“Grass roots” is how John Alecca, organization development consultant for Early Alert Canines (EAC), describes his organization. “Our support is truly from individuals who understand and support our cause, not just by writing a check but by being involved.” For a company in its incubatory start-up phase, Early Alert Canines has accomplished so much in five years with only a handful of part-time employees, volunteers, corporate partnerships, and very competitive hard-earned grants. Recently EAC has secured a grant from the Petco Foundation.
This grant, along with other fundraising endeavors such as January’s capacity crowd annual crab feed and upcoming 2 Feet, 4 Paws, 1 Cause Walk (2~4~1 Walk) help EAC to train career change dogs from Canine Companions for Independence and Guide Dogs for the Blind to become highly specialized diabetic alert dogs who offer peace of mind to diabetics, some of whom are unable to sleep through a night without checking their blood sugar. An EAC dog can actually smell dangerous changes in blood sugar and alert a diabetic or a diabetic’s parents to take immediate action.
Alecca was proud to point out that unlike other organizations, EAC helps teens and kids under 12 transition into a Skilled Companion Alert Dog that can watch over them in their home, even if they cannot take on a 24/7 Full Access Service Dog. He described teen camps that EAC sponsors to address what it really means to have a dog. “For example, you can’t ride your bike to school.” As a result of teen camp, he reports at least one teen who realized that having a service dog was not a good fit.
And while a dog might not be the answer for everyone in controlling diabetes, the fit has been life-changing for 28 dogs/diabetic teams over the last 3 ½ years with 5 dogs currently in training. Alecca reports the need/applications surpass the organization’s capacity, which relies on fosters to house and transport the dogs for training 4 days a week. An alert dog can help a diabetic feel loved, supported, and most importantly, safe. “Diabetes is not a visible disease,” points out Alecca, “so the support is important.”
With the cost of training at about $23,000 a dog, it is amazing what this small organization has already accomplished and how it continues to boldly move forward.
The 3rd annual 2~4~1 Walk began as a partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific, offering its employees a company-wide volunteer opportunity. It grew to a place for EAC clients to gather as well, and now that more have learned about the worth-while and important work of this organization, this relatively small endeavor doubled in size last year alone with even more growth expected for this year.
This is where you can help: walk and find your niche helping with data entry, website support, dog grooming, dog walking, or getting involved as a foster. A more comprehensive list of volunteer jobs as well as a volunteer application can be found on the EAC website. Partnership business opportunities are also available to corporations that want to give back. If you too believe in this kind of partnership between humans and dogs, consider participating and becoming involved in whatever capacity you are able.
And even if you don’t walk, consider sponsoring a volunteer, making a donation to the cause, or just spreading the work in helping this important grass roots organization grow.
Saturday, May 16th
Thermo Fisher Scientific, 6055 Sunol Blvd., Pleasanton, CA.
Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 10:00 a.m.
Pre-registration is $25 per adult and $10 for children under 14.
Event day registration is $30 per adult and $10 for children under 14.
Online pre-registration at EarlyAlertCanines.org guarantees a walk shirt in your preferred size.
The walk is a non-strenuous and approximately 2 miles.