ECAD, Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities

Rating: 4.92 stars   105 reviews

Issues:

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.
Results: ECAD has placed over 200 dogs, in over 25 states, which is made possible by more than 750 teens that have participated in our ECADemy Program. There are over 60 dogs in training at one time and over 30 people waiting to receive a dog.
Target demographics: People with physical disabilities, children effected by Autism, wounded Veterans returning from war and the At Risk Youth trainers that educate our dogs.1.  At-Risk IndividualsThe agencies in which ECAD’s PALS programs operate, serve some of society’s most troubled children and their families in both residential and community settings, providing them with therapeutic care as well as support and skills necessary to succeed as adults:• 87% of the residents are referred through New York City’s child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice systems, and come from the city’s most impoverished and violent neighborhoods.• 68% of the children admitted to these Residential Treatment Centers have suffered neglect.• 36% have been physically or sexually abused.• 43% have had prior psychiatric hospitalizations.• 39% have made suicidal gestures or attempts• 43% have engaged in delinquent behaviors prior to admission.Most of the children come from families with serious emotional or substance abuse problems: • 78% of the children have one or more parents who are substance abusers. • 45% of the children have a parent in prison, • 30% have a parent with serious psychiatric problems.• Approximately 66% of those served are African American, 27% are Latino, 5% are Euro-American and 2% are from other racial/ethnic backgrounds
Direct beneficiaries per year: ECAD averages 15 dogs placed per year with individuals, and rehabilitation facilities.
Geographic areas served: NATIONAL
Programs: Today ECAD’s training program produces a wide variety of Assistance Dogs: Service Dogs assist individuals with physical disabilities by acting as their arms and legs. The dogs are trained to perform a variety of tasks (e.g., retrieve items, activate light switches, open and close doors, assist with balance) specific to the needs of each individual. Specialty Dogs to assist children with Autism spectrum disorders in a variety of areas including emotional bonding, socialization support, cognitive development, and physical safety. Skilled Companion Dogs are placed with individuals who need support but are too young or ill to handle a Service Dog. These dogs are well socialized, trained in basic obedience, and can be trained to perform more advanced tasks based on an individual’s needs. Facility Dogs are placed in nursing homes, hospitals, private practice settings, alternative schools, or anywhere their therapeutic support is needed. These dogs have been well socialized; obedience trained, and can be trained to work in patient therapy programs.
Write a Review

See How 3Hrs Can Help

More Info

EIN 06-1436718
9146930600 x1950
Invite people to share their experience with this nonprofit!

Promote This Nonprofit

GreatNonprofits badges allow you to raise awareness of your favorite nonprofits on your own web sites!

Review this charity on
GreatNonprofits

Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I am writing on behalf of Martin Luther King, Jr., High School in the Greenburgh-Graham Union Free School District. We are currently in our second year of the ECAD Program which involves students in grades nine through twelve. This program has helped our students learn key skills in the area of communication and leadership.

In closing, I like to say how sincerely thankful I am to have the ECAD Program at our high school.

Paul Tobin
Principal

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

Students are accountable and responsible for their dogs at all times, and have developed training strategies that enable them to be very successful as a team. Our hope is that the program continues and our students can go on to train dogs for future assignments to help people world-wide.

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

I would like the program to expand so that more students can have the opportunity to participate in the ECAD Program.

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

ECAD is a wonderful program for not just the local community that is involved, but for the families whose life are changed. I am writing as a witness to this wonderful change in a family very close to me. ECAD has a very special way of working with their clients not only through the training program but also for the years to follow! They provide peace of mind and really set the families up for success!

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

I witnessed an amazing growth in a family who now can live "normally" thanks to the help of their assistance dog.

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

N/A

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

My time as a weekend respite provider for the dogs in training was an amazing experience..I learned so much from my canine guests and the experience gave me the confidence and skill to rescue a dog in need of a home.
This organization cares deeply about its youth tainers as well as the canines.As a result of the dedication and expertise of the professionals in this organization canines and their partners are well suited and successful.
The contributions made by these dogs to the lives of all they encounter is difficult to measure but invaluable and life changing.
It is a pleasure to have played a small role in this much needed organization,They provide a wonderful service.

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

I learned a lot about the behavior of dogs.

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

No recommendations for change.Well run and efficient.

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I have had the honor of working with ECAD since its inception. They provide an amazing service not only to the ultimate clients who receive the fully trained dogs but to the boys who train the dogs at The Children's Village. I'm a staff member at CV but also a "mom" to one of the breeder dogs who has provided two litters of puppies for the program. This program is a source of awe-inspiring results and is a win-win for everyone concerned.

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

I've seen first hand the results of this wonderful organization. I know the founders, the trainers, the volunteers, the boys and the dogs.

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

Make the program an even bigger entity to provide more working dogs to deserving clients.

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

ECAD is a wonderful organization. Everyone involved truly believes in this cause and authentically cares about the organization. The dogs receive outstanding training, love and attention by at-risk teens- who not only learn dog training skills, but they gain confidence and how to give and receive love from the dogs. In turn these dogs one day help those with physical or emotional issues... After partnering and training, the dog recipients are able to achieve greater independence as they go out into the world with a new four legged best friend. This is an amazing organization with every nuance and detail attended to in the most sensitive and compassionate manner. A win-win for all those involved!

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

I have seen the beauty and magic of what these dogs (and people) can do...

