Need for service dogs greater than ever for veterans with PTSD


WINSTED, Conn (WTNH)–June kicks of PTSD awareness month. Step inside the center for Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities or ECAD in Winsted and you’ll see some unusual but essential dog training.

Running on the treadmill. Opening refrigerators and dryer doors. Responding to alarms and getting help. Even brushing teeth.

“So they have to brush their teeth. Because 80 percent of the dog’s job is done with its mouth,” said Lu Picard.

The dogs at ECAD are being trained to help men and women with disabilities, and need to be comfortable in public spaces.

“You are going on bus, you are going on a plane and the dog has to be small,” said Picard.

From helping with severe brain disabilities or mobility challenges. The dogs also bring comfort to those suffering from PTSD. Lu Picard from ECAD says the need now is greater than ever.

“Right now I’m at about a year to 16 months out. If you wanted a dog today you would have to wait a year to 16 months,” said Picard.

It could be an eternity for a veteran in the dangerous grips of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“For somebody with PTSD you want the dog to be at his strongest when the veteran is at his weakest,” said Picard.

Since they started, ECAD has placed close to 350 service dogs.

One of those dogs….”Tuesday,” worked with Iraq war veteran Luis Carlos Montalvan. Carlos spread “Tuesday’s healing mission to the world.

“It became a book in 2010 – they toured for 5 years. It was on New York Times bestsellers list, “said Picard.

Together inseparable, “Tuesday” and Carlos awakened millions to PTSD.

“Tuesday” is on the cover of the book and even gets asked for autographs.

But there came a time when “Tuesday” was wasn’t able to be by the veterans side. Montalvan lost a leg in the war and needed surgery overseas.

“Tuesday wasn’t allowed to be with him, because he had to travel to Australia for surgery,” said Picard.

There’s no telling whether it was from his dog, but “Tuesday” now carries on the mission alone.

“Unfortunately Luis lost his battle with PTSD in December,” said Picard.

But around “Tuesdays” neck….a reminder about the love shared. And the awareness of PTSD still being brought to so many.

To donate to ECAD, follow this link:

The center is always looking for volunteers to help with the service dogs.

ECAD is also holding a summer camp for kids:

With summer just around the corner, Linda Mazzeo and other members of the ECAD team are busy planning all the fun activities for the kids, age 9-13, who will attend the annual Summer Camp at the Torrington Campus.

The campus is located at 149 Newfield Rd., Winsted, CT.

This year’s Summer Camp starts the week of June 26 and will continue through the week of August 18. The activities are scheduled from 9AM-4PM, Monday thru Friday.

ECAD’s campus consists of fourteen acres and is always filled with ECAD’s purpose bred Golden Retriever and Labrador puppies and Service Dogs in Training.

A new litter of puppies is due in early June so extra squeals of delight from both the two-legged and four pawed attendees are expected.

For additional information, visit

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