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Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs, Inc. (TLCAD)

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Training, Animals, Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Health, Health Support, Human Services

Mission: Our mission is to transform lives with Service Dogs. TLCAD builds bridges to independence by transforming the lives of Wounded Warriors and individuals with autism in San Diego County, their families and their communities, as well as dogs at risk of euthanasia and the prison inmates who train them.

Results: Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs (TLCAD) is a nonprofit organization of dedicated service dog trainers for the autism and wounded warrior communities. For more than 15 years, TLCAD’s volunteer trainers have built bridges to independence for dozens of individuals in San Diego County. TLCAD is an Assistance Dogs International accredited organization that prepares dogs to meet the unique needs of each individual, which results in a 96% placement success rate. TLCAD partners with individuals, correctional facilities and dog rescue organizations to train service dogs to meet the growing demand for service dogs.

Target demographics: individuals with disabilities

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 100 individuals with autism and Wounded Warriors by placing custom trained Service and Facility Dogs

Geographic areas served: San Diego County

Programs: At Ease and Leash-On-Life, that place custom trained Service Dogs with Wounded Warriors and individuals with autism.

Community Stories

43 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a brand new courthouse facility dog handler that was recently certified. Taking on the role of being a handler is nothing like what I could have ever imagined the entire process has changed not only my life but the lives of the hundreds of military members who get to interact with my TLCAD dog. TLCAD from the first conversation was highly professional and communicated wonderfully with the applicants on expectations and how to be successful going into our placements. The support before, during, and after far exceeded my expectations. I will forever be thankful for this life-changing experience.

Phil B.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My motivation for volunteer work focuses around using dogs in unique (sometimes it seems like tip-of-the-spear) ways to assist special-needs children and veterans achieve an independent and fulfilling quality of life. From first-hand experience with a family member's unique and positive experience a trained assistance animal can provide, convinces me that assistance dogs are an effective quality-of-life augmentation and can also be a collateral/alternative (sans side-effects) treatment option.

There are numerous organizations engaged in this and related service dog activities. I actively support Tender Loving Canine Assistance Dogs (TLCAD) and their mission statement (to transform lives with service dogs) because of their targeted client group(s) (kids & vets); training philosophy (positive reinforcement); collateral rehabilitative benefit (for California Dept of Corrections & Rehabilitation, and USMC brig inmate dog trainers); plus the rewarding experience to work alongside a talented, dedicated, and caring hand-picked stellar staff.

Linda387

Client Served

Rating: 5

My dog willow was given to me after I retired from the military. She helped me transition from active duty to helping me achieve my own goals. I was able to go to graduate school and become a nurse practitioner. So now I am helping other veterans with their transition stories. This group continues to assist me and my dog over the past 7 years. My dog helped me with my triggers that often kept me from doing the activities I needed to do. I am not sure I would be where I am today without Willow

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I retired from the military after 20 years of service. I had difficulties after my deployment to Iraq. Willow, my service dog from TLCAD, helped me reintegrate back into society, helped me with my triggers, and improved my overall quality of life. I continue to serve by working with veterans with Willow by my side. Thank you TLCAD. Please support them.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am not sure I can put into words how grateful our family is for Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs (TLCAD)!
We started our journey when our son was diagnosed with Autism. He was becoming more frustrated with the academic demands of school and the frustration developed into fight or flight at school. School days were filled with crawling under desks, screaming, crying, running from the classroom, and at the age of seven, he started saying he had to kill himself. He had autism, and with that came depression, ADHD, and significant anxiety in the school setting. His anxiety over school became anger at home and not feeling like he deserved to live. He didn’t feel like he deserved a family or a home. I couldn’t reason with him or help him feel our love and support, because his brain could only ruminate on the terrible feelings he was having. He would tell me that kids at school made fun of him, and that “they didn’t think he knew it” but he did. He didn’t understand the rest of the world and why it seemed so hard for him.
I am a mom who will do anything for my child. I needed to figure out how to help him. I was researching service dogs online when I found TLCAD. I called and spoke to Stephanie who was tremendous in explaining their process, timeline, and putting realistic expectations on our chances of receiving a dog.
TLCAD was such a professional organization through the entire placement process. When we had the home interview and met our potential Service Dog Jackson, our son said, “We loved each other the minute we met”. The connection they had was special beyond words. I attended a 5day full emersion training to become a handler for our newest family member. As I looked around the room of other recipients, it was obvious how careful TLCAD had been at selecting each family for their dogs. They matched each personality and the skill set of each dog to their new recipient perfectly. At the end of the week, we had a graduation ceremony at the Mule Creek State Prison. My husband and I were honored to become handlers and to meet the men that had put so much training into this remarkable animal. We felt the positive impact that it had on them and how proud they were to give back to the community.
Jackson came home and changed our lives. Our home is calmer now, just by his presence. Our son utilizes Jackson in so many ways. At the end of the last school year, Jackson would take him to school. One day, our son ran to the school fence and was too upset to start school and go to class. Jackson gave him a “kiss” through the fence, and that was all he needed to happily go back to begin his school day. Jackson helps him make friends when we go out in public or to the park. He can help motivate him to read or do homework by bringing me the book or focusing on the page that is challenging. Jackson snuggles with our son when he is sad or needs some extra sensory input. He goes almost everywhere with our child; to doctor appointments, soccer games, and even on family trips. We’ve seen an amazing turn around in his outlook on life. Our son recently told his Occupational Therapist, “I’m not mad anymore” and she wrote it down. A few minutes later he went back to that sentence, pointed at it and said, “This has always been my dream, and I’m happy”.

