Sponsor a Client

My name is Jackee Banfill and I am 19 years old. The summer going into my freshmen year of high school I survived a catastrophic accident at fourteen years old on July 14, 2010. I was hit and dragged by a train that has resulted in many injuries and one of them being that my right leg was severed above the knee. I spent many months recovering in the hospital and rehab. Throughout the past four and a half years I have tried using a prosthesis, but it hasn’t worked out yet due to still needing more surgery. I have had 19 surgeries so far and injuries, revisions, and chronic pain have me facing more in the near future.

My name is Joanne Beaudry, a Speech/Language Pathologist at Wachusett Regional High School in Holden, MA. I am working with classrooms of students on the Autism Spectrum; most have been diagnosed with Asperger's or PDD-NOS . Many of the students have co-morbid diagnosis' of severe anxiety, severe depression, ADHD, and communication disorders. With these secondary diagnosis, their behaviors make it extremely difficult to express their feelings as well as communicate and socialize with peers, and adults in their environment.

Suzanne is a mother, writer, youth coach, and Protestant ordained minister. Suzanne is interested in the myriad ways ministry happens outside church walls, and is eager to embark on a new partnership of pastoral care with a NEADS Service Dog for Therapy. Suzanne states: “I believe animals can offer a loving, non-judgmental, sacred presence to the ordinary world, which can transcend religious differences.” Suzanne believes NEADS dogs can provide significant comfort to those facing life’s dark moments of challenge in hospital rooms, hospice, prisons, and nursing homes. Suzanne says, “I hope people from far and wide join me in collaborating with NEADS to bring another very special dog to the world as a messenger of God’s care and love.”

I am a 34 year old single mother to 5 wonderful children, who choose me to be there mom as much as I choose them. For over 10 years I was a foster/adoptive parent to over 60 foster children, and it was one of the best experiences in my life.

Rev. Debbie Clark is pastor of Edwards United Church of Christ in Framingham, Massachusetts.  The congregation has welcomed Jeannie, a beautiful standard poodle, as a "service dog for ministry."  Jeannie provides a warm, gentle, caring presence for the congregation and the wider community.

When I first applied to get an assistance dog from NEADS, I knew that I would receive a special dog. I didn't know that I would receive a dog that has had such a huge impact on my professional and personal life. Rev accompanies me to work everyday, which is the Nevins Nursing and Rehab Centre in Methuen Massachusetts.

My name is Elizabeth Conlon. I am part of a dedicated private nonprofit organization, NFI (North American Family Institute). As a Registered Nurse, I work in NFI’s intensive residential program located at the Worcester Recovery Center Hospital, the Worcester Adolescent Recovery Center. Our mission is to provide a therapeutic milieu for children ages 13 to 19. Our work is based on a philosophy known as the normative approach, which emphasizes the ability of all people to achieve positive change when they are members of a community unified by its mission and purpose. The holistic and innovative services of NFI are tailored to individual client needs and help adolescents identify and build upon their strengths, emphasizing family work and community reintegration. The adolescents are greatly supported in this work by the relationships they form with staff, including service animals.

Michelle was born profoundly deaf and has identified herself as being culturally Deaf. She attended Gallaudet University and received her doctorate degree (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology.  When not working, Michelle is active and enjoys the outdoors of New England. She can often be found hiking, running and camping during her down time.

Gradually becoming deafer, Cynthia needs a hearing dog to alert her to everyday sounds such as alarms and phone calls. Without her hearing aids, she can barely hear anything.

I began working with NEADS in 2005 and received my first Service Dog in 2006. I discovered more independence that I never knew was possible with my Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral palsy. Things that I benefited from were: picking up dropped items, accessing the fridge, light switches, and opening doors just to name a few.

Elijah is 14 years old and in the 8th grade at King Philip Middle School in Norfolk, MA. He has many strengths such as a great sense of humor but is socially withdrawn. A social dog would give him confidence to meet new challenges in his daily life

Please donate today to support 31-year old Jill Hatcher’s dream of having a hearing dog. Jill was born with a genetic mutation that caused profound bilateral hearing loss. Today, Jill relies on two hearing aids to hear some sounds but even with her hearing aids, Jill is unable to hear essential sounds, such as approaching sirens, tea kettles, stove timers, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire alarms from neighboring apartments.

I’m Sue Jones a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and I work with clients who suffer from trauma, situational difficulties and mental illness. My primary place of employment is located in a psychiatric facility. As you can imagine, living in such a facility can be difficult and frustrating at times for clients. I have been working in this environment for close to 20 years. At the same time have volunteered as a NEADS “weekend puppy raiser” and was able to bring some of the pups in training to the hospital weekly. The response and excitement from the patients and staff was overwhelming. Playing with these dogs, petting them and loving them, brought smiles and sometimes happy tears to people they encountered. As a result of this positive interaction I applied for a therapy “assistance dog” and was matched with Chips. He is a BIG, lovable yellow lab who puts a smile on every face he meets. Chips has been coming to work with me daily and has a huge fan club. He attends therapy sessions with patients, groups, outside activities and sometimes will help motivate folks to get out of bed and start the day.

