Educated Canines Lend a Helping Paw
ECAD envisions a community where all those living with disabilities are able to achieve new heights of desired independence and mobility through the use of ECAD-educated service dogs. The growing organization in Winsted has trained more than 300 service dogs trained to assist with 50 different disabilities.
ECAD trained dogs retrieve objects and medications, provide physical barriers in stressful situations, and get help if someone collapses. They learn more than 89 commands before they begin one-on-one training with their person.
"Because of your gift, more educated assistance dogs will be placed with more people living with disabilities...your gift, the work you help us do, really does change people's lives," said Lu and Dale Picard, ECAD Co-founders.
Through 2017-2018, the Draper Foundation Fund, a fund of the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, awarded ECAD multiple grants to support the construction and expansion of a Canine Education and Wellness Center, which provides canine housing and training, rooms to host clients, and staff offices. Grants have also supported the purchase of a handicap accessible van to transport clients to public areas for training sessions with their new service dogs.
"[ECAD service dog] Kobuk pretty much helps me with everything, picking up my cane...with my balance when I climb the stairs," said an ECAD client, "Kobuk opening the door is the biggest thing because that means I can get out of the house."