John Moon, NEADS’ Director of Programs and Communications , describes the organization’s efforts to improve the lives of the hearing impaired and the disabled with service dogs. Started in 1974, NEADS provides specialized training depending on a recipient’s circumstances, such as for hurricane alerts in some parts of the U.S. Service dogs are trained to assist wounded veterans, those with spinal cord injuries, autistic children, and more. Pups begin training at 8 weeks and are selected for temperament as well as intelligence. Inmates from several correctional facilities in the northeast volunteer to train NEADS service dogs, and over the years NEADS’ specialists have matched dogs and owners with 99% success. Vests labeled “service assist dog” are placed on service dogs, giving them the legal right to enter public buildings and vehicles where other dogs (such as therapy dogs or comfort dogs) are not permitted.
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