Hello NEADS community, my name is Kathy and this is my service dog, Sandy. Sandy and our whole family are quarantining at home. Hope you are all safe and well during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope to see you all in the fall for graduation but until then we wanted to express our love and gratitude to the entire NEADS community.
To Katy and the admin staff, thank you for making the application process so welcoming and supportive. Your kindness is truly appreciated.
To Erin and her team of amazing trainers your program is intensive and fun, and ensured that we left training with all of the skills we need to succeed as being NEADS service dog owners. Your ongoing support and advice have made coming home and putting training into action so much easier. Knowing you will always be there for Sandy and I is truly reassuring as you can tell by the number of emails I’ve sent you since November.
To Edgar and all of the amazing dog handlers, thank you for your dedication to NEADS and for the love and care you showed Sandy. You not only made her an excellent service dog but a sweet and loving companion. I have followed your suggestions of snuggles at wake up work and free time during the day and at the end of the day, nighttime snuggles and it worked. We bonded so quickly, so thank you.
To puppy raisers I cannot wait to hear all of the stories of Sandy and see baby pictures and I look forward to meeting you soon.
A shout out to the New England Car Wash Association who named Sandy and to all of our wonderful donors who have continued to support our fundraising efforts to pay it forward so the next person with a disability can have a NEADS World Class Service Dog too.
To my sister Beth who connected me to NEADS and encouraged me to explore getting a service dog to maximize my independence, I love you and you were so right. NEADS has changed my life. I feel free again, so thank you.
To my fantastic housemates, Naomi, Ed and David, we met as welcoming strangers and became lifelong friends. I came there overworked, stressed and so nervous. I talk so much when I am nervous, not that I don’t talk a lot anyways. After only one day it felt like old friends getting together to chat. It felt like family and I learned so much from all of you.
Naomi, I was totally fangirling over you. I met an astrophysicist! When that wore off, well it hasn’t worn off quite yet, I became impressed by your calm clear focus in following directions, asking all the right questions, and giving us honest feedback. Your husband and children have a stellar role model in their life.
We had the honor of having two veterans as housemates too. First thank you for your service and for sharing your yummy food from the Blue Star Mothers. And thank the Blue Star Mothers for their yummy food.
Ed, what can I say. Your humor brightened our days in and out of training. And your calls to your precious family every night made us love you even more. The geek t-shirts totally won us over.
David you are the man. We all know it. You are cool, collected and relaxed. You knew day one you had this; Maxwell did too. You were the first to bond with your dog. And you showed us the way.
Finally, to two extraordinary women, David's wife, Jean, aka our Mama Jean, who cheered us on at training, and prepared us home cooked meals so we could come back debrief, and relax. You created a stable routine for us and a loving away home away from home. For all of us, I love you for it.
And lastly to sweet Emily. Woman, we adore you. You are the house chaperone everyone would want. You were always there for us troubleshooting, fixing things, finding things, but of course you were also there in heart. You showed us that you cared about success and you cared about us building our relationship with our dogs. We so enjoyed inviting you to dinner and to the joy you brought to the table every night. You listened to us and encouraged us. You set an expectation of learning, fun, and most of all friendship. You were the spark that helped make us a family. A NEADS family. Your dedication to NEADS mission, to other staff and of course to the dogs is inspiring.
So for all of you and until we meet again please stay safe and hug those dogs.