Waiting for a Match

Lately, we have been receiving questions from clients about when they will be matched with a NEADS Service or Assistance Dog.  Since this topic seems to be on a lot of your minds, we’ll put our usual fundraising article on hold this month and instead address some of your questions regarding the wait for a match.

Whether you are newly accepted or have received several of our periodic updates, we know one of your first thoughts when you hear from NEADS is, “When will I be matched?” Understandably, we suspect the answer will be less than satisfying, as we cannot predict when you will be matched.

While we cannot provide a specific timeline for any match (see About our Matching Process, below), we hope the periodic updates that we send provide insight into our operations and help to keep you as informed as possible about our efforts to match our accepted clients with World Class Service Dogs.

Today at NEADS

Applications: First, we want to let you know that we have temporarily halted accepting most new applications. (NEADS clients who are seeking a successor dog and veterans with physical or hearing disabilities can continue to apply.) We have done this so that we can concentrate on finding matches for those of you who have already been accepted into our programs. You are our priority.

Training: We are continuing to train dogs on our campus with the support of a growing number of volunteer Full-Time Puppy Raisers, as the prison program remains closed. We welcome the opportunity to return to the prisons, but a return date is not yet known. We continue to match the dogs that we are training on campus with clients, but our classes remain small so that we can train everyone safely.

Breeding: NEADS continues to breed purpose-bred Labrador Retrievers on campus. We have been steadily growing this program, and its size will increase when we open our new Breeding Center in the fall of 2021. Our breeding program has taken on heightened significance. Other Service Dog organizations, that typically supply us with some of our puppies, have had COVID related disruptions to their breeding and have been unable to send puppies to NEADS. So, you can see how important it is that NEADS continues to develop our breeding program and its capacity.

If you would like to share information about NEADS and our matching process with your donors you may find this Why the Wait for a Match flyer helpful.


A Reminder about the Matching Process

As you remember from your lengthy interview at NEADS, we asked all sorts of questions about what you needed from a Service Dog, what your home environment is like, where you would exercise a dog, how often you travel, etc. We did all this because we want to be sure that we will match you with the right dog who will meet your Service Dog needs and your lifestyle.  We match, not on the date when you were accepted, but when we have the right dog for you. This is why we cannot provide you with any specific timeline for a match. When we do have a match, you will be provided with 4 weeks notice before you would come to campus for training.

One last note about matching: it is critical that you let us know of any changes or events in your life. Details such as if you now use a walker, instead of a cane, or you have moved and now have a fenced in yard are critical to the matching process.  Please contact Katy Ostroff if you do have changes to report [email protected]