East Coast Assistance Dogs was founded by Lu and Dale Picard. Prior to founding ECAD, Lu helped several business organizations in their startup efforts and gained experience in business and administration. When her father suffered a stroke, she saw how much he hated being dependent on her. She taught their family pet to help him rise from a chair and retrieve some items, and noticed that her dad actually became more active and less depressed than when all his help came from a human. Lu saw first hand how Service Dogs could change people's lives, and in 1995 quit her full-time job to start ECAD. One year later, her husband Dale also gave up his own business to work full time for ECAD. Dale was self-employed for many years and developed skills and talents that he put to good use in helping Lu establish ECAD. He purchased land in Connecticut, constructed kennels and offices, and redesigned the house in which Lu, Dale, and their two daughters lived.
Since then ECAD has received a nonprofit status and has grown to have training facilities in Connecticut and New York, and have placed Assistance Dogs in over a dozen states.
Our dogs are taught to retrieve items, open doors, activate light switches, pull wheelchairs, balance, brace, and perform many other highly specialized tasks through the ECADemy© training program.
ECAD breeds and trains Assistance Dogs for clients with a wide variety of disabilities and needs. Clients should have a physical or mental disability that limits one or more major life activities and that can be mitigated by use of a specially trained dog. We tailor each dog to the needs of our Clients. ECAD's Programs include:
Project HEAL TM Designed to address both visible and invisible disabilities, Project HEAL, a 4-fold synergistic program, honors and empowers our Service Members and Vetera ns by fostering the human-canine bond.
Canine Magic Canine Magic Service Dogs are educated to assist children with A utism, some as young as two, with emotional bonding, socia lization,cognitive development, and safety.
Open Doors ECAD's Assistance Dogs can be found working in private homes, hospitals,courthouses, and nursing homes opening doors to create independence both physical and emotional.
ECADemy(c) ECADemy(c) is a vocational curriculum administered at alternative schools that specialize in helping children and teens with emotional, behavioral, and social problems. All ECAD's dogs are educated by at-risk youth.