What is your job here at NEADS?
My current position at NEADS is Executive Assistant/Office Manager. I work at the front desk, greeting clients and visitors, answering phones and directing calls, in addition to assisting our Chief Executive Officer, Gerry DeRoche.
How did you end up working here and why did you want to work at NEADS?
In 1991, I acquired my first dog, Bailey. While attending a puppy kindergarten class with Bailey I met a woman who mentioned NEADS and from that point on, I have been an enthusiastic supporter! In January of 2009, I became aware that NEADS was looking for a part time receptionist so I applied and got the job.
What are some of your favorite things about working at NEADS?
I have one of the best jobs at NEADS! I see the puppies mature into well-trained assistance dogs and I have the privilege of meeting each one of our clients. I’m also able to interact with our clients before, during and after they are matched with their canine partner because of my position.
You don’t work directly with the dogs, but you are around them a lot. Do you have any stories about a particular dog at NEADS that made a big impact on you?
Two or three dogs really left an impression on me while they were here for training or while being matched with their human partner. “General” was one of the first dogs that I met. Brian was the trainer and was teaching General to ‘give’ a “bank teller” an envelope. My role was accepting the envelope from that beautiful black lab! Another black lab, “Ronnie” made a huge impression on me. Kevin and Ronnie were outside in the parking lot with their trainer, Erin. Kevin sometimes uses a Segue to help him get around and on this particular morning, Ronnie was being asked to walk along side Kevin. As the two of them looked into each other’s eyes, they flawlessly went on their way around the lot as though they had been together for years and this was just another day! It was beautiful to see! More recently, “Riley” was taken from a shelter and began working with his trainer, Jen. From the start, Riley stole my heart. He has a very loving, kind and gentle spirit. When Jen asked me to take him home for a few weekends, I was thrilled. Riley played with my dogs and had a great time jumping through the snow in our backyard. Riley is a true success story. His personality fits his new role perfectly; he is a therapy dog for the classroom working in a residential program with teens.
This is more of a statement than a question. You’re known around here as the “face” of NEADS, because you’re the first person people encounter when they walk through the door and the first person they speak to on the phone. You’re always so happy and smiley! How do you do it??
Its easy! I love my job – I love what NEADS does for so many. Every day our staff strives for success in accomplishing our mission: “to provide independence to people who are deaf or have a disability through the use of canine assistance”.
Have you always wanted to work around animals?
Yes! I’ve worked for veterinarians prior to working here at NEADS. While raising my two children, I had a backyard farm. We had horses, a pony, a miniature Sicilian donkey, chickens, and ducks. Of course we had cats, dogs, guinea pigs, birds and rabbits in the house at the same time!
Do you have any animals of your own? Who are they and what are they like?
The dogs that own me are Dallas and Kimmy; two rescues! Dallas is an English setter and Kim is of blended heritage! Both were underweight, neglected and homeless. I happened to be in the right place at the right time and am grateful for all they have given me and my family.