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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Services, Animals, Education, Special Education, Student Services, Vocational & Technical Schools

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.

Community Stories

28 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

doglovingvolunteers

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a wonderful organization that does miraculous things!! ECAD has, time and time again, proven that we are all here to help each other, including the furry four-footed ones :) Lu Picard is compassionate, generous, and was blessed to be born with such a wonderful heart to help others. She has the most amazing patience and looks to do the right thing, all the time! As a handler of one of her dogs in a hospital-based setting, I see her warmth and gentleness in the eyes of Pumpkin; it is simply infectious! Through her efforts, I have single-handedly experienced the gift of canine assistance to our patients and employees. In addition, she has boosted my faith in the human and canine race, that we are all here for a reason, to be here for each other, no matter what "disabilities" we may possess!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Its a great program....and i will always will be there for them.....

1 Sarah75

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been a volunteer and an employee (currently both) at ECAD since Nov. 2005. I can say without a doubt that by working with this organization, much of my self-confidence has been restored. Learning to train service dogs has strengthened my social work and people skills. I am now working with younger children again through ECAD. I studied education in undergraduate school, so working with children again is wonderful. And I love being able to help train these dogs. To date, I have been a home handler for 63 service-dogs-in-training. I am a very lucky person!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a registered nurse and manager in a very busy hospital. The thought of adding another task to my laundry list of duties I perform daily becomes chilling. However, volunteering one hour a day to round on my patients with "Lily" our hospital's Service/Therapy dog is the most rewarding part of my day! "Lily" always brings smiles to the patients, their families and the staff. She assists with motivating, stress reduction and bringing the "Healing environment" to our facility.

1 Barbara23456

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for ECAD for 15 years and have worked with the kids, clients and dogs. They way they all meld together and give a more positive life to all three is amazing and probably surpasses any other program i have seen. it is a win,win,win situation. Everybody learns from the experience.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family has been volunteering at ECAD for 5 years. We are home handlers and take service dogs home on weekends to reinforce what they are taught in school. We have seen firsthand how this program has impacted the lives of many. For one, these service dogs better the lives of the clients they eventually serve. Whether the service dogs goes to an individual with a physical or emotional handicap, the dog is taught and trained to meet the needs of each specific individual. Besides helping their clients with day-to-day tasks they provide unconditional love and emotional support.

Review from Guidestar