Ten Years of Ducks for Dogs

January 15, 2023

When Boston Duck Tours came onboard as a NEADS supporter in 2012, it was the beginning of a special partnership that has only grown stronger over the last decade.

“When we partner with someone, we don’t just write a check,” says Cindy Brown, Boston Duck Tours CEO. “We work with them, we spend time with them, we visit them, we invite them into our world. And in true Boston Duck Tours fashion we find ways to make it fun.”

NEADS Chief Development and Programs Officer, Cathy Zemaitis, remembers how it all began. “It was ten years ago last spring and I’d just started my new position at NEADS. The phone rang, and it was Cindy Brown. ‘This is kind of a cold call,’ she said. ‘We’d like to partner with your Canines for Combat Veterans [now Service Dogs for Veterans] program.’ To get this call was such a thrill for me. It was at that moment that I really understood the impact of NEADS—so profound that an iconic company like Boston Duck Tours sought us out because they wanted to get involved. It was the beginning of a fantastic partnership.”

Cindy explains what motivated her to reach out to NEADS. “One Veterans Day, I walked past the State House during a presentation. I remember watching gentlemen in full uniform with glistening eyes remembering their service, and you could hear a pin drop. I felt in my heart that veterans were a cause that Boston Duck Tours needed to get involved in. So we said, well, how do we support veterans?

“The next day I got to work. We looked for a Service Dog organization that worked with veterans. NEADS fit perfectly.”

For a decade, Cindy and Boston Duck Tours’ commitment to NEADS has never wavered. They sell rubber ducks wearing camouflage vests, with two dollars of each one going to NEADS. Those little ducks started out giving a dollar back to NEADS; after Cindy spoke at a client graduation, she was so impressed by NEADS’ work that she doubled it. The company never misses a creative opportunity to support NEADS. In addition to their fundraising, Boston Duck tours hosted NEADS puppy raisers for a private duck tour in April, making the front page of the Boston Herald.

“We like to live our giving as well,” says Cindy. “Around the holidays our employees spend hours at the Prudential Center wrapping presents for shoppers and the money goes to NEADS. It’s easy to write a check, but it’s more purposeful when we have our staff involved, not only in understanding what philanthropy is and sharing it with the guests on board, but also doing the work.

“I’m proud of our relationship with NEADS and I look forward to ten more years.”

We’re grateful to Cindy and to Boston Duck Tours for their steadfast support. We, too, look forward to many years to come!