ECAD, Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities
September 10, 2010
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."
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
Seeing how Elli helps Jeanie around the house and in the stores. I used to like to watch Elli get Jeanie's wheelchair through the snow. She was so strong back then. I know that the dogs I helped with will be able to help other people like Jeanie.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Move them closer to our home!
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
Learning how to train the dogs.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
excellent. They were always nice and very helpful.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
buy property in New York state and build kennels and a larger, centralized training center there. They could hire more staff and reduce the cost of obtaining a service dog.
Ways to make it better...
we didn't have to drive for an hour to get there.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
they need more volunteers and money.
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every week
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & I was a home-handler for several of ECAD's service dogs in traing.