Raisers, NEADS staff, and, ultimately, the client. “I’m telling you, Homer’s Odyssey, the most powerful book you’ve read, does not have the emotion of that year. It was one of the most profound experiences I have ever had.”
Other speakers included Matt Siegel, host of KISS 108’s Matty in the Morning, and Roseann Sdoia, author of Perfect Strangers, Boston Marathon bombing survivor, and member of the selection committee for the Gold Vest Award.
Fittingly, numerous working NEADS Service Dog teams attended the event, as well as Service Dogs in Training, along with their volunteer puppy raisers.
NEADS appreciates the support of all its sponsors, including this year’s Presenting Sponsors, Larry and Nanine Costa, Media Sponsor WCVB-TV, Abaris Financial Group, LLC, Bennett Building Corp., Berkshire Bank, The Black Dog, Blue Buffalo, Boston Red Sox, Braley & Wellington Insurance Agency, Brides Across America, Burke Distributing Corp, Canobie Lake Veterinary Hospital, Martha Coakley, Larry & Nanine Costa, Enterprise Wealth Management, Friends of NEADS Service Dog Maurice, Gardiner Howland Shaw Foundation, Integra, The Matteo – Ranucci Family, Maureen Manning, Peak Event Services, Prezza, and The Reiser Family Foundation.