Circle of Love
A Helpful Hero
Lu Picard, 47, first saw how dogs could help the disabled when her father suffered a stroke 24 years ago. She and her husband, Dale, were able to train their dog, Juliette, to help her dad get off the couch and to his walker -- which eventually helped lift his depression. It was then that the Picards, who had always been passionate about animals, realized that they wanted to work with dogs full-time. They both became professionally certified as assistance dog training instructors, and in 1995 they linked up with Green Chimneys and founded East Coast Assistance Dogs. The program has produced more than 100 child-trained dogs that are currently helping clients live with a wide variety of physical disabilities. For more information, go to www.ecad1.org.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, November 2008.