The long, warm days of summer are here. While the summer can be a wonderful time — a  time for fun in the sun with family and friends, relaxation, and outdoor activities — the long dog days of summer can also lead to boredom. 


If you’re looking for a way to make the most of summer, consider volunteering to be part of a team that cares for and trains Service Dogs to help people with disabilities live a more independent life and enjoy a better quality of life. Continue reading to learn about exciting volunteer opportunities.


puppy_nanny.jpgService Dog Training


Each year, Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD) whelps between two and four litters destined to become Service Dogs. However, training a Service Dog is an eighteen- to a twenty-four-month journey that takes enormous time, patience, and resources. 


From the moment they’re born, the puppies are cared for by extraordinary volunteer puppy nannies who spend hours exposing them to human touch, sound, and smell.  And as the puppies get older, they are also introduced to various other exposures and training to ensure they have the best start to becoming Service Dogs. 


Volunteer Opportunities


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If you’re between 12 and 18 and like spending time with dogs (and who doesn’t?), the Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD) Youth Volunteer Program might be an excellent option. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn kennel responsibilities and how to care for dogs. 


Why not get the entire family involved? ECAD offers two unique volunteer programs for families that are critical to training Service Dogs.


Family Volunteer Opportunities

Nursery Team Volunteers


Is there anything cuter than a puppy? You can watch these adorable puppies begin their journey almost as soon as they’re born on the ECAD Puppy Cam. As nursery team volunteers, you and your family welcome one of the canine bundles of cuteness into your home when it turns eight weeks old. 


Nursery_Team_ECAD.jpgThe nursery team is critical to the training, teaching puppies basic commands like sit, come, and watch me. In addition, nursery team volunteers teach them how to sleep in their crate through the night, how to travel in vehicles, house manners, and home environment activities. These steps are essential and cannot be replicated within the training center.



Home for the WeekendHome for the weekend ECAD.jpg


Once the puppies move on from their nursery homes (at about nine or ten months), they begin a more structured training. That training teaches them as many as 60 commands within a year, which can be combined to perform daily living tasks designed to help a person with a disability. 


During that time, becoming a home handler is another fantastic family volunteer opportunity. On weekends and holidays, your family can enjoy the companionship of a Service Dog-in-training. It provides the dogs with a break from their routine and helps socialize them to ensure they become excellent Service Dogs.

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Whether you’re a youth volunteer, nursery team volunteer, or home handler, you can tune in every Wednesday to follow your puppy’s training. It’s an opportunity to watch the canine instructors teach them foundational and advanced skills and see them turn into Service Dogs before your eyes! You can also ask the ECAD team questions in the chat function.


Help Us Change the Lives of People With Disabilities


The life-altering impact of Service Dogs is impossible to overstate. Whether you can join the effort as a volunteer to make the dog days of summer more fun and exciting or can help with a donation, ECAD welcomes your involvement. 

Service Dogs assist with daily tasks that enable people with disabilities to lead improved and full lives. Breeding, nurturing, and training Service Dogs have many associated costs, but the results are priceless. Your gift makes an enormous difference and can change a person’s life!