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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

48 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

ciccottic

Client Served

Rating: 5

We received a service dog through ECAD and my daughters whole life was changed. He provided balance for her and that gave me peace of mind. The staff and volunteers made our experience so wonderful. we give them 5 stars!

Previous Stories
3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Danielle Ciccotti and I am 16 years old. I have had a service dog since I was 6 yrs old. My 1st dog died in Aug 2009. In Oct I submitted an application to ECAD and they saved my life by allowing me to be in their Nov bootcamp. I left bootcamp with a dog named Rover. He was very different then my 1st dog. He has made me very good at throwing, reading, walking,he helps me break the ice with people and I use to have terrible tummy aches. But now all that has changed. I love Rover so much. He is the best dog in the workd. He goes to High School with me and that is not an easy place to be. ECAD really cares about the client.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Last August, I received a service dog from ECAD and he has changed my life! I have a neuromuscular disease and am confined to the use of an electric wheelchair to get around. I was desperate to maintain my independence, and not become dependent on my family or caregivers. My amazing Service Dog has made this possible. I no longer worry about getting around or being safe when he is with me. The ECAD organization empowered me and my Service Dog. Their dedication and expertise is a combination that makes this a very special organization.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The entire ECAD team is wonderful! From application to graduation everyone we met wore their heartsontheir sleeves and always had a hand ready to help in every way.

Cayla L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I received Billy Spezzano this past summer and he has changed my life in so many ways, thanks to ECAD. During Team Training, everyone was so helpful in making sure that we worked well together. Lu is very understanding when it comes to the client's needs and has helped me so much, even after Team Training. I've looked at other Service Dog organizations but I felt that they made it more of a business than an actual place to help people, which is why I chose ECAD. I felt more at home when I was there.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Having Muscular Dystrophy, makes me dependent on a wheelchair and others for help constantly. A Service Dog would help me gain some independence back and would also take a little bit of weight off my family. After visiting a Service Dog facility in November of last year and in a way being scammed to give money without knowing if I could even be matched with a dog, I almost gave up on looking until I found ECAD online. In March of this year, I applied there for a Service Dog and got a response back the next day to plan an interview date. When I visited the Dobbs Ferry, NY facility in June, the staff made me feel extremely comfortable and were great about certain accommodations. I also got to meet some of the dogs and tour the facility. As of right now, I'm fundraising for a dog and will hopefully do Team Training sometime in the Fall of 2012. I'm very excited to be able to have a chance to go through this experience and I'm very glad that it's with ECAD.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My handicap daughter needed help with her everyday life and ECAD fulfilled that need with a smart, wonderful companion that far exceeded her needs. He is such a wonderful addition to her life and helps in so many ways, as well as fills her heart with joy. Everyone at ECAD is exceptional and my daughter loved everyone. They are professional, caring, and very knowledgeable in their field. Couldn't have a better experience.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We recently received Allen, our handsome, smart and well mannered therapy dog. He is a pleasure and a joy to work with and has done wonders in raising the spirits of not only our patients but our staff as well.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I received Honey last November. Because of her I have considerably improved my life. I was fast becoming more and more trapped in my own house. I have almost completely turned my life around enjoying my family and leading an almost normal life. She is also responsible for just about eliminated my night terrors. There are no words that I can express that can explain here what she has done for me.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I got gigi from ECAD in the winter of 2010. Me and gigi have sure had a journey so far. The journey started the year I got gigi. That spring of 2010 Me and gigi won a scholarship to attend the ADA conference in Denver. It was really cool to see other people with disabilities with there service dogs. We really enjoyed ourselves there that week. I have very bad rheumtoid arthritis and depression, so getting gigi has helped alot when the days are tough to get around. The big challenge was yet to come! In 2011, I was layed off from job in march in 2011, so having gigi helped me with that transistion of not working. Then last fall my world turn upside down. I got very sick at end of october. I thought, I had a touch of the flu. Boy! Was I wrong, The day before Halloween, it SNOWED! I was very sick! I had to call the ambulence, I couldn't walk! The medics came, and I took my gigi with me! There was no way I was going to leave her behind. I was admitted into the hospital and I was hospitalized for two months! Gigi got to stay with me there at the hospital for the first week! Because the snow and ice was so bad upstate! But, a wonderful volunteer from ECAD, helped out and took care of gigi for me well I was in the hospital. It was really hard to have her gone though! I ached so bad for her. But, I knew she was safe, loved, and not that far. My bond for gigi is know even stronger! I want her to grow into an older doggie! She helps me everyday. When I am feeling down, and she knows when I am upset she knows. The people at ECAD are great people! Lu and dale spend so much time with the service dogs, they want you to really have the best service dog for you. Until you are confronted with a life of disabled person, you really don't know until your there, it doesn't mean that your life is over! It just changes and you as that person has to adapt to your new reality. Me and gigi are a team. From Richard J. Cortez & Gigi.

Lee O.

Client Served

Rating: 5

ECAD is a life changing organization. With ECAD and my service dog Brady I have my life back.

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a retired police officer suffering with PTSD ECAD has given me my life back. Housebound and not wanting any contact with the outside world I starting reading articles on service dogs that helped with my disability. When I arrived at ECAD for the first time I was overwhelmed by the warmth of the staff and volunteers.
Now that I have my Dog Brady I am finally able to get on the road to a better life. Lu, Phil and Barbara thank you for all you do, your amazing people.

Kari H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

What can i say about ECAD?? Nutmeg, our therapy dog at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood Florida, works daily with our young patients in rehab helping them learn to walk again, learn to balance and to regain muscle strength. Of course, for Nutmeg, this means being pet, brushed and playing fetch or "tug". She is an ever-present joy throughout the hospital; bringing smiles to everyone she meets - children, families and staff. We can't thank ECAD enough for training us and training Nutmeg for our facility. We love them all!
Kari