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105 Reviews
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October 4, 2014

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1 previous review
June 24, 2013

I have known the Picards for 12 years now and I just graduated from their bootcamp with my third service dog. Memphis is a mobility assistance/ PTSD support dog. All the staff are professional, very k... more

October 4, 2014

ECAD is a wonderful organization that places service dogs with veterans and others with disabilities. I currently have a wonderful dog named Memphis. He is a mobility assistance dog who also began to alert to my diabetes high and low blood sugars. This is my 3rd ECAD dog, all of them have also helped me in my recovery from child sexual abuse.
The Picards and their staff and volunteers are kind and caring people who tailor each service dog to an individual clients needs. I have recommended ECAD to many people and I am giving them a 5 star rating!
Briana B.
June 24, 2013

I have known the Picards for 12 years now and I just graduated from their bootcamp with my third service dog. Memphis is a mobility assistance/ PTSD support dog. All the staff are professional, very kind and compassionate. They always know how to match the right dog with the right person and I am very happy with my new dog. Lu Picard is an incredible woman and I admire her tremendously. Because I survived horrendous child abuse, I often feel very fragmented. Having the right dog has turned my life around and I can work and have a good social life. I also have a healing spiritual life and I now have moments of great joy. My name is Briana Bittel and my canine partner is Memphis.

Ways to make it better...

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

They know what they are doing!

More feedback...

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

April 8, 2014

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April 8, 2014

I became aware of ECAD through the Explore.org live cams. It was just before Gucci gave birth to the Cheez-Its and I've been a fan and follower ever since! I have found this organization to be one that cares as much about the breeding and care of these magnificent dogs as they do to the future forever humans they match them with. The Picards, Lu and Dale, are truly dedicated to ECAD's mission and it shows by all the people's lives they have touched and made better, who would otherwise have become a statistic. My only disappointment is that I do not live close enough to be an ECAD volunteer.

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

April 8, 2014

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2 previous reviews - show all
September 13, 2012

My daughter & I became volunteers about 2 years ago and we have seen so many people's lies including our own changed by ECAD. Youngs kids learning compassion for others, patience when traning a dog, p... more

April 8, 2014

My daughter & I have been volunteering at the CT campus for almost 4 years now. The staff that work there are some of the most tireless, hardest working people I have ever had the pleasure to work along side of. We have learned so much from volunteering at ECAD, most of all what true dedication to a cause really looks like. ECAD never feels that their work is good enough. They continually strive to do a better job whether it be educating the dogs, the youth volunteers, staff or the general public. We are truly bless to be part of this wonderful organization. Thank-you ECAD for all that you do!
September 13, 2012

My daughter & I became volunteers about 2 years ago and we have seen so many people's lies including our own changed by ECAD. Youngs kids learning compassion for others, patience when traning a dog, personal loss & sacrifice from the veterans that are placed with ECAD dogs. I could go on at great length about all the good we've experinced, but I would struggle to be able to list anything NEGATIE ABOUT ECAD other than the need for service dogs is greater than the amount of staff & volunteers.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

February 16, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

My daughter and I have been volunteers for about 8 months now. We attend a training class once a week and we participate in the Home for the weekend program.We got involved because of our love for animals and because we thought it would help our dog Carly become more social to other dogs and it has. Having a different puppy in our house every weekend certainly has had its share of challenges, but it has had by far more rewards. We have seen how much the dogs have touched our lives as we work with them and we have seen lives transformed when the dogs are matched up with someone who needs their assistance. There are many wonderful volunteers that give their time freely to support a truly deserving organization and I am proud to work alongside of them and called many of them friend. This review can not be considered complete in my opinion until praise is given to the few paid staff that help train the dogs and us the volunteers and help keep this organization running. They are the heart of the progam and I applaud them for their dedication.

The Great!

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

We have been to a ECAD graduation and experienced first hand testimonials from people being united with their dogs how their lives were changed and will be better now that they have an ECAD dog in their life.

