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.
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.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 06-1436718
9146930600 x1950
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

We acquired a beautiful service dog from ECAD in New York for our son, Nathaniel, in 2008 and it has been the best thing we've ever done for him. Nathan, now 11, suffers from mitochondrial disease, a life-threatening illness that robs the body of its ability to create adequate energy from food. The result is a general deficiency in nearly every system in the body-muscular, respiratory, immune, digestive, etc.

Nathan's beautiful golder retriever, Chief, from ECAD helps Nathan on a daily basis with the everyday functions most people take for granted. He helps Nathan dress by "bracing" for him so Nathan can have something to lean against and maintain balance. He picks up clothes and toys off the floor and brings them to Nathan. He helps hold Nathan's legs up to get his leg braces and shoes on. He alerts my wife and me at night if Nathan's breathing is irregular or if he's kinked his O2 tube. Above all, though, Chief is a faithful sentinel and friend at all hours, day or night. Hospital procedures are more bearable when a warm fur coat and cold nose are close at hand to give a nudge of encouragement as only a faithful dog can do.

There is a reason our family decided to drive all the way to New York from Michigan to get a service dog, and that reason is ECAD. The dogs' breeding lines are strictly maintained and the training is thorough and unparalleled. We sometimes see so-called service dogs from other organizations in our area when we're in public and they behave so poorly that we're quickly reminded again why we choose to go to ECAD for help.

I recommend them unreservedly and hope they will continue their success for generations to come.

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

every aspect of daily life. Our son's quality of life has improved so much thanks to the assistance he gets from his service dog, Chief.

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

only hope that their litters continue to be adequate to meet the demand for their highly skilled service dogs.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 4 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

We have an autistic son who is now 6 years old. We received our service dog in 2009.My wife and I found ECAD while researching service dogs on the internet and applied. After spending two weeks of extensive training with several dogs, we were paired with an older (3 yo) female because our son was the youngest to ever receive a service dog for autism.

Our search turned up several trainers with good credentials much closer to our home in Alabama. However, they would not place a dog with a child younger than 5. In our opinion, this was simply two years of wasted time and opportunity for improvement. Upon contacting ECAD, Lu, the trainer, shared our view and allowed us to interview for placement. It is this vision which sets this organization apart from the rest. And when you find out that they incorporate disadvantaged youths in the majority of their training process, the decision to choose ECAD is an easy one. Our dog, Sonic Boom, is now as much a member of our family as our children and as invaluable resource for our autistic son. She willingly accepts the burden of caring for our son in public situation, and removes most of our safety concerns. We continue to obtain the required yearly certifications from the ECAD staff.

I understand that they are currently creating a new "breed" of service dog with size, strength, and intelligence to place with disabled veterans returning from the middle east. This is just another example of how this incredible organization looks toward the future.

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

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in the personalized training of each dog, which is augmented to meet the needs of each individual client.

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

I would relocate them closer to Alabama. Other than that...this is one of the most mutually beneficial processes that I have ever witnessed. I wouldn't change a thing.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

i have worked with ecad 2 years and i think they are a wounderful program. with out this program many people would feel helpless and would feel like they have no meening but ecad will and currently is bringing a brighter future.

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

once in awile clients will come to the school to tell us how the dogs we trained helped them with there lives.

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

try to get the word out more. next to no one knows about thin amazing program.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I am a co-producer of several projects dealing with the special needs of individuals who have experienced trauma (see truerep.net). Several of the veterans in our films have service dogs. I have also done theatre/film projects working the people who support children who have fallen through the safety net of the foster care system. I have worked with people with emotional illnesses including autism. I am completely astounded by how ECAD heals the people who train their dogs (from kids with emotional challenges to teens at risk) and then send those dogs off to support individuals with all different kinds of disabilities, while the kids/young adults involved in training the dogs move forward with their lives, knowing they have given to the world as they, themselves, were healed .

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

my realization of how they have changed the lives of people I have gotten to know through my projects. In fact, there is such an amazing vibe at ECAD that I feel inspired and happy after every visit!

