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  

1 person found this review helpful

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  

1 person found this review helpful

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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Rating: 5 stars  

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!

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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.

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.

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

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

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!

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?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

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

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?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 4 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

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!!!

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

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Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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

Promoting animal assisted therapies such as stress reduction, animal assisted occupational and physical therapy. Increasing motivation in patients their families as well as my staff.

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

Open another ECAD facility in South Florida.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

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.

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

By being a volunteer four days a week for 15 years.

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

Service more clients so they may lead a more independent life.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

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.

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

through volunteering, meeting clients ,working with dogs

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

s

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Review from Guidestar