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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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I have been ECAD Home Handlers for the past 2 years, taking dogs home for weekends. Everything about the ECAD program is impressive.....the staff (professional and helpful); the dogs (well trained, well taken care of); the boys at Children's Village (CV) who help train the dogs. We think the organization is a win-win arrangement: the dogs are eager to please; the boys at CV are involved in a very meaningful program; the clients are thoughtfully and carefully matched with dogs; and finally the client testimony is proof of the success of the program.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked for ECAD for almost two years now and it is the best thing that ever happened to me. Training these dogs is such a great experience; seeing them grow from little puppies to adult dogs ready to help a person in need couldn't be more satisfying. The people at ECAD are all nice and really make you feel at home. This program is doing wonders for our world not just because they're assisting those in need, but because they're giving them a friend that will love them unconditionally.

Review from Guidestar

Vinny G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Shanee Blanton and I became a home handler for several of ECAD's service dogs. Before I started as a home handler, we had to go through a full day of training. A friend of mine has a service dog named Elli that she got from ECAD almost 10 years ago, so I know how much service dogs can help people. When I got a chance to volunteer as a home handler, I was very happy and a little bit nervous, because I wanted the dogs to be perfect. The training was hard, but I learned a lot about dogs, and by the end of the day, I felt more confident that I would be able to help with the training. My favorite two puppies were Dunkin and Wasabi. Dunkin was our first puppy, about 7 months old. Because we have a very small car and, of course, Elli, Dunkin had to sit halfway on my lap for the entire 20 mile trip back to the house. By the time he left us to go on to "college", Dunkin knew how to walk well on a leash, work with distactions, turn the lights off and on, and of course, retrieve any object we needed. Even though Dunkin was a puppy himself, he was so good and patient with my 18 month old so, who is a little rough when petting him. Dunkin has graduated and is with a loving family, and I'm sure he makes one half of a great team. Wasabi was another one of my favorites. To get her used to being around a lot of people, she would sit outside with me and my son when school let out, playing "watch me" as hundreds of people walked past the house. She LOVED to get the phone, and would bring it to you right away. When someone rang the doorbell here, I taught her not to bark. It didn't take long to teach her because she is so smart. We're hoping to start working as home handlers again soon. In the meantime, we still have Elli here to give us some "puppy love."

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ECAD is a wonderful organization. Everyone involved is there because they really care and are willing to do whatever is needed to make the organization succeed. Dogs receive excellent training and lots of love and attention so they can one day help someone with physical, social or emotional difficulties. They are trained by at-risk teens who learn dog training as a skill, but more importantly, they learn confidence, consistency and love. Seeing the pride on the faces of the kids is only surpassed by the client's expression of joy on graduation day. After rigorous training, the client feels more capable and independent as they go out into the world with their new best friend. I cry at every graduation when I see it come together for everyone involved.