ECAD, Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities

Rating: 4.92 stars   105 reviews

Issues: Animals, Education

Location: PO BOX 251 Dobbs Ferry NY 10522 USA

Mission: Founded in 1995, Our mission is to educate and place Assistance Dogs to help people with disabilities gain independence and mobility.

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

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Rating: 5 stars  

as a combat disabled veteran, is an alumni and graduate of project heal. lizzy my service dog and i have been a team for several years and been on many adventures. she is a blessing to me and i am lucky to have her in my life.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

I am a retired combat us army soldier. i served a tour of duty in afghanistan in 2003. During my retirement, my case manager suggested a service dog to assist me with my various disabilities including mobility and ptsd. Lizzy and I graduated on the 27th of May, 2011. Since we became a service dog team, I am not afraid to go outside, a fear of unkown, unkown if I would fall or not. Lizzy is by my side making sure all goes smoothly for me. Thank you to ECAD's and Project Heal for all they do.

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

In response to consumer1:

I am a member of a local veterans’ organization. We have been dealing with ECAD as a donor for a number of years. The focus of our support has been Project HEAL which places service dogs with physically and/or emotionally disabled veterans. I read the comments of “consumer1” with dismay and felt compelled to give a contrasting viewpoint.

I think that “consumer1’s” expectations of ECAD are unrealistic and his/her criticisms basically without merit. First, ECAD is making approximately a $25,000 investment in each service dog it provides. Requiring only a $500 non-refundable deposit after being accepted into ECAD’s Program (Civilian Program or Project HEAL ) on a $25,000 investment is beyond generous. Second, I have never heard of a case where a civilian or veteran who followed the rules of the ECAD Program did not receive a service dog. Third, ECAD requires the recipient to meet certain standards for caring for their service dog. I am sorry, but if the recipient does not have the financial resources himself/herself or via family and friends to come up with a $500 non-refundable deposit for an investment that will change his/her life, the odds of him/her having the resources to provide ECAD’s required level of care for their service dog are very low and the dog should go to someone else.

Based on my experience, I can say with confidence that Westchester’s veterans’ organizations are firmly behind ECAD and enthusiastically support Project HEAL. Everyone who happens to read the review posted by “consumer1” ought to (1) read the other 100 reviews also, and (2) look at ECAD’s Charity Navigator Evaluation where it has a “four star (highest possible)” rating. “Consumer1” would be better off focusing on trying to find a service dog elsewhere rather than bashing ECAD on this website where his comments clearly reflect a minority view.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

In response to Consumer1:

I am assuming you have not had much interaction with ECAD. They are some of the most dedicated and hardworking people I have ever had the pleasure of supporting. They have gone far above and beyond for every client I have ever encountered there, as well as to ensure their donors they are efficiently allocating the funds they collect. I would recommend this organization to anyone in need of their services. They are a ray of light among the clouds for those feeling hopeless or overwhelmed due to a disability.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am a client of ECAD and can talk having first hand experience with ECAD. I applied with ECAD 10 years ago and the commitment fee then was $500. I am currently waiting on my second ECAD dog. ECAD commits to all their clients, the instructors are there to help, they return emails and phone calls and treat their graduates like family. ECAD is a hardworking, honest group of people. I would like to clarify a few things in the above review. 1) Yes ECAD has a $500 commitment fee but that is after the face to face meet and greet interview, and only if the person would like to proceed with ECAD. 2) ECAD uses agreements not contracts, having an ECAD service dog is an ongoing relationship with the organization. It is team work and trust on both sides that makes it work. 3) ECAD has a person dedicated to helping with fundraising. And the dogs are amazing I have seen many of them at various ECAD events as well as living with my own ECAD service dog for the past 10 years. Anyone in need of a Service Dog would be lucky to get an ECAD dog and it is well worth the effort and time the clients put in while their dog is being trained.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

My name is Donna and I was born with Muscular Dystrophy. I am in a wheelchair and went to ECAD in 2004 to receive a service dog. I have "Haley" since Dec 2004. She is a wonderful Golden Retriever who has changed my life in so many ways. She picks up things I drop, helps open doors, and much more.

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Review from Guidestar
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

My name is Donna Burke and I was born with Muscular Dystrophy. I am confined to a wheelchair since the age of 4 (I am 44 now). In Dec 2004 I was accepted into ECAD'S "Boot Camp" to receive a Service dog. I attended classes for 2 weeks and learned all the commands that the dogs already knew. I was placed with "Haley" who at the time was almost 3 yrs old. We had a fast bond which is very important for a service dog team. We worked very well together and I got to go home with her after passing all our tests. Haley has been a blessing to me in many ways. She helps pick up items I drop, open the fridge, turn on/off lights, and open doors. She also gave me the motivation to lose about 100 lbs to be able to take care of her in the way she deserves. ECAD is a wonderful program that is helping so many people being independant! Donna Burke

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

See above

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

Rating: 1 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

ECAD is all about the money. First to ask for a $500 non-refundable deposit from someone who is disabled and probably on a limited income speaks for itself. The deposit is to show commitment from the client with no commitment from ECAD. They expect payment in full without a written contract with a specific scheduled training. There are inconsistencies with information in their documents. Their communication with a perspective client while the client is trying to raise funds is poor. Their lack of knowledge of fundraising resources to share with clients is poor as well. I cannot speak about how well their dogs are trained but I will not recommend this agency due to their lack of integrity.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

Four years ago I became a client of ECAD upon receiving my service dog Garrison. He truly changed my life. ECAD provided me with a highly trained service dog (80+ commands), and the personalized training to take care of him and safely navigate in public. I was fighting the constant battle of trying to remain independent in spite of my disability. He enabled me to maintain my independence and give my family piece of mind, knowing that he is always by my side. This is an extremely high quality dedicated organization that really does help 3 people (the client, the trainer and the dog)!! Since receiving Garrison, my family members have become volunteers to try and help others receive the fantastic gift that I was given. We are proud to be members of the ECAD family.

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

ECAD is an amazing organization!! Its mission is critical in helping the disabled through the training and placement of service/facility/companion dogs. As a wheelchair bound person, I recognize the expertise, devotion and compassion that goes into ECAD's work. Their unique service of fostering independence greatly empowers the disabled. These dogs become an extension of the person thereby enabling them in many ways. In addition to providing assistance in retrieving objects, opening doors, turning on/off lights, etc; the dogs perform a safety function as well by getting help/a phone in an emergency. However, a service dog's work is not all physical, emotional support is also provided. It is very difficult to be depressed with a dog around! I consider myself very fortunate to have discovered ECAD and its dogs!!

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

As a client/participant in the program.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

This is a great organization.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

We fell in love with this charity a few years ago and went to a few events before finally committing to being Home Handlers. We can't say enough great things about ECAD. We especially love how they support our Military Vets.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a client since 2012. This organization has definitely changed my life. With the help of my Service Dog, Somerset, I am able to be more independent. She help me with everyday tasks, but has also helped me do things I could have never imagined possible (such as taking the Amtrak to visit my parents, who live in another state.)
Somerset has also helped me make friends. People who would never speak to me before I had had the dog now go out of their way to talk to us. I have an incredible bond with my ECAD classmates, who I consider friends for life. Before I had Somerset, I was often anxious in social situations. Having her with me constantly helps me to relax.
ECAD is a wonderful organization. I feel lucky & blessed to be a client.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I received my dog in 2012 and life has definitely changed for the better. My dog Somerset ("Somer") is many things: helper, companion and hero, to name just a few. She gives my life meaning & purpose. Together we can do anything.

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

My dog Somerset "(Somer") and I have been together a little over a year. It has been a life-changing experience for me. In addition to being my friend and helper, Somer has helped me to make new friends and overcome shyness and depression. (I have been on antidepressants since the age of 16 but now take less medication. The dog helps me more than the medicine ever did.) I also feel that, thanks to ECAD, I have friends for life.

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I was matched with 2 year old Somerset in March 2012. She has improved my life in so many ways. In addition to increasing my independence, she has made me feel more comfortable in public and less anxious in social situations. I thank God every day for ECAD and bringing usd together.

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Rating: 5 stars  

I had the great fortune to met an ECAD service dog and his partner, and read about ECAD's exceptional traing methods. It gives me great pleasure to contribute to such a well-grounded charity.

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Rating: 5 stars  

ECAD is an amazing non-profit that helps lives on so many levels. 1. They give independence and new lives to individuals with disabilities, veterans and civilians, adults and children, providing amazingly trained and loving service dogs who provide needed services and connection. 2. They work with at-risk children who train the dogs (under the guidance of professional, gifted trainers), often these children's first experience of loving and caring, changing lives for these children. 3. They have a great bunch of volunteers and advocates who bring the dogs in training into the community. I am a weekend volunteer and the ECAD dogs have brought tremendous joy and growth to my own life. 4. This non-profit is impeccably run. Lu and Dale Picard are so talented at understanding how an organization works at every level. They spend money where it's needed - no wasted money with "Frou frou" fancy stuff or unneeded bureaucracy. Donations and time go where most needed. These people care!!! If you care about people - or dogs - smile - this is an organization worth your time.

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