Ways to make it better...

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

I don't know of much that I would change, but I would like to see more staff and volunteer recognition. I would also like to see ECAD have the funds they need to have more staff to take some of the load off those who are currently doing many jobs.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

More structure

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Definitely! We've learned some new skills and sharpened others and made many new friends.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Like I'm part of something much bigger than myself

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

January 10, 2014

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January 10, 2014

ECAD is a seriously run business with a heart of gold mission. Over the past 18 years the organization has grown consistently and is now a leader in the Service Dog industry. As they enter the next generation of their existence, ECAD is building a state-of-the art Canine Education Facility to double their production of expertly trained Service Dogs. I recommend them highly to any serious philanthropist.

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How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

June 11, 2013

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June 11, 2013

I am a 100% disabled veteran. On Retirees Recognition Day at West Point, I met East Coast Assistance Dogs and asked about their program to help the disabled. We had a short conversation and they went to work immediately on my behalf arranging all the paperwork and then I ran it through my physicians at the Veterans Hospital. After 14 months four of us with similar disabilities were brought to their dormitory and we spent a little over two weeks being trained on dogs, their physiology, psychology , care and grooming, all the commands, and working with them in public. We lived with our dogs 24/7 and after a final exam in public we graduated at a special ceremony in a packed civic center. I call our new lives "the miracle of the dogs" as each of us are better off. I don't consider Iris a Golden Retriever. To me she is Iris and as much a part of me as any person could ever get. Together we have driven across the USA twice and flown to Germany. She is close day and night and I could not imagine where I would be today without her. Lt. Col. Bill Northacker, USA, Retired.

Ways to make it better...

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

Have a veterinarian give us a day's worth of instruction as well as show us how to treat simple health issues. Also would include an attorney to talk about Title 3, Public Accommodations of the ADA.

More feedback...

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

June 6, 2013

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June 6, 2013

I move to CT from PR looking desperetly medical help for my daughter. Something was going on I didnt understand my own daughter. She was no learning at all, etc and the Medical Providers just blame the age and just acting as a normal Hyper child. But I knew something was wrong.

In an
instant my word turned upside down. I had to put a side all my goals and dreams including my profession . I had to decide between my dreams or my daughter health. I had to decide gave a huge step back and started from CERO. So without no much time, I had to plan moving to CT in just two weeks. A Saturday I just decided to buy the flight tickets, Monday I gave the notice of my employer that in two weeks I will not longer can work for the company ( a great company). I had to finish in two weeks an ACCESS program I was building and make an user manual. Last day of work Sept 21 and in time could finish the program and the manual. I depart from PR arrived at CT on Sept 22, 2007 at 11 pm alone with my daughter on sept 2007, no family at all. Just with our luggage, medical documents and some of her favorite toys. And a good family that open their house to live with them for a month. I didnt know them, the only thing I knew that my neighbors already knew them.

My daughter have several mental illness. She was diagnosed on 2007 here in Hartford CT with Bipolar I (with hallucinations), ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Depression. A shocking hard diagnose for a child of 7 years old. Despite of her conditions, both commited to be a team to deal with her conditions and fight the good fight learning more about her condition, therapy and through a lot of medications. Actually she takes 6 strong medications twice a day. One of it is Haldol. this med is given to patients in psychiary ER and in top of that it suppose to be Haldol or Seroquel. So finally she had to take both with the other 4 meds. Her condition is more complex and the medication doesnt do what they suppose to do like disappearing-stop the hallucinations. She is sensitive to the meds (affecting her heart) so two of them cannot be increased.

One day a friend (23 years old) was recently diagnosed with bipolar. So I talked to her to talk to my daughter. Remember one of my daughter words to my friend.... "You know? It is so hard to deal with it". Remember she was seeing starring the sidewalk. My friend and I had to hold the tears. My friend had to wrap up the conversation...