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

Give more....

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

ECAD is a wonderful organization. Not only do they train assistance dogs for people with disabilities, for autistic children and for therapy centers and hospitals, but they use boys at Children's Village, a residential treatment center and school for boys, to do the training. Clients who receive the dogs are thus helped and the boys have the pride of seeing what their disciplined work over 18 months or more can achieve. We have worked especially with two dogs: Sierra, who is now living with and serving a 7 year old boy with autism, and Pumpkin, who is about to go to a hospital center in Florida. With Pumpkin, especially, we saw the results of ECAD's work. he went from being an opportunistic, difficult pup to a mature dog responding to many commands and giving great help.

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

I have known well one of the clients who received a dog from ECAD, an Iraq vet who lost part of a leg and has PTSD from a helicopter crash in the war, and I have seen first hand what his dog does for him physically and emotionally. We also saw Sierra work with her client, a then six year old autistic boy. She calmed him when he ran away from his mother and brought him back.

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

Nothing

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 4 stars  

I first heard of ECAD from a friend who desired to have a companion dog for her autistic sons. As we were able to take part by assisting with the funds needed for the training and then partnering of the perfect dog for her sons, it became evident that all the staff were kind, professional and very supportive of the entire process. It was a match made in heaven and it has enabled this entire family to venture out into the general population with much more security and confidence and saftey with the assistance of their companion dog. Things that were not a reality if it had not been for the great team at ECAD.

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

In directly through partnership with friend.

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

Great organization

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I have volunteered with ECAD for several rewarding years now. I view the program as a WIN-WIN-WIN. Service dogs are trained by at-risk youth (first WIN -- you should see the kids bond with these dogs, and from their experience learn patience and trust). Then the dogs are paired with persons with physical challenges (second WIN -- whether it is providing independence to an autistic child (and parents!) or much-needed physical and/or emotional support for a wounded veteran, the service dog adds quality of life for a recipient. Third WIN: the volunteer! Being a weekend handler allows me to have a trained, loving dog at my convenience. It is very rewarding, to say nothing of excellent exercise!

Imagine being the kid in the wheelchair, that has always felt like an outsider at school. Now, imagine being that same kid in the wheelchair at school -- but with a dog! The other kids now envy you and crowd around. You are no longer the kid with the disability -- you are the kid who GETS to have a dog. Big difference!

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

ECAD goes out of its way to create a sense of community. Volunteers are encouraged to interact with the eventual recipient/pairing of a service dog they helped train. We hear their backgrounds and stories, which makes the experience come alive for each of us.

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

ECAD should continue to improve its communication and marketing arms, to keep everyone engaged.

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I was trained by ECAD 6 and a half years ago to work with therapy dogs as part of my job as a social worker in a residential treatment facility. I found the training I received as part of the program and the continued contact and communication with ECAD to be extremely helpful to my job. I utilize ECAD therapy dogs in individual sessions, group sessions, community activities, and treatment team meetings with my boys. The boys at MercyFirst have responded so well to the presence of the dogs and I am so glad to be a part of the program. The dogs help these severely traumatized boys feel safe and cared for in a way that no human can.

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

My interactions with the residents of MercyFirst.

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

N/A

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

When I first herd about ECAD I couldn't wait to sign up.Before I signed up though, my parents wanted to see if I could volunteer at a more local facility.When that failed, my parents said I could finally fill the application and go with my friend to ECAD see what they do.When that day finally arrived, it was Sunday afternoon; I was wearing my pink polo shirt ( to look presentable), and got in my friend's car.We were off!When we arrived it wasn't exactly what I thought it would look like, but it was fine with me!My friend introduced me to everyone there, then soon I got the nickname, Pinky; (lol :) because of my shirt )! After a few weeks of going with my friend I was finally accepted into ECAD! I was then assigned a dog to work with and foster at my house (optional). He was a great dane lab mix named Valor. He was the best dog in the world! He was all black and literally my shadow (lol :D )! I fostered Valor for many weekends, he was always there for me, and was always a very good boy! Later my instructor told me he was soon moving on to the New York campus, I was sad that Valor was leaving, but happy that he was one step closer to becoming a service dog (and I was still able to see him sometimes when he would come back to the Connecticut campus). After Valor moved on to the New York campus; I wasn't particularly assigned to another dog I just got any dog that was there to foster and train. Later I went to Valor's graduation and saw him become an official service dog. To this day I still think of him often. I still do go to ECAD and foster and train dogs, and YES they still do call me Pinky at times, but it doesn't bother me.ECAD has changed me in many ways.Before I came to ECAD I wasn't patient, but now that I work with the dogs I have to be patient, I also feel more mellow and calm when I am around other dogs and people (Valor taught me that). Each dog has many purposes in life, taking a dog home to foster every once in a while, will teach me more lessons to learn about life,love, and lessons. I love coming to ECAD and always look forward to coming each week. I hope that someday I will help impact any people like ECAD has; I know it has for me, my family, friends, and the people whom are gaining independence.ECAD will impact your life too, if you give it a chance, and help them raise money, to raise more puppies, which will someday turn into service dogs that will help people in many ways.

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

An all out great organization, I love coming to ECAD, and I know I have the power to change lives, and make a difference being a kid.

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

NONE

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

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

NONE

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

YES!!! Definitely!!!!

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Awesome!!!!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar