NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Service) is a non-profit organization that provides dogs for “deaf and disabled Americans.” It has been very active in helping our wounded warriors achieve independence as they cope with war-induced disabilities, and I like the cut of its jib.
It receives no government funding. It uses all breeds of dogs – many of them rescued from animal shelters – and puts them through a rigorous training program. It has partnered with minimum-securitey prisons around the country to provide initial obediance training for new puppies, using inmates as the teachers.
I met Raymond Hubbard at Walter Reed not long ago, and was surprised to see a dog (named Dace) sitting at his feet. Raymond was one of the first recipients of NEADS’ “Canines for Combat Veterans” program, and could not say enough about how Dace had impacted his life. Not surprisingly, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the program.
Raymond Hubbard and Dace (with permission)
According to its website, “NEADS has trained well over 1000 assistance dog teams from all states since 1976”, and plans to expand its support of wounded veterans in the months ahead. It works with the VA, VFW, several area bases, and Blue Star Mothers to identify candidates for the program.
The wounded troops benefit. The inmates benefit. The dogs benefit too. And they don’t take a dime from the government. If you would like to find out more about the organization or donate money or dogs to the cause, you can do so on the NEADS website.
The video (below) is a news story about the program.
This organization is helping our troops – it is our hero of the week.