Well since I arrived here on 2007, I havent stop looking for all the help, training we can get. One day I saw a news about a problem with a mother that have 2 autism child and their service dog and Mc Donalds. Of course, the issue was the service dog... Then I realized that I should look for a Service Dog Organization that be specialized on service dog for mental illness patients. Looking for an organization with a good reputation and highly experience in mental illness area. Took me around one month to find the one that fits my daughter needs. It was ECAD. It was like God open the heaven for me and my daughter. During that month I learned about laws, web side central service dog, and the Psychiatry Service Dog Society. Remember right now I found ECAD through the PSD Society.

Since the firt time I started to contact them... They are great!!!! All additional information I needed was given to me. I knew inmediatly that it is a truthful and great organization. When I saw they are partners with Veterans Affairs realized inmediatly it is the kind of Organization have fully acknowledge about Service Dog for Mental Illness patients.

We had been working a year (since 2012) to raised the funds. Because I am alone and my daughter conditions had to set limits who are my friends. And yes, I finished kind isolated and harder to do the raise funding.

Josue "Ace" Acevedo, extraordinaire volunteer of ECAD. He is the one who started to teach me how to do fund raising. For me something that I never thought that I couldnt do it. He have been giving me all the support and guiding me through the whole process on ECAD. I found a good church, my church, Calvary Church in West Hartford have been helping me in organizing fund raising, through the Compation Ministry. Melody Chapman is the person who have been in charge to take this wonderful proyect. The Church is very exhited of the stupendous program that have ECAD for people with Disabilites and spread the word. The church have been committed to my daughter cause. We started recycling 5 cents deposit bottles and they sponsord Karla doing a Pancake Breakfast raising funds. We felt so happy and proud doing this proyect. The idea and the person behind this activity (Pancake Breakfast) and came from his heart was Philip and Kristine Parker. We were so happy because we could raised $1,500 and I was so happy. But I was running out of time. We were so far to the goal and I was getting kind of sad because I thought my daughter couldnt make the Team Training for this summer and have to wait a whole year again. I just praying 24/7 for a miracle from God. Asking to the Lord that move the heart of a Person to sponsor Karla. And I know this person will have a great blessing changing the life of my daughter and her future and every person and the church who had been helping giving a chance of a better, quality of life for my daughter.

My daughter is in really needed of the Service Dog, as a child at risk and my health was getting more affected. Kind of 24/7 taking care of my daughter. Lack of sleep, all the responsability as the only headhouse... Too much to handle but never giving up.

The church and our prayers were listened and the miracle had came all over us. Someone completed the amount of the balance due. Barbara gave me the news on June 4. That day I was so stressed out and with an anxiety attack. Had to return home inmediatly. I always overcome this but this time was a hard one. While I was trying to relax like 30 min later I received the call of Barbara Jenkel. When she asked me if we could do the training for this summer and someone paid the big balance due. I was shoked I had to make sure i was not dreaming when I finished with Barbara by phone. I laughed, I cried of hapiness because the first thing comes to my mind my daughter now will have a future and all the blessing that will come with it. I had to knee and give thanks for the things that God had done and how God direct people to open their heart to help us. Giving a chance of a better life to childs and adults at risk.

ECAD and Josue "Ace" Acevedo are stupendous and fantastics. Doing a great job for all their clients. They are at the Top of any expectation.

Calvary Church and the person who open its heart for this great gift of life.

All together changed our lives and future for good. My daughter is thanksful because she have dreams to be an useful and successfull person for this world. We both have a better look at her future.

I WILL BE THANKSFULL FOR EVER.

Ways to make it better...

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

NONE

More feedback...

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

June 5, 2013

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June 5, 2013

My son Troy Roberts has Autism. We went to ECAD 3 years ago for help. We got a beautiful "yellow puppy" named Sierra. Actually, she chose my son. Once you are in ECAD's door, you become family.
They make sure you are trained properly and even answer "dumb" questions. Troy didn't have many
words 3 years ago, but now he is trying to command Sierra. It's cute when he plays lay down boy and she will respond to him. When I was trying to get even information about a service dog for Troy, Ohio had nothing for us. When I called ECAD I got fast response! I couldn't believe it. I think it took us 6 - 8 months total time from first phone call until Sierra was home with us. Ecad keeps in touch or you can always call them with questions. If you can make a higher recommendation than 5 stars, it would be infinate. Thank you ECAD !!!

