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.