Spirit Award 2020 – Dr. Cynthia Crosson

Each year, NEADS presents its Spirit Award to a volunteer or group of volunteers who passionately exudes the energy, values, and commitment to our mission over an extended period of time. The 2020 NEADS Spirit Award was presented to Dr. Cynthia Crosson in recognition of her contributions, loyalty, and dedication to the organization.

Dr. Cynthia Crosson  has contributed to and supported many areas of the organization, including the NEADS Service Dogs for Veterans program. Through this program, NEADS offers fully trained Service Dogs for United States veterans across the country who have a permanent physical disability or hearing loss. Its Trauma Assistance Dog (TAD) program places Service Dogs with veterans living in New England with diagnosed service-related post-traumatic stress.

Dr. Crosson’s involvement with NEADS began in 2005, when she received Dandi, an Assistance Dog for the Ministry. Dr. Crosson brought the inherently comforting canine presence and the skill and training of a NEADS Assistance Dog to her work for 15 years. Dandi passed away in September 2020.

From 2006 to 2015, Dr. Crosson served as a member of the NEADS Board of Directors.

In her role as psychiatric consultant, Dr. Crosson designed and helped to implement the TAD Program, which graduated its first Service Dog/Veteran teams in 2009 as part of a pilot program. She continues in this role today with the established TAD program.

Says Kathy Foreman, NEADS Director of Training, “Each year, NEADS presents its Spirit Award to a volunteer or group of volunteers who passionately exudes the energy, values, and commitment to our mission over an extended period of time. Dr. Crosson truly exemplifies these qualities.”

“15 years ago I walked into NEADS, and it changed my entire life,” says Dr. Crosson. “I was here to partner with Dandi, my Assistance Dog for the Ministry. It was a wonderful experience to be partnered with that bundle of fur, enthusiasm, and devotion.”

Adds Crosson, “I am so honored to be able to contribute to NEADS in various ways, particularly working with the veteran clients. Because I had worked with post-traumatic stress disorder as a therapist and as a researcher, I was able to draw on this experience to help develop the TAD program that we now have today.”

Dr. Crosson has written several books based on her work with NEADS, including the children’s books Only Daddy’s Dog and Sunny and Malcolm. Her book You Cannot Cage the Wolf details her involvement in developing the TAD program.