Karen352

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am Karen Shultz. I have been a volunteer with Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs since 2003. I have definitely found my passion for helping those suffering the aftermath of war and those families dealing with autism on a daily basis. The organization has grown from training 1-3 dogs to now training over 50 dogs annually, allowing more custom trained service dog placements and impacting many more lives - leading individuals to greater independence and a fuller life. My passion has only grown stronger and I could not be prouder of this organization and its accomplishments. I have been a part of no greater gift.

Board Member

Rating: 5

TLC has been a wonderful addition to our program. We worked together to develop a dog training program with juvenile female youth. They now furlough service dogs in training from the POOCH program. This is has been a transformative, positive experience for all. The youth develop transferable skills they can use later on in life, contribute to the community through service, and gain the therapeutic benefit of having a dog in their lives. The staff are highly professional, compassionate, and knowledgeable trainers. We are so fortunate to collaborate with such an awesome agency.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Top notch nonprofit. I stumbled into learning about and volunteering for TLCAD (literally) when I ran into the Volunteer Coordinator training one of their newest assistance dog members at the grocery store last year.

After learning about TLCAD's mission I knew I wanted to give my time to a place with such wonderful and dedicated vision.

I will continue to support TLCAD because what they're doing for the community is second to none.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs is an organization that represents a virtuous circle concept. Every entity it touches receives benefits, recipients, staff, prisoners and the dogs, that positively changes their lives. There are no losers.

I'm so pleased to be a small part of this effort!

Jim Hyldahl

Volunteer

Rating: 5

To work with dogs as well as offenders in prison who are learning a better way of being (through positive reinforcement, which affects not only the dogs, but also their personal relationships and prepares them for life outside, is a win-win for all. Add to that the fact that those who ultimately receive the dogs as service dogs will have their lives so enriched makes volunteering with TLCAD an exemplary experience. Win-win-win. It doesn't get any better than that!

Mike F.2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've always been a dog person and knew about service dogs but never gave them much thought. My Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo, has a Foundation and a couple of years ago one of our members proposed TLCAD as a Grant recipient. I was on the Board and they sounded like a great organization so we approved. The Executive Director showed up to receive the Grant with one of their dogs and told their story. It was so impressive! It became apparent to me that it's not just a win for the military Vet or military family member who receives a service dog, it's also a huge win for the prisoners who have a wonderful purpose during their two year training period. We were offered an opportunity to visit the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base Brig where one of their programs is in place and it was so impressive. TLCAD is making a huge difference in the lives of so many people. They very much deserve strong support!

