Welcome to our 81st Graduation - Spring 2021

We won't be meeting in person on April 25 to celebrate our most recent Service Dog teams, but we are coming together as a community for a virtual celebration. Please flip through our Spring 2021 Graduation Yearbook, where you can meet all the graduates. Then meet our newest NEADS Trainer and our 2021 Spirit Award recipient. Enjoy a message from the Chairman of the NEADS Board, and join us by signing our Guestbook and adding your message.


Congrats from the NEADS staff

Now more than ever we celebrate the community and connectedness of NEADS Nation and remember that it is not distance that defines togetherness but rather support, compassion, and a shared pursuit of a brighter tomorrow.


On behalf of the entire NEADS staff, we wish each and every one of our graduates all the best!

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NEADS Trainer Tyler Gribi

Recognizing NEADS Trainer Tyler Gribi

Our trainers must successfully complete a two-year apprenticeship program. This program covers all aspects of canine behavior and service dog training as well as mastering skills for instructing inmate handlers in our prison programs and instructing clients for on-campus training.

We would like to recognize and congratulate Tyler Gribi for completing his apprenticeship in February 2021.

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Spirit Award 2021

2021 Spirit Award Recipient - Pam Murray

We’re pleased to present the 2021 Spirit Award to recently retired NEADS employee and long-time volunteer Pam Murray, who is the embodiment of this honor.

This is the first time a Spirit Award has been presented to a retired employee, but it is given in recognition not of her work at NEADS but for her voluntary efforts. Because while Pam was an exceptional and dedicated employee, she was an even more exceptional and dedicated volunteer.

from the NEADS Board of Directors

Hi, I’m Paul Jornet, and I represent the NEADS Board of Directors. I’m here on an empty stage of Monty Tech where we normally hold our graduation, where we normally have the opportunity to congratulate our graduates and their canine partners.

We hope in the future to be back on this stage, but I’d like to take a moment right now to thank all of the people who make this graduation possible:

The amazing staff and leadership team at NEADS, the volunteers from the community that work with our dogs, our weekend puppy raisers, and a large group of volunteers who stood up during Covid who took our puppies home.

We couldn’t do anything without your support.

Our generous donors who have made this day possible. Thank you so much.

I congratulate our graduates and their amazing service dogs, and we wish you nothing but success in the future.

I hope to see all of you back here at Monty Tech, on this stage in November.

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Supporting our Veteran Clients

NEADS is proud of its partnership with several organizations that are integral to the NEADS community: the Blue Star Mothers of Leominster , Blue Star Mothers of Worcester, Quilts of Valor, and Angel Flight Northeast. The Blue Star Mothers have been providing meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – for veteran clients during their training on campus since 2006. The Quilts of Valor have presented beautiful, hand-made quilts to each of our veteran clients since 2010.

Angel Flight Northeast, which provides free flights and ground transportation for those requiring access to medical care, transported two of our graduating veteran clients. They flew Michael round trip from Tennessee to NEADS for her training with Service Dog Ilsa and Chuck round trip from Florida for his training with Service Dog Arnie.

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Visit the NEADS Shop

In honor of our newest class of graduates, the NEADS Shop is offering free shipping through Sunday. Check out shop.neads.org for all sorts of unique clothing, gifts, and special items for dogs and people.

Sign our Guestbook

From Juanita Durham: Congratulations NEADS ! You have proven once again your immense value and ability to change the lives of so many so they might thrive. I'm glad to see Erin is still training at NEADS. We are the proud parents to two NEADS pups who were available for adoption, Jimmy, a chocolate lab now 11, and Alister, a standard poodle, also 11. We lost Izzi, a yellow lab last year. NEADS rocks.

From Tim Johns: I absolutely love this organization and I'm extremely proud of my wife's service dog Gavin.

From Annie and June: Congratulations. You have started on an unforgettable journey.

From Susan Tolstrup: Congratulations to the trainers & the new partnerships of people & grown up pups! You’re all AWESOME 👏🏼

From Jennifer Johns: Congratulations! Thank you NEADS for all you have done for all of us and our families!

From Audrey Trieschman, NEADS Manager of Communications: I so enjoyed seeing all the photos and reading the comments of all the graduates - what a great group of people and dogs!

From Daniele and Assistance Dog Dusty: Congratulations to all the graduates! Best wishes to each of you!!

From Martha Grace: I am so proud and fortunate to be able to help the NEADS program. What a extraordinary gift NEADS gives to the community, far and wide ! Congratulations to the graduates and those that raised them and all those who helped along the way !

