Community Partner Spotlight: Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities
Tower Generator Community Partners are groups or organizations that work hard to help families and improve communities here in Connecticut. We salute them, support them, and love to help tell their stories.
Service dogs are a great blessing to people with physical or psychiatric disabilities, helping them increase their independence and enjoy a higher quality of life. From birth, these dogs are trained extensively to perform tasks such as pulling a wheelchair, assisting in retaining balance and stability, helping with navigation, alerting others to a medical crisis, bringing items like medication or phones, and much more.
You can imagine it takes a lot of time, work and dedication to train service dogs (which are not pets or emotional support animals) – and to develop strong bonds with those they are helping. This is done in specialized facilities such as Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD) located right here in Northwest Connecticut.
For the past 25 years, ECAD (which is fully accredited by Assistance Dogs International) has trained and placed more than 300 service dogs who assist individuals in their homes, in the community, or in healthcare facilities. These dogs serve people with hearing loss, blindness, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, and other disabilities. ECAD also specially trains dogs through its Project Heal program which was designed for military veterans facing PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, or other needs.
As a non-profit organization, ECAD’s limited funds are used on staff, administration and its (5,000 sf) facility where up to 20 dogs at a time are kenneled, trained and cared for. Being in a rural location prone to power outages, ECAD had long been in need of a reliable backup power system but was never able to budget funds. Each Connecticut season brought worrisome weather including snow, hail, thunderstorms, and hurricanes which often caused power loss.
ECAD reached out to Tower Generators to purchase and install an 80kw generator and two transfer switches to power its entire facility with some capacity for future growth. We were happy to meet founders, Lu and Dale Picard, who let us experience first-hand the important work they do.
Throughout the installation process, we learned more about ECAD and its crucial mission and were truly moved by their dedication and by the positive impact they were having on military families and those facing countless challenges right here in our own community. The Picards have literally given everything to this organization and have made it their life’s work. We’re proud to have made a monetary donation to aid in buying items needed to complete the education of these special K9s
“We strive to deliver the best-trained service dogs the industry can produce,” Dale told us. “Tower’s generous support helps us better achieve our goals on a day-to-day basis. We love our new generator, and it has come in handy this winter.”
It has indeed been a tough winter, but Dale and his team at ECAD had one less thing to worry about. When you meet people like the Picards who are really making a difference in the community, you are want to help them in return. Now, they are well equipped to handle emergencies, be sure their animals are safe and well cared for, and keep doing what they do best.
Their commitment inspired us to join their effort and make ECAD one of our “community partners.”
To learn more about ECAD and how you can get involved, please visit https://www.ecad1.org/.
Non-profits have been negatively affected by the pandemic and ECAD is no exception. We are proud to be able to help and encourage others to join us.