NEADS Opens Breeding Center, Expanding Service Dog Capacity

PRINCETON — The new NEADS Breeding Center, which has been in the works for a few years from planning to construction, is now up and running, with puppies running around awaiting training for their future jobs assisting humans.

A grand opening was held for the $2.6 million facility on June 11. This was an opportunity to show off the location that will help NEADS ensure the process from selection to training.

The new center is a far cry from the two farrowing rooms at the NEADS nursery when it launched the breeding program in 2017.

Realizing that a larger facility was needed, NEADS began work on the new site about a quarter mile up the road from its main campus on Route 140 in Princeton.

With an increase in its pool of dogs bred specifically for service work, the facility will be able to accommodate up to 10 litters at a time, compared to the two litters in the nursery.

“This is a game-changer for the NEADS Breeding Program, allowing us to serve more clients across all of our programs,” said NEADS CEO Gerry DeRoche.

PRINCETON - NEADS assistance dogs sit proudly in front of the new breeding center.

“We currently have over 400 service dog teams operating across the United States, and we hope to increase our customer base with the addition of the new Breeding Center.”

“The Breeding Center is designed to give purpose-bred puppies the best start on the path to becoming service dogs for working with people with disabilities,” said Kate Albertini, Breeding and Development Manager puppies.

“As one of our clients said, ‘It takes an amazing dog to give someone an ordinary life,’ and this facility will help us tremendously in our mission to breed more extraordinary service dogs” , said Albertini.

Features of the new center include a rearing suite, birthing room, five whelping rooms for younger litters and transition pods for older litters.

Two veterinary care stations are included and a behavior checklist testing area, also known as the socialization room, will help determine the temperament of the puppies. Along with the tracks and a kennel area, a sound system provides quieter, soothing sounds in the whelping rooms and louder sounds for socializing in the transition pods.

A central work center for the center’s quarantine area provides space for volunteers and staff to prepare food, clean toys and monitor all rooms on camera.

PRINCETON — Budding NEADS assistance dogs like these puppies will be born at the new breeding center.

A stone from the original steps of the old farmhouse that stood on the site was reused as a 650-pound address marker.

A meditation garden features plantings and benches named in memory of Herman Kensky, father of NEADS client Jessica Kensky, and a sculpture, “Foundations of the Past,” is made from pieces of brick foundations, stone and granite of the site, the main campus, and select local locations that reflect NEADS’ past as much as the selection center reflects the future of the organization.

A leadership gift from Larry and Nanine Costa highlighted donations for the facility. Puppies entering the NEADS program will be named through the organization’s Name a Puppy program. Information about NEADS is available at

The inauguration included event partner Wachusett Brewing Co., House Representative Kimberly Ferguson, former state Attorney General Martha Coakley, state Senator Anne Gobi and Tracey Stoll with the dog of NEADS Gleason support, as well as NEADS staff, customers, volunteers and puppy raisers. .