NEADS in the News
Check out our featured stories below, or view our archives by clicking any of the years listed to the right.
If you would like to write or film a story about NEADS, please contact Cathy Zemaitis at [email protected].
Pets on Planes: Emotional Support or Sham?
NEADS Director of Development, Cathy Zemaitis, is interviewed for this article on the important issue of Service Dog fraud.
"More and more people are flying with pets they call necessary for emotional support.
Sharon Giovinazzo goes so far as to call them something else: four-legged terrorists.
That may seem harsh. But Giovinazzo, who is visually impaired and travels at least once a week in her job as president and CEO of World Services for the Blind, says she was recently walking through an airport with her service dog Watson when a small dog came running out of a gate waiting area and lunged at them, biting Watson under the chin.
Luckily, the bite wasn't serious.
But Giovinazzo says she was horrified and rattled...
Interview: Meet Gerry DeRoche
Boston Voyager writes about the hidden gems of Boston and the surrounding areas. NEADS CEO Gerry DeRoche was interviewed as part of a series of articles featuring interviews with Boston's most inspiring businesses.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don't you give us some details about you and your story.
For many years I was a banker in Boston, where mergers and downsizing were a large part of daily life as the industry underwent dramatic changes.
In 2007 I decided to change careers and do something with a social purpose. I consulted for a few years to not for profits. In 2010 I joined NEADS as its CEO. For me, it was a perfect fit: One of its programs provides dogs to individuals who are deaf or hearing impaired. My father was profoundly hard of hearing. They train dogs. As a family, we love dogs and have two golden retrievers. Finally, NEADS provides the opportunity to interact with clients while they live on campus during their training.
Rescue, a very good dog, named country’s best
“Rescue, speak,” Jess Kensky said, clutching a treat in her hand as she prepared her service dog Thursday for his big moment at the ASPCA Humane Awards, where he was receiving 2017 Dog of the Year honors.
The Many Ways Service Dogs Can Help
Katy Ostroff and Kathy Foreman talk with Heidi Godman on Health Check, on WSQR Sarasota Talk Radio.
NEADS celebrates new service dog teams at Nov. 5 graduation at Monty Tech in Fitchburg
NEADS World Class Service Dogs holds its Fall Graduation Ceremony at 2 p.m. Nov. 5 at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School, 1050 Westminster St. in Fitchburg. The public is invited and welcome.
Stacy Berloff, with NEADS service dog Billy, and Myra Berloff, Stacy’s mother and former Director of the Massachusetts Office on Disability, are the guest speakers. Stacy Berloff has been part of the NEADS family since 1997, when she was matched with her first service dog, Ricki. Billy joined Stacy’s life in 2009. Attendees also will hear the personal stories of the graduating teams and be treated to a demonstration of typical service dog team “on the street” encounters.
How Service Dogs Help People With MS
Service Dogs offer MS patients comfort, companionship and a way to conserve limited energy. Read how Service Dogs can help in this article which includes interviews with NEADS clients and staff.
NEADS dog who aids Marathon bombing survivor gets top ASPCA award
A service dog trained by Princeton-based NEADS is the recipient of the ASPCA 2017 Dog of the Year award.
The dog, Rescue, provides essential support to Jessica Kensky, who became a double amputee as a result of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Rescue’s assistance for Ms. Kensky includes opening doors, fetching objects, calling for emergency help and many other tasks. At the same time, Rescue also provides Ms. Kensky and her husband, Patrick Downes, with invaluable emotional support and comfort that has helped transform their lives after the tragedy.
NEADS Service Dog Rescue is Recipient of the ASPCA® 2017 Dog of the Year Award
Rescue, a Service Dog lending support to a Boston Marathon bombing survivor, joins a brave fifth grader standing up for animals; and a nonprofit rescue group working to assist working military and police K9s as recipients of the ASPCA® 2017 Humane Awards.
Tightening the Leash on Fake Service Dogs
Incidents like one that occured in Reading, MA have spurred 19 states to enact laws cracking down on people who try to pass off their pets as service animals. The push has been gathering steam in recent years: Virginia implemented its new law in 2016, and Colorado followed suit this year. Massachusetts is now considering a similar proposal.
Impostor Service Animals Prompt Legislative Proposal
Service dogs play an important role in a person's ability to live independently, but the rise of "fake service dogs" is becoming a problem. Includes interviews with NEADS staff and clients.
Proposed state bill cracks down on fake service dogs
It’s typing a quick Google search, filling out a form for false credentials at a small fee and purchasing a “service dog” vest on Amazon, and a household pet is afforded the rights of public access mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Soon, however, this manipulation of federal law could be banned by the state government, with a bill calling for the misrepresentation of a pet dog as a service animal to be a civil offense...
A hard look at the special role of service animals
Fakery puts the work of true service dogs in jeopardy
On behalf of NEADS World Class Service Dogs, our clients, and all legitimate working service dog teams, as well as the general public, I want to thank you for your editorial “No support for fake service animals” (Sept. 11) and the clear, thoughtful presentation of the growing issues surrounding fake service dogs...
