Service dogs graduate from ECAD program

Animals and Wildlife

A Golden Retriever named Honor and two other service dogs graduated Wednesday; they’re ready for a job they’ve been training for since they were puppies.

The service dogs were trained by Winchester-based ECAD (Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities). 

“The dogs can do anything you can think of who has limitations with their arms or their legs,” said Lu Picard, co-founder of ECAD. 

They work with each dog for 1,500 hours of training. For the past 13 days, Hailey and Honor have been training together. 

21-year-old Hailey Giguere has been waiting for a service dog since she was a junior in high school

“This means so much to me that it’s finally happening,” she said. 

Hailey has been fighting her whole life. She was diagnosed with brain cancer at just 1 year old, and a brain surgery at age 7 left her partially paralyzed. Since then, she’s struggled with walking and balance. 

Related Content: Bradley Airport recognizes therapy dog program for National Therapy Animal Day

“Honor is going to grant me so much independence,” said Giguere. “As of right now, before him, if I’m going out, I need to have either my mother or another person with me because I need to hold on to something while I’m walking and, at my age, it’s kind of a little embarrassing to hold your mother’s hand wherever you go, so now I can hold my dog!”

Honor can help with laundry and even turn on the lights, but it’s not just the extra help she’s looking forward to. 

“I’ve never had a dog,” said Giguere,” So I’m really looking forward to having a constant companion with me.”

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