Ways to make it better...

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

Nothing about the organization itself. Would love it if they could get money to renovate the offices and building and area grounds.

More feedback...

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?

2009

June 5, 2013

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June 5, 2013

We are currently in the process of getting our dog for our son who has a mitochondrial disease. We will be attending our training camp this summer. Our experience up to this point has been very good. This firm is professional, caring and compassionate. We attended our interview in November 2011 and had a very good experience. The organization keeps us updated and quickly answers any questions we have. It's a top notch firm.

More feedback...

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

June 5, 2013

more


1 previous review
September 10, 2010

It was almost 10 years ago that ECAD paired me with Elli, my service dog. At the time I thought the only thing I would need a dog for would be to wake me up when my father's ventilator alarm went off... more

June 5, 2013

ECAD's staff and volunteers are some of the most giving, caring people I've ever met. As both a board member and recipient of their services, I am especially aware of their hard work and dedication. The staff works together, not only to train the service dogs and the trainer/students, but also to help raise funds for the organization.
I have recieved two service dogs from ECAD. My first dog, Elli, worked from the day I brought her home in March, 2000, right up until a week before she died in September, 2011. She was literally a lifesaver, waking me when my father's ventilator alarm went off. At the time of my interview, I thought that would be the only thing I needed a service dog for. Was I wrong!! With Elli, my life became so much easier! She would pull my wheelchair for miles, help me with the grocery shopping, and perform a myriad of tasks that I would find difficult without her.
In March, 2013, my second service dog, McGrew, came home with me. With his help, I am able to work part time, even though I suffered another spinal cord injury. He pulls me to work and home every day, picks up everything I drop (and I drop a LOT of items) and loves to get things off the shelves in the supermarket for me. McGrew has become a special part of our community because of his loving personality and calmness. When our area was devastated by a tropical storm 6 months ago, ours was one of the few businesses that remained open. Lines were long and people were devastated by the loss of their homes. McGrew, like Elli before him, seemed to know who needed him most. He accepted lots of hugs during those trying times. Our "don't pet" policy went out the window with these dire circumstances, and he spent hours calming people. After each encounter, McGrew would climb onto my lap as if to say " I love you the most." Who but the most caring individuals like those at ECAD could raise and train dogs of this caliber.

Ways to make it better...

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

Find a way to lessen their fundraising load.

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

September 10, 2010

It was almost 10 years ago that ECAD paired me with Elli, my service dog. At the time I thought the only thing I would need a dog for would be to wake me up when my father's ventilator alarm went off. Because I have both Muscular Dystrophy and a spinal cord injury, I use a wheelchair or crutches to get around. At the time I applied for a dog, I felt I was totally independent - I just couldn't walk. Now I'm lost without Elli's help. Before I had Elli, I would have to go to the supermarket 3 or 4 times a week, because I couldn't many items while pushing the wheelchair. Elli was able to pull me through the supermarket while I piled my lap high with the groceries for the whole week! When we were finished, Elli would pull me to the car while carrying a bag of groceries in her mouth. She would also get things off the lower shelves for me. Her only drawback was that she absolutely refused to pick up store brand marshmallows, even though she never tasted one in her life - so we had to buy name brand. Elli came to Mass with me every weekend, and would help pass the collection plate. She would carry cold cuts in her mouth without ever trying to taste them. She was so well trained it was amazing! Two of ECAD's students spent 2 days teaching Elli to respond to my father's ventilator alarm. Because I had her, he was able to get his wish of dying at home surrounded by his family and friends. She saved his life twice! Elli also carried my briefcase into court when I was working. Many of us joke that she was better at plea bargaining than I was, and my clients should hire her and forget about me. Justices have told me that the courtroom was much more relaxed when Elli was there. When I suffered another injury about 2 1/2 years ago, Elli was by my side. She had to work harder at age 11 than she did when she was young. The harder she worked, the harder her tail wagged. Elli just retired. When I'm ready to get another service dog, I'll make sure to go to ECAD! I also became a volunteer for ECAD and have sat on the board of directors for several years. I wanted to do more, so I became a home handler. First, I had to go through training, of course, because it's very easy to spoil these lovable dogs. A home handler takes a puppy or young dog from Thursday evening through Monday morning. We keep practicing the commands with these pups, help socialize them, and work on the commands they need the most help with. Monday mornings, they're back at school where their student trainers teach them whatever they need to learn and continue their socialization. We get to watch them grow from chewing puppies to adolescent service dogs. Though we try hard not to, we bond with the dogs and miss them when they go out on a team. We're like proud parents when we receive updates on the dogs we've handled, and watching them go off into the world with their new handler is akin to watching your child graduate school and go off into the world. It's bittersweet, but such a rewarding sight.

