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News at NECHV

Bernadette Brings Service Dog Skills to NECHV

In January, Bernadette, a Labrador/Great Pyrenees mix, and Pee Wee, a Pit Bull mix, toured the NECHV, bringing with them their human friends from Heroes, Horses and Hounds and Animal Rescue Konnection (ARK). The purpose of the visit was to explore the possibility of bringing a service dog to the NECHV, and to see if either dog might be a good fit. We are excited to announce that Bernadette joined the Center in February!

Heroes, Horses and Hounds rescues horses and dogs in need of new homes and retrains them as service animals, who are then placed with either a person in need or used in animal-assisted therapy programs. ARK specializes in placing dogs with rescue organizations and progressive shelters that can help them find new homes.

It is important that a dog living and working at the Center be able to tolerate a busy environment where people are often coming and going. While both dogs were very popular with Veterans and staff as they toured the building, Bernadette was a little more at ease with all the noise and attention. Bernadette is fully trained in both mobility and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) support tasks.


The training for a service dog is comprehensive; according to Colleen Campbell, President and Founder of Heroes, Horses and Hounds, dogs are taught basic and advanced obedience skills and undergo Canine Good Citizen training. Mobility tasks include walking step-by-step next to the person they are assisting, bracing themselves so that a person may use them to balance or to stand from a seated position, and picking things up. Dogs trained in PTSD support learn to recognize the signs of anxiety, panic, and dissociative episodes. Tasks they might perform in these situations include nudging or licking the hand of the person they are assisting to keep their mind in the present moment, leaning against or providing deep pressure to a person to reduce heart rate and blood pressure, or acting as a physical barrier between a person and others. Dogs can also be taught to inspect a room, turn on the lights, and signal that it is clear.

Such thorough training takes about 18 months for a puppy, and between six and eight months for a young adult dog. The fosters and trainers of Heroes, Horses and Hounds spend at least 300 hours with the dog in public spaces like stores, restaurants, and crowded city areas – Bernadette is truly ready for anything!

Bernadette is now the second supportive animal at the Center. She joins Sergeant Whiteshoes (Sarge), the Center’s cat, who was adopted in April 2017 from Boston’s Animal Care and Control. The NECHV extends its deepest and most sincere gratitude to Heroes, Horses and Hounds and ARK for working so diligently to find the perfect fit for the Center!

Find more photos of Bernadette here, and follow her on Instagram!

Advancement Team


New England Center and Home for Veterans
Advancement Department
17 Court Street
Boston, MA 02108

617-371-1777 (tel)
617-371-1840 (fax)


Charlene F. Pontbriand
Senior Vice President, Advancement

Mark O. Gough
Director of Corporation and Foundation Relations

Nicole Hand
Director of Sponsorships and Events

Adrienne Kaplowitz
Philanthropic Officer, Community Engagement

Nick Feeko 
Communications Associate

Duyen Hua
Lead Development Associate

Maggie Retton
Development Associate


Lindsay Davis-Braun
Development Systems Manager




The New England Center and Home for Veterans is pleased to announce that the annual Greater Boston Stand Down will take place on Friday, September 9, 2022 at Boston City Hall Plaza. This yearly event brings together community providers and Veterans in one place to provide Veterans easy access to services and employment opportunities.

As in past years, over 100 service providers, employers, and community organizations are expected to turn out and provide essential supportive services, including housing assistance, medical care and wellness programs, legal support and employment assistance. Veterans will also be able to enjoy a free lunch and live entertainment.

For more information about the event, or to apply as a service provider, please contact Download and print the event flyer here.

Important information for Veterans planning to attend:
Veteran service hours are from 8:30 AM - 2:30 PM. You must bring proof of service. DD214 is acceptable.

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