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

make sure they had all the money they need to do the important service they perform.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am a co-producer of several projects dealing with the special needs of individuals who have experienced trauma (see truerep.net). Several of the veterans in our films have service dogs. I have also done theatre/film projects working the people who support children who have fallen through the safety net of the foster care system. I have worked with people with emotional illnesses including autism. I am completely astounded by how ECAD heals the people who train their dogs (from kids with emotional challenges to teens at risk) and then send those dogs off to support individuals with all different kinds of disabilities, while the kids/young adults involved in training the dogs move forward with their lives, knowing they have given to the world as they, themselves, were healed .

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

my realization of how they have changed the lives of people I have gotten to know through my projects. In fact, there is such an amazing vibe at ECAD that I feel inspired and happy after every visit!

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

make sure they had all the money they need to do the important service they perform.

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

1 person found this review helpful

ECAD trains superb assistance dogs for disabled individuals as they benefit and transform the children training the dogs. I have had the privilege to attend classes and graduations, as well as knowing some of the great people served by these wonderful dogs. ECAD is a kind of MatchMakers for the Gods...they just take all the healing potential to the highest place...every dog/human pair, whether in training or in life/placement, are taken to a new level of fuller and richer living.

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

I have known several veterans who has literally had their "lives given back to them" by their service dogs (to quote Kim from a radio interview). I love the veterans in my film and I love their dogs...but ECAD is an organization that I knew before I even started my project about disabled female vets. And I still maintain that their training method, working with teens who have fallen through the safety net and children with learning issues is two healing systems in one.

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

I would make sure they had millions and millions of dollars--not just to do their own good work, but to share their method of training with the world.

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Rating: 5 stars  

ECAD not only helps the disabled gain independence, but also makes an incredible difference in the lives of at-risk boys who learn to train the dogs. They have the opportunity to experience unconditional love and do something for someone less fortunate.

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

observing the change in at-risk boys and seeing the interaction with disabled children and adults.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

They run the gamit in the broad spectrum of disabilities they serve...physical disabilities of the blind and amputees to the emotional and phychological scars of America's heros...our military sons and daughters...to the young children suffering with islolating condition of autism....what better to bring these folks than the dignity of being self sufficant again, and even better the unconditional love of a dog!!!

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

I am hoping and waiting to receive the gift of a service dog for my autistic son Nicholas.

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

Awsome

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

provide dignity to an amazing amount of disabled persons.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have had the unique opportunity to watch ECAD evolve from the stepping stones of two people with a dream in a garage wearing the hats of founders, trainers, marketers, operators and executors placing four dogs a year, to establishing themselves within alternative schools systems, with a team of associates to support the dream, placing 15 dogs a year and making more and more milestones everyday. From the sidelines I have watched ECAD overcome hurdle after hurdle with the drive to succeed and make a difference in the lives of those who society has forgotten. The miracle of watching a person regain their independence, or those who were deemed "trouble makers" flourish to graduate high school and college, all of which is attributed to the involvement with ECAD. What was once a dream of two people, a husband and wife, a mother and father, a sister and brother, has now taken on a life of its own. This dream has become the dream of everyone they encounter, which is solely based on their compassion for others, and their selfless ability to never say "it-can't-be-done". ECAD is noted for saying, "For every dollar donated, for ever hour donated, three lives are changed." I can speak from experience, ECAD changes the lives so many more then the client, the dog, and the student. Being part of this organization as staff, volunteer, donor, sponsor, regardless of the hat the encounter wears, they will walk away touched, inspired, and benefited by the experience.

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

watching the dreams of others come true, the clients gaining independance, the students feeling and providing unconditional love, the dogs knowing they will always be protected loved.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

I've watched the full circle of ECAD -- from the puppies raised by children with special needs to the people served by these incredible canines. I have seen how the program transforms the children and help them gain confidence as they are transformed from service receivers to service providers. And I've seen the children and veterans -- who have so many challenges that may appear unsurmountable, until an ECAD enters their lives. They benefit from a lives with more independence and confidence, thanks to the dogs trained by the children of Green Chimneys and their other training facilities. It's a magical and transformational non-profit organization. Lu and Dale Picard's passion -- and their dedicated staff -- have made this program a winner for everyone involved with it.

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

ECAD transformed my foster child, teaching her patience & how to love and care for one of God's creatures. Her self-esteem grew & when she had to hand the dog she trained to a young boy with disabilities, she wasn't sad, but happy she made a difference.

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

the dedication to the clients and dogs.

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

caring and passionate.

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

Help millions of people.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

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