When Fido is a fake: State House considers bill banning bogus service dogs
Advocates are pushing for a bill that would impose fines on people who present their pets as service animals when they aren’t properly trained.
Bill Would Penalize People For ‘Fake’ Service Dogs
BOSTON (CBS) – Advocates for service dogs for the disabled were at the State House Tuesday, lobbying for a bill that would penalize those who say their animals are service dogs when they're not. Kaitlyn Steinke of Falmouth and her dog Jones were among those in favor of what's been called the fake service dog bill.
New push to keep people from taking advantage of service animal program
MA Bill H.2277 is taking aim at people who misrepresent their pets as Service Dogs.
No support for fake service animals
BOSTON (BOSTON GLOBE) - We increasingly face a menagerie in public places, part of a trend that suggests person and pet are inseparable. Animal lovers grow bolder by the day, often claiming the animals provide essential emotional comfort. What's the harm of sharing an airplane cabin with a pig, right?
Problem is, tolerance for support animals, originally a privilege extended by some businesses, is evolving into an assumed right, at times undermining the needs of people who legitimately must have a service animal to navigate life.
Considering a Service Dog? Meet My Monty
Meet Suzie the incredible, adorable New Orleans courthouse dog
NEW ORLEANS — For nearly a year, Suzie has been serving as the courthouse facility dog for the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court. She knows how to open doors, turn lights on and off and turn the pages of a book.
The story of Rescue and Jessica, a dog, a woman, and rebirth
It brings Jessica Kensky joy to watch her dog run.
At the park, Rescue the black Labrador chases balls down and leaps with athletic abandon.
He came into Kensky 's life six months after the Boston Marathon bombing.
NEADS Assistance Dog Bailey Graduates From Service Dog Training
Here & Now has spent the last year following Bailey, a budding Service Dog raised by MA-based NEADS.
During the week, NEADS are trained by, and live with, prison inmates (under the expert guidance of professional dog trainers). Then, on weekends, the dogs go to families.
In this segment, Bailey graduates from service dog training. Here & Now co-host Robin Young has our story.
NEADS Service Dog Meets His Match
Here & Now has spent the last year following Bailey, a budding service dog raised by the Western Massachusetts-based NEADS organization.
During the week, NEADS dogs are trained by, and live with, prison inmates (under the expert guidance of professional dog trainers). Then, on weekends, the dogs go to families. Bailey started his life with inmate Bernard, but after committing an infraction, Bernard lost Bailey, who was transferred to inmate Antonio.
In this segment, Bailey meets his new owner, Ashley, who has weakness in her arms and also uses a wheelchair. Here & Now's Robin Young reports. (Listen to the previous segment here.)
CEO One on One: Gerry DeRoche
Chief Executive Officer, Gerry DeRoche, has been leading NEADS since 2010, when he made the decision to leave a 33-year career in banking for the nonprofit world. The University of Connecticut graduate resides in Concord with his family, which includes two golden retrievers.
What made you decide to leave banking?
"I wanted to do something with a social purpose, and when I first started out, I was doing a lot of work with small businesses, which I really loved...
How A Dog Becomes A NEADS Service Dog
Western Massachusetts-based NEADS is nationally known for its remarkable success training dogs to be service dogs for deaf and disabled Americans.
In the first of a series, Here & Now's Robin Young takes a look at how a dog becomes a NEADS service dog.
Handling with care: By training service dogs, ACI inmates help others
Feb. 14 Millbury fundraiser fulfills NEADS for veterans
The Mahlerts woke up one morning and decided they were going to do more than donate money to NEADS, they were going to make sure another veteran received an assistance dog, just like Holly Mahlert's dad did.
"Did Ollie make a difference in Dad's life? Yes! Big time! Ollie has helped him smile again, there, he's smiling right now," said Ms. Mahlert during an interview.
Princeton nonprofit sells stuffed marathon service dogs
In need of a ‘Rescue’?
Nonprofits are always on the hunt for new revenue, and some of them dabble in retail to bring in extra money.
Think museum gift shops or online stores selling coffee mugs and note cards. Now NEADS, a Princeton, Mass., nonprofit that trains service dogs, wants to bolster its fledgling retail operation — and, if history repeats itself, the item it’s selling won’t stay in stock for long.
Her decision, their life
They were full with newlywed love that brilliant Marathon Monday, fused in joy and then in disaster. Raked by the blast, Patrick and Jess would both lose their left legs. But Jess, harder hit, has held for two years now against the loss of her right. Everything seemed bound up in that choice.
Nate Corddry a die-hard Patriots and Red Sox fan
Living 2,600 miles away won’t stop this die-hard Patriots and Red Sox fan
More proof that you can take the sports fan out of Boston, but you can’t take Boston out of the sports fan.
