The Places They Go

One of the most important jobs a Puppy Raiser has is to help the NEADS dogs feel comfortable in many different situations, around many people. They do this by making sure they have plenty of real-world exposure to different sights, sounds, and people.

But what does that look like day to day? Dana, who has raised two puppies for NEADS and is currently raising her third puppy, shares a few highlights of her puppy raising experience with the two pups she’s raised. What a journey!

The Life of a Puppy Raiser
By Dana Chalberg

Sully was my first NEADS puppy. I started working with him when he was 9 months old, and he was with me on weekends for 9 months until he was matched as a Trauma Assistance Dog. As you can see, we went many places and through it all, Sully was rock solid, comfortable in new situations and with new people. He would often lie with his back legs stretched out behind him, his froggy position, at ease no matter where he was. And he was always happy when he got to “Say Hello” to someone.

Part of being a Puppy Raiser is getting together with other Puppy Raisers for classes and field trips that the NEADS staff organizes. Here are some of my favorites.

Puppy Raising with Reilly

I started working with Reilly when he was 4 months old. He was curious, confident, and playful when he arrived, and he only grew from there. Reilly loved to work! He was with me for 17 months on weekends and then full time for several months more until he was matched as a Service Dog.


While the pandemic put a halt to many activities in the first months, we were able to resume safe, socially distanced, mostly outdoors classes and field trips by late summer. A visit to Garden City Center, RI offered plenty of different exposure opportunities.


As I was preparing this photo journey of the special memories I’ve made with the two NEADS dogs that have been in my care, I learned that NEADS had another puppy ready for me; Velma came home in early February. I can’t wait to see the places she’ll go!