From Tyler Gribi: Congratulations graduates! We are proud of each and every one of you (dogs and people )!

From Lani B. & Gordon: So happy to be able to graduate with this amazing group! Congratulations everybody!!

From Nancy Broughton: I can't thank you enough for the joy and companionship that Mike has been given by Ilsa. I rest easier knowing that she keeps him safe while walking on streets and busy parking lots, crowded noisy areas, and at home when I am not there to identify noises for him. Her name "God's promise" gives me hope for them to enjoy life together - he smiles and laughs a lot now!

From Gabrielle McInnis: Congratulations to all my fellow clients!!

From Courtney Chmura and Banks: Banks and I would like to wish all of the new teams congratulations on your graduation .Welcome to the NEADS Nation! Gabrielle I am over the moon excited that you have Riker in your life now. May he bring you as much joy and happiness as Banks has brought to me.So very proud of you!

From Leah Bell:Congrats to all the graduates!! I’m so proud of you Reilly, you’re truly a special boy

From kathleen whalin: Congratulations to one and all! It's such an honor to be a part of NEADS' mission.

From Anita Collins: Congratulations to all of the Graduates. Thank you to all the trainers and staff that continue to do these great things. I was very proud to be a part of this program and to have my family members be raisers. There will always be a special place in my heart for all of you. Continue being great. Anita

From Stephanie S. : What a way to wake up today to the graduation smiles that abound! How incredibly thankful I am that I have witnessed the growth of Ilsa and her pairing with Michael. My face hurts from smiling and my eyes are still damp with joy. Neither of which I mind enduring all day if necessary Thankful with gratitude. Thankful for puppy raisers and trainers. Thankful that we are able to witness the great people who make up NEADS and their programs. What an awesome job you did during this crazy 2020 year. Blessings all around. S

From Cathy Zemaitis NEADS Director of Development: Congratulations to each and everyone of our newest graduates. We could not be more proud of you! Cathy, Loring and Currahee

From Geoff Worrell & Family: Congratulations to the clients in the graduating class of Spring 2021. We know how it has been a challenge from the waiting, to the numerous adjustments in scheduling, process, and visiting due to the pandemic. We know it was well worth the wait! Special thanks to the many dedicated, committed, hard-working, creative, and caring members of the NEADS team. Your focus on bringing these talented dogs through the program, despite the many obstacles that COVID put in your path is simply amazing. The difference you are making in the lives of so many clients is immeasurable! We appreciate you, we salute you, and most importantly, we thank you. Our family is so pleased to be a part of NEADS Nation!! With deep appreciation for your making a difference, Geoff Worrell & Family

From Kristen B: Thank you for sharing your stories about how your new partners have impacted your lives - I love reading them! Congratulations to everyone! Kristen

From Kelly Melendez: So happy to see not even a Pandemic can stop this amazing organization from providing such an outstanding service to those in need.

From Katy Harrison Ostroff: Dear Graduates, I just had the pleasure of reading your comments and seeing your pictures. My heart is filled with great joy for each of you and your new canine partners. It is wonderful to read how each dog is helping you in both ways that we had hoped and in ways that you are discovering together. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I will be eager to hear from you as your partnerships continue. All the very best, Katy

From Dana C.: Dear Sheila, The day I took Reilly to NEADS to meet and train with you was a joyous day, sunny and beautiful. As I watched him walk into the Canine Center, I knew I was watching him step into his life with you. Reilly was with me full time for six weeks before I took him to NEADS. I could see each day how ready he was to be with you, to work with you. It gives me joy to think of you and Reilly. From the letter NEADS sent me, I know he also lives with your husband, and your family dog and cats. How very wonderful! As I write, it is sunny and warm, another beautiful day. Congratulations on being partnered with Reilly! My very best, Dana

Support NEADS

Donate today to help more NEADS clients experience the life-changing independence, confidence, and connection our World Class Service Dogs bring.

Task Demo: Fetch Tissues

Tears of joy? Happiness? Pride? No problem, Prince demonstrates how NEADS dogs can fetch tissues for you.

Prince, Fetch Tissues

NEADS Trainer Tyler says, "Are you ready? Fetch tissues." As Prince fetches the tissues, Tyler says, "good boy, good boy, atta a boy. Hold. Prince, closer. Hold. Give. Good boy. Great job, bud. Here's your treat. Very nice."