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NEADS Clients Will Come to Prison to Meet Inmate Handlers - Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 10 a.m.

Four Rhode Department of Corrections-trained pups will travel with their human partners to the John J. Moran Medium Security Facility in Cranston where the clients will have the opportunity to express their gratitude to the handlers and the pups will have a brief reunion with their trainers. All four were trained in the Moran facility over the span of anywhere between 8 months and a year and a half. The pups and clients planning on visiting on April 7th at 10 a.m. include: Michael Johansen of North Chelmsford, Mass., and Service Dog, Chesterfield; Ted Berbarian of Paxton, Mass., and Service Dog, Sherry, and two veterans: Russell May of Shapleigh, Maine, and Service Dog, Joe; and Matt Nedela (injured after his discharge from the Army in an ATV accident) of Adrian, MI, and Service Dog, Tina.

The NEADS Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans Prison Pup Partnership Program at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) provides life-changing results in the lives of the inmates who train the pups and the disabled clients who eventually receive them. Currently, there are about a dozen dogs in training at the Moran Facility.

NEADS (Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans), headquartered in Princeton, Mass., is a non-profit organization established in 1976 to train and provide rescued dogs and donated puppies to assist people who are deaf or physically disabled in leading more independent lives at work, at home and at school. These assistance dogs become an extension of their owners and bring security, freedom, independence and relief from social isolation to their human partners.

NEADS is the oldest continuing hearing dog program in the country and the only program of its kind in New England, as well as one of the country's largest. NEADS has trained well over 1000 assistance dog teams from all states. Among the types of dogs trained are: hearing, service, social, specialty, service dogs for the classroom, ministry, therapy and walker dogs.

NEADS has been featured in the New York Times and in the Boston Herald, for its newest program, the Canines for Combat Veterans Program. Several RIDOC-trained pups have been paired with service men and women whose injuries left them with special needs, including two in this group.

For further information, visit the organizationís website at www.neads.org. Members of the press interested in covering the client visits may contact Tracey Zeckhausen at (401) 462-2609 or via e-mail at tracey.zeckhausen@doc.ri.gov.

Related links

Department or agency: Department of Corrections

Online: http://www.doc.ri.gov

Release date: 03-29-2011

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