Hi Everyone, My name is Rylie and I have been matched to become a therapy dog at Boston Medical Center (BMC). I’ve been waiting my whole life for this. In this role, I will visit patients, families and staff at the hospital and bring with me compassion, caring and a pleasant diversion from hospital life.

Hello! My name is Chanel, I am sixteen years old. I live in Boston Massachusetts with my family. I was born with a disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. This causes my bones to be vulnerable to fractures with as little as a sneeze. My bones are so brittle that I cannot walk on them so, I have been using a power wheelchair as my main source of mobility since the age of three. I am in the middle of my Sophomore year of High School and I am striving to be more independent as the college years approach. I am looking for help in raising funds for a service dog to further increase this independence.

Many of you knew my previous service dog Dooley, and how devastating it was for me to lose him. I still miss him everyday as he was my constant companion for the past 8 years. While it is easy to dwell in the past, I am choosing to look forward, and the reality of the situation is that I need another service dog. Yesterday, I went to NEADS for an interview and the beginning of another amazing adventure with NEADS and a new dog.

I am excited to be joining the NEADS family and developing a partnership with Bella. Bella will serve as both a ministry dog and a service dog assisting me personally. As a minister and an animal-lover, I cannot think of a more ideal way to “do” ministry. Bella and I will serve our congregation, community, and region in many ways: through congregational and interfaith worship and events; pastoral care visits to nursing homes and hospitals; and crisis response to recovery and reunification centers in Petersham and the wider region. We will respond to requests by local clergy of any faith as well as regional fire, police, and other emergency responders.

Hi! I’m Olivia and I am so excited to get my social dog! I am a worry wart and now I know what I feel has a name – I have an anxiety disorder. Every day I worry about everything. Even though I love to have fun and play with my friends and learn at school, I worry about people being naughty and unkind words, and unknown things. Sometimes I hide when I worry. My therapist will help me and my dog will help me.

My name is Karen Landy and I am a rabbi at NewBridge on the Charles – a continuum of care community in Dedham, MA. We are a multigenerational campus with a k-8 Hebrew Day School – the Rashi school. I am so lucky to have found a wonderful chaplaincy dog to partner with me in my work of healing, teaching, and gemilut Hasidim – loving kindness. Tamari, my one year old, Labrador retriever, has touched my residents in ways that compliment and surpass my work. She brings smiles to everyone – residents and staff. She patiently gives visits and love. She participates in therapy and is able to fetch the ball for hours. She is the epitome of unconditional love and everyone had labeled her their dog. We are truly blessed to have her.

I was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease, a neuromuscular illness that occurs when the mitochondria cannot generate enough energy for the body’s demands. It is progressive and incurable, and can lead to a shortened life expectancy. It often includes muscle pain and weakness, neuropathy, extreme fatigue, and complications related to organ failure. To some extent every day, I experience dizziness, nausea, pain, and exhaustion. I am frequently unable to do things for myself. As this devastating disorder has caused increasing limitations, I realized the need for the independence, mobility, and freedom that can come through canine assistance.

I began my partnership with Daisy, a young Golden Retriever "Service Dog for Ministry" in October. She has become a favorite in the various ministry settings in which I am involved. In churches, she opens up conversations with people who might be reluctant otherwise. She is particularly good with kids, even the most hesitant.

Hello, my name is Dr. Julie Gardner Mandel. I am a clinical psychologist in Boston’s Back Bay specializing in the treatment of Eating Disorders. I teach Psychiatry Residents at Harvard Medical School and am on staff at Massachusetts General Hospital. More importantly, let me introduce my beloved, talented, empathic and oh-so-wise canine co-therapist: Henry Freud Mandel.

I received the best Christmas present on December 23, 2014 when I was accepted into the NEADS program to receive a service dog. My name is Mary Marco and my previous service dog passed away this past August. I live alone and I fall a lot. It has been very difficult for me since Mandy is no longer there to help me get up.