Actor and Weymouth native Nate Corddry, the younger brother of fellow “Daily Show” correspondent Rob Corddry, left Massachusetts for college 20 years ago, later moved to New York City, and now lives in Los Angeles. But he’s still a Red Sox season ticket holder, despite his home address being 2,600 miles from Fenway Park.
(“I was on the waiting list for 10 years,” he explained, “so when they called me last December and said, ‘Hey, your name came up,’ I said, ‘Oh, Lord. I live in — I accept! I’ll take them!”)
When it comes to the New England Patriots, Corddry says he never misses a game and has three team shirts hanging in his closet (“two Bradys, the home jersey and the throwback jersey, and a Rob Ninkovich”).
So it’s no surprise that Corddry is backing the Pats in the friendly wager he’s made with actor and Baltimore fan Thomas Sadoski on this Saturday’s Patriots/Ravens game.
R.I. Guard veteran hopes writing book will ease his pain, perhaps that of other soldiers
The war that John DiRaimo, 53, physically left behind continues. A Rhode Island Army National Guard veteran who served a 13-month tour in Iraq in 2005 and 2006, when ground battles raged, DiRaimo cannot keep the conflict out of his head.
The news these days, as President Obama continues military operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which seeks to control areas of those two nations, does not help.
Service dogs Jake, Rossi Boy named after fallen firefighters
Edward Walsh, Michael Kennedy died battling Boston fire
Two service dogs-in-training have been named after two Boston firefighters who lost their lives in a Back Bay fire earlier this year.
NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans, a nonprofit organization based in Princeton, Mass., will hold a special event Thursday at the Engine 33, Ladder 15 Firehouse in Boston to honor Lt. Edward Walsh and firefighter Michael Kennedy, who died in March.
Walsh's widow, Kristen Walsh, and Kennedy's mother, Kathy Crosby-Bell, will have the opportunity to meet the two dogs that they have each been named in honor of the fallen men.
Service Dog Guides Marathon Bombing Victims Through A Grim Year
At Monday's Boston Marathon, many runners will be on the course to honor the 16 people who lost limbs in last year's bombing. One married couple was among them: Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes. Among many dark stories of that day, theirs is among the darkest. They were newlyweds of just seven months when each had their left leg blown off. Their injuries were so severe that they were some of the last victims to leave the hospital. But we want to tell you an encouraging part of their story. It involves an 80-pound black Labrador retriever named Rescue who is specially trained as an assistance dog.
How Boston marathon bombing survivors celebrated Valentine’s Day
Two survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings celebrated Valentine’s Day in a very special way at Copley Place, near the site of the attack last April. Jessica Kensky enlisted the help of an organization called NEADS to plan a surprise for her husband Patrick Downes. The couple stood near the finish line when the bombs went off during the marathon and were seriously injured.
Service dog helps U.S. Army veteran lead ‘somewhat of a normal life’
Chris Maddeford's best friend can open doors and deliver his keys and cellphone on demand. He snuggles up when Maddeford is sad or upset. AJ, a 6-year-old pure-bred American Labrador retriever, is Maddeford's service dog. AJ has been a constant companion since Maddeford, a former U.S. Army sergeant who served in Afghanistan, got him in 2009.
Nonprofit reaches out to bombing victims with an offer of service dogs
Since the Boston Marathon bombings, Jessica Kensky and her husband, Patrick Downes, have been grappling with the enormity of all they have lost. The attack cost each a leg, casting the young couple into a nightmarish world of trauma and recovery and shattering their plan to move to the West Coast, where Downes had accepted a pre-doctoral internship in clinical psychology. But late last month, the flow of loss was offset a bit when the couple gained something: a young, black Labrador retriever named Rescue.
Service dogs barred, doubted, and deeply treasured
When Kevin Lambert’s service dog, a black Lab named Ronnie, senses he’s in a funk, she plunks her head down in his lap or sometimes climbs right onto it, all 65 pounds of her. When they’re out together, she sticks by the Army vet’s side, helping to keep his post traumatic stress disorder at bay, and makes him feel less alone.
THE SPITZ TAKE: Mendon mom shares details of her Weekends
MENDON — A suburban mom and a prisoner team up to turn a yellow Lab puppy into a faithful service dog. If you think that sounds like a great idea for a movie, you're not alone. CBS Films optioned the rights before "Weekends with Daisy'' was even written. The film might not be coming to a theater near you until 2015 or 2016, but the book by Mendon author Sharron Kahn Luttrell is being released next month. And if you think the movie plot synopsis tells you all you need to know about the book, think again.
The Fight for Service Dogs for Veterans With PTSD
When it comes to treating veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, no intervention regularly receives as glowing reviews as service dogs. The use of service dogs to treat PTSD is new, though, and many of the findings at this point are anecdotal. Many veterans had eagerly hoped a pioneering study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs would buttress their personal experiences with science that could support implementing widespread therapeutic use.
Caring for those with NEADS
Everyday skills. Extraordinary independence. That is just one of the mottos of NEADS, a local agency that has been providing assistance dogs for deaf and disabled Americans for more than 30 years – right here in greater Worcester.