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  

ECAD has done so much more than just help me with my independence, but also changed me as a person. I have gained confidence as an individual beyond a level never thought imaginable. There is a reason why I returned to ECAD once my first service dog that I received from them retired. If there are any people in the entire world that deserve undying recondition, it is Lu and the rest of the staff at ECAD.

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

positive ways I never imagined.

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

leave it as it is.

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

after my return from my deployment in Afghanistan, 2004 and 2005 are hazy and cloudy. suffering from ptsd and lower extremity problems, i isolated myself from family and friends. staying home or going to my local va medical center for doc appointments. in the fall of 2006 i made the discuss it was going to by my the last year i held a full time job because of my disabilities. during my army retirement process, my army wounded warrior case manage suggest ecads for a service dog. after my interview, i received the welcome letter and packet in the mail accepting me into their program. i that, boot camp, i am too old to start now. lu and her staff creates a warm, patient, and welcoming environment. during my two weeks of training, lu and her staff made me smile and laugh. with encouraging words and hugs, i know i would graduate. i am very luck to have lizzy, my service dog in my life. this past memorial day was the first parade in 7 yrs i attended and all because of ecads and lizzy. thank you for not giving up on me and having the belief in me to succeed.

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

believing and trusting people again because of the caring people at ecads.

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

encourage other veterans to support ecads monetarily and through volunteering.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

How did you find this group?

through my aw2, army wounded warrior, case manager

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

trust and believing in myself.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

In May of 2008 I was in a horrific car accident resulting in being paralyzed from the chest down. Prior to my accident I was very independent in life and also was very active in my community. I served as the towns volunteer Fire Chief for four years. After my accident I became very depressed not being able to do the things I once did freely. I had heard about service dogs in rehab but didn’t understand fully what they would do for me. Two years after coming home from the hospital I received a call from ECAD advising me that my application for a service dog was approved. Since being paired with my dog Mack, my life has changed dramatically. I am once again out and about and still involved with the fire company as much as possible. Mack accompanies me to college and is of great assistance. I cannot imagine my day without Mack as he is a great boost for my confidence in many day to day tasks. I cannot thank ECAD enough for the wonderful job they do with these dogs and the great job they do in the matching process!!

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

Gaining independence throught the process of gaining a service dog and true companion.

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

Put together a better public educational campaign to make people relise what they actually do for people with disabilities.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

My children received service dogs five years ago. Their lives have changed dramatically since Tootsie and Rebel joined our family.

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

ECAD helped increase my kids' independence.

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

ECAD is great just the way it is.

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Rating: 4 stars  

As i was at ECAD with my son Anthony i WAS amazed at watching

how the ECAd family was able to bring back and give a full and HAPPY

life to a person by way of their new dog friend and companion.

these incredibly trained dogs seem to light the world once again for

all who come in contact with them. Doors have opened again for my son and more are opening, where as before they were closed.The ECAD family have a special give of giving and caring and patience, i feel they are all truly blessed with a gift and i feel the best part of this gift is the giving part. These people have turned around the lives of many. I would truly feel special to be a part of this --I would truly feel special if i could help to make others happy for no one should feel sad,
lonely, or left out and i see that ECAD has changed this and made people whole again. ECAD has does and continues to MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY as a new life comes to them with their SERVICE DOG. eVERYONE involved has a touch of magic and are truly Blessed and i am glad i got to experience it.

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

seeing the independence it has given back to my son. He feels like he shoud -- which is like a human being once again and is now not shut out anymore.

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

add to it as much client experience as possible, for there are probably so many different ways that a client with a disabiltiy can relate to a service dog

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Okay

How did you find this group?

interesting and very knowledgeable

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

changed my whole view on what dogs are really about and has helped me train my own pet,.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I am writing on behalf of Martin Luther King, Jr., High School in the Greenburgh-Graham Union Free School District. We are currently in our second year of the ECAD Program which involves students in grades nine through twelve. This program has helped our students learn key skills in the area of communication and leadership.

In closing, I like to say how sincerely thankful I am to have the ECAD Program at our high school.

Paul Tobin
Principal

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

Students are accountable and responsible for their dogs at all times, and have developed training strategies that enable them to be very successful as a team. Our hope is that the program continues and our students can go on to train dogs for future assignments to help people world-wide.

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

I would like the program to expand so that more students can have the opportunity to participate in the ECAD Program.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

We received a service dog for our son in March 2010. Baker has been the best thing that has happened to us since our son and his twin brother were diagnosed with autism. Baker has given our son confidence, comfort and freedom. The staff at ECAD were phenomenal in training us for 15 days. They listened to us with compassion. I looked at lots of other organizations and chose ECAD because of their compassion and commitment to their dogs as well as the people who are given a service dog.

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

Receiving a dog for our son who has autism. Baker has changed our lives for the better because of ECAD.

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

Do nothing.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

How did you find this group?

Internet search

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

ECAD has given me courage to take my son with me wherever I go. Due to his autism, he always had to stay home. Now, with Baker, we can go to the mall, stores, church, hikes...we even took a road trip to Virginia and Baker kept Micah grounded and safe the whole time.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

ECAD has been training student/residents at our facility for troubled teens. The students take great pride in their accomplishments of teaching dogs to to help those even less fortunate than them. Developing this sense of pride and mastery goes a long way to help our students become service providers not just service recipients.
This experience becomes a foundation and anchor for many teenagers who have not had these personal growth experiences.
It is always better to build on one's strengths than to continuously identify their shortcomings and the action of ECAD is the perfect model for our adolescents.

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

my involvement and observations of the total ECAD experience

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

continue to expand this program to reach even more people.

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Review from Guidestar
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