Hi I'm Matte and I'm 9 years old. I'm looking for a way to feel safe and secure. I have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ie Asperger's, ADHD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I am very fearful of many things such as darkness, loud noises, crowded places, even the outdoors. I have difficulty with self-regulation and control. At school I was teased and didn't enjoy myself. I can often feel anxious and overwhelmed. I have trouble falling asleep and often can't settle my mind. Today I went to NEADS and met a service dog, it was amazing! I really need a service dog to be by my side. I need a friend that will love me all the time just the way I am. I think having a dog will make me feel safe and strong (because I will play with him outside) Please help me with my fund raising so that I can grow, learn, and laugh with my new best friend. Thank you

Braeden is a 10 year old boy with the sweetest disposition. His genuine care, concern, and loving nature for all living things never goes unnoticed. His willingness to help others is outstanding and he is just the most pleasurable child to be around. Unfortunately, Braeden has some medical disabilities that most days cause him to not feel well or cause him to have difficulty in school, at home, or out in the public. Braeden has a list of disabilities that make his life and sometimes his famiy's life hard to handle and often times very distressful and sad.

My name is Nicholas and I am a quadriplegic. In April, 2012 I was involved in a dirt biking accident that would change my life drastically. Since I was about 13 years old, my passion has always been riding dirt bikes with my friends. I was a healthy young man graduating from high school in June of 2012. I had a contract to go into the Navy August, 2012. My dream was to be a Navy SEAL for which I was training hard with a group of young men in the hopes of being accepted to the SEALS once boot camp was finished. My plans changed. I had a tragic accident on April 7th, 2012 which left me as a C-5 quadriplegic.

My name is Ellyn Salkin and I have been matched with Murray, a Service Dog for Therapy. As an advocate, counselor, and coach for people with autism spectrum disorders, other needs and different abilities, I'm thankful to have Murray by my side to provide comfort and encouragement. There are so many ways that Murray can assist in a therapeutic session or activity.

I am a 24-year-old student at UMass Boston, studying psychology and women's & gender studies, which I love. I was diagnosed with type II spinal muscular atrophy around three years old. It is a genetic disease resulting in the death of motor neurons, causing worsening system-wide muscle weakness. As a small child, I could walk slowly and for short distances. I had a spinal fusion to correct scoliosis at age eleven, which caused me to lose this ability and my weakness began to manifest much more rapidly. I require the use of an electric wheelchair both at home and out in the world. Although I am unable to transfer in and out of my wheelchair on my own, once in it, I go about my day as independently as possible. I've learned to adapt to my surroundings, and have become quite crafty in figuring out alternative ways to do things. Still, it is not an impeccable plan. Things can and do go wrong.

Marina needs a puppy to turn itself upside down to help her! Marina had an accident while riding her horse and now needs a dog to help.

Skyler is a bright, sweet active 9-year-old girl that suffers from Cornelia De Lang Syndrome. This is an extremely rare syndrome. One out of every 30,000 kids are affected. It is a genetic disorder present from birth, but not always diagnosed at birth. It causes a range of physical, cognitive and medical challenges. Many affected individuals also have behavioral problems similar to autism, and it affects both genders equally. CdLS does not discriminate—it’s seen in all races and ethnic backgrounds…

Meet Thekla. She is a sweet, strong, hard working 8 year old little girl. She has loved animals, especially dogs and horses since we can remember. She constantly plays pretend with her stables of toy farm animals. She also pretends she is puppy and makes her 87 year old grandfather get on the floor to play with her.

Hello Friends! Let me tell you all a little bit of my situation. During the past few years, the diabetes that I suffer from has taken its toll. It has rendered me completely disabled. To add insult to injury, I also have developed neuropathy in my left leg. Even with the use of a walker and or cane, getting around is very unsafe for me at best.

I am Samantha and I have a progressive connective tissue disorder (Stickler Syndrome) that affects my hearing, my vision and my joints. I have moderate/severe hearing loss in both ears. I’ve worn hearing aids since I was seven months old. I am very nearsighted and have worn glasses since I was 13 months old. I have also had extensive joint pain since I was two years old. Looking at me you would never know anything is wrong because I look “normal”. My hearing dog, Debbie, has completely changed this for me! She has truly been the biggest blessing to ever come into my life. I do not need to constantly worry about if I do not hear something going on around me, as Debbie will now jump in and help me. She is also a very visual cue to others that I am hard of hearing and my communication needs are different and to always approach me from the front so I can see and hear what they are saying.

Overnight I suffered a profound, severe hearing loss at the age of eighteen. Though it was going to take more than that, I thought, to derail my college plans and dreams of majoring in French and Theatre - off I went. One semester later I found myself closer to home, and closer to Boston for medical treatments. I tried every hearing device, medication, and had every test possible - nothing aided me. No verdict was reached on how or why I lost my hearing. I did not show signs of loss or illness, but it was just left that I suffered a virus of some sort. In the beginning, doctors thought it was a one time loss, and not progressive. Recently, it was determined that I had lost significantly more and likely will continue to progress at the same rate. I likely will be deaf in my lifetime.