Photos

The Great!

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

that I was teamed up with Elli, who has been my service dog for the past 10 years. I've also seen some of the student trainers in the community, after they've left the program, and they all seemed to be doing well. It's a wonderful sight.

Ways to make it better...

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

like to see them have more funding, so they could hire more staff. They have an extrememly dedicated staff, and they all work long hours. They obviously love their work, but I'm sure they're tired at the end of the day.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Elli. She's the most loyal, dedicated service dog. She doesn't care about anything except being with me and helping me. Even though she's old now and can't do as much anymore, she still loves to pick things up for me.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

friendly, knowledgeable and dedicated. They will go out of their way to help. They'll drive for 3 1/2 hours after work to make a presentation. They're the type of people any employer would love to have.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

hire more people to expand the program enough to place more dogs each year, as long as they can keep the high quality of services they provide now. They could also purchase land for their kennels and add a training center there.

Ways to make it better...

I lived closer to them.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

like every non profit organization, they need more funds to be able to provide the same excellent level of service to their clients.

One thing I'd also say is that...

everyone who is involved with ECAD is better for it, whether they are clients who recieve a dog, the young student trainers, the staff or volunteers. Helping people with disabilities, at risk youth AND dogs is a wonderful way to live.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

June 5, 2013

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1 previous review
October 26, 2012

I volunteer with one of ECAD's dogs and visit patients, families and assist in many physical therapy groups in the hospital that I work for. The difference these dogs make in peoples lives is immeasur... more

June 5, 2013

ECAD is a wonderful, thoughtful organization that works tirelessly at training and providing service dogs to so many, particularly our returning soldiers that depend on these wonderful creatures to give them the freedom to return to live as it was or as close as it ever can be again. This service is invaluable to our veterans and the people that love them.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 26, 2012
2 people found this review helpful

I volunteer with one of ECAD's dogs and visit patients, families and assist in many physical therapy groups in the hospital that I work for. The difference these dogs make in peoples lives is immeasurable. You cannot appreciate the value fully until you witness it first hand. Stroke patients are motivated to rehab, children with special needs open up as they never have before and provide an avenue for the therapist and parents to reach them. They bring a smile to every face the visit and for some patients that have been hospitalized for an extended period of time, it is an escape for just a short time and renews their hope and motivation to get better and go home to their pets. Thank you ECAD for all that you do.

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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5 tips for getting reviews...

  1. Sending an email to clients, volunteers, donors, board members, and other partners with a link to your profile page.
  2. Putting a link on your Web site
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3 hours of volunteer time for this nonprofit will...

Wash and groom up to 10 dogsSocialize with a new litter of puppiesDecorate & Prepare a graduation ceremonyAssist in general office work; filing, mailings, copies, etc.Participate at awareness events Volunteer