Dear Friend,


          With everything that’s going on, I really needed a lift.  And, the universe answered—so I want to share my ray of joy with you, a good friend and gracious supporter.  Because, without you—this wouldn’t be a reality.


          And, every so often a story comes along that shows how far reaching your impact is – how long lasting – even life saving in this time of the unexpected COVID -19 crisis ---


          “Lu, I hope that you all are safe and well. I wanted to let you know about the good that you do that you don’t even know about through the friendships that are created at ECAD,” wrote Jenny Conlon, the wife of one your Clients.


           “ECAD is a blessing. It brings you together with other people who understand the things you are going through. I gained a family through ECAD,” Kevin Conlon said about his friendship with Cayla Lemire, another of your success stories.


          Kevin and Cayla graduated from Team Training in September 2012. He was 30 and she was 22. They had little in common except the very big thing of needing a Service Dog to help them mitigate the effects of their very different disabilities.


         Kevin, a veteran of Iraq, needed Service Dog Dior to help him cope with the horrors of TBI, PTSD, anxiety, depression and back pain 


          Cayla, wheelchair bound, has Congenital Muscular Dystrophy and has a trach/port-a-cath at the base of her throat. Her muscular weakness causes her to drop things on a regular basis. But, not to worry.  Service Dog Billy just loves to retrieve. Together, Cayla and Billy completed college, and Cayla is now well on her way to having her Master’s Degree in social work.


          All because of you.


          Cayla remembers those first days at Team Training as being "a bit terrifying knowing that we were by ourselves and going to be living with complete strangers for 2 weeks. Kevin changed that. Through his witty humor and sarcasm over the first couple of days, as well as his willingness to support everyone, he turned an uncomfortable situation into a more comfortable one.


          Earlier this week, I received this email from Jenny, Kevin’s wife: 


          “As I’m sure you know Kev and Cayla have remained friends since they met during their time there. Since the pandemic started it has gotten to the point where there are no nurses that can come for Cayla to access her port-a-cath. Since ECAD my health has hit some bumps and I now have a port-a-cath that Kev actually takes care of for me. So today, through the magic of video messaging, Kev was able to show Cayla’s mom how to access her port-a-cath, walking her through it step by step and doing it right alongside her on me so she could see how everything should look. She did great! Got it on Cayla on her very first try


          I just really wanted you to know just how far your scope reaches, without that friendship in place from ECAD I really don’t know what Cayla would have done, it would have been detrimental to her to go out into the community or to have anyone come in.”


          Without you—this story, this outcome would not have happened. It’s okay if you get emotional when you read Jenny’s story. I did. I got even more emotional at her closing sentence:


          “Tomorrow we get paid and we would like to send you $100, not towards Kev’s successor dog, just to help you stay afloat right now. How can we get it to you?


          Yes, Kevin hopes to get his Successor Dog this fall as Dior passed away in 2019. Kevin says, “I guarantee you it would have been devastating to my quality of life without Dior. Dior would wake me from my nightmare, lie with me and I would fall back asleep. Not having her – the nightmares are worse and my ability to sleep has suffered terribly.


          Kevin’s PTSD and TBI and anxiety will never go away, but with a Service Dog, he will be decidedly better. And he deserves it.


          “I’m very grateful to have met Kevin 8 years ago. The fact that he has gone out of his way for me so many times is something that I will forever be thankful for. He has an amazing heart, even after everything he has endured in his life and still battles today. That is what I call true strength and resilience,” Cayla told me.


          These are the relationships you helped to forge with your generosity—there’s no way to thank you enough.


 Wags and woofs,

Lu Picard



PS: Here's something else that will make you feel good this Friday... the ECAD Puppy Cam!