Elisa O.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I was given a Chihuahua after I fell into a coma around 5 years ago. Because I had time on my hands and I needed to walk, I would take my new companion to the park and began to train him under the guidelines of the "Assistance Dogs International Public Access Test". The test is extensive but quite simple and as is mandatory, that he be able to perform 80-100% of the required commands stated in black and white on the test. He has also been assessed by a dog trainer in a public park and she was more terrified than he was,,,,it was very strange, but he passed the test??? He was a most important part of my recovery from 2 open heart surgery's (the second of which he spent time in hospital with me to serve as pain management), stents, visits to the ER, visits to various doctors etc. Neither my doctors or myself know what my future is so I live day to day. My service dog will be on alert if I take ill, he will lay on the part of my body and identify the illness, he gives me relief when there is no pain management (like in Garfield Hospital) yet Assistance Dogs International refuses to either train him because he is an OUTSIDE DOG or assess him under their guidelines? I am pointing this out because Assistance Dogs International make it impossible to get your dog accredited, that is why most people turn the "fake id's for EMOTIONAL and SUPPORT" animals. I have been legally been registered as Disabled by the Department of Social Security and my dog has been Designated as a Service Dog by the USDA which is a body of the Federal Government. So you ask why so many people are breaking the law, well here is your answer!!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Tender Loving Canines was absolutely wonderful to work with. Their team of trainers and staff members are extremely passionate and knowledgeable and went above and beyond providing us with the support, training and education needed for our facility dog placement, Stevie.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We at Hospice of the North Coast and Pacifica House are so thankful that we were introduced to TCLAD earlier this year for the incredible opportunity to have a Facility Dog to offer as therapeutic intervention to not only our patients and families but to staff as well! We are very unique in that our facility is a home-like setting that provides critical care to the hospice patient. In a space where emotions run high and patient's are very sick, the ability to offer the tender, loving presence of a canine staff member is above and beyond any other intervention. The environment having a dog creates is so peaceful, light and joyful. Dogs are sensitive to people's needs and add that extra special touch of compassion and care that cannot be achieved any other way. Stevie has already made such an impact in the short time she has been here. Now that she is certified we are ready to put Stevie's skills to work purposefully for the effect of lessening end of life anxiety and agitation with our terminal patients as well as hoping for distraction therapy to help ease physical pain, and even reminiscing on pet experiences to ease psycho-social pain.
TCLAD has been an amazing partner training Stevie through the POOCH program and then transferring her skills and training methods to PH and to our staff who handles her on a regular basis. The impact Stevie will have will be exponential because of how many patients and families we see come through our doors- She will have an incredible working life with us providing love and companionship to our population.

Charmaine H.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Karen,

Has been so supportive and amazing to work with - this is not an easy process and can be an long road to travel finding the best and most reputable k9 service organization. The compassion and kindness that has been extended to my family with 2 disabled twin son's has been so refreshing. I really appreciate all that Karen and her organization has provided me and my son's

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

TLCAD is an amazing organization that gives back to the San Diego community in many ways, not only by providing service dogs to individuals with disabilities but by helping to rehabilitate inmates and giving a second chance to shelter dogs. Their professionalism and dedication to best practice methods in training and placing service dogs helps to raise the standards of the field.

Rachel173

Client Served

Rating: 5

The mission of this group is amazing and simple--provide highly trained dogs to people in need to change their lives!! My son, Cameron is 9 years old. At 17 months of age he was diagnosed with Autism. Since that time he has been diagnosed with Apraxia which makes it almost impossible for him to speak. Cameron is currently severely impacted by his autism and pretty much nonverbal. He fortunately has children at school who care for him but he doesn't have any real friends. Cameron is also very active and is not afraid of cars. He could run into the street at any time. Our house is kept locked up tight just to keep him from escaping. If he left our constant supervision he could not survive. Our family divides up most of the time to attend activities because it isn't safe for Cameron. Movies, sporting events, parties,walks in crowded places or fairs, are next to impossible with Cameron. And then comes Star. Cameron was chosen to receive Star as his companion to allow him to do some of the things that have been unsafe for him up until now. She will also provide him companionship and hopefully encourage other children to be near Cameron. We are still in the process of training to be with Star but I know when she moves in with us it will be life changing for all of us! We are so grateful to Tender Loving Canines for this amazing gift!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

TLCAD is an invaluable organization which helps Veterans regain their independence, as well as helping to empower children with Autism. TLCAD has recognized the needs within its community, and strives to help those in their community to lead independent and happy lives, with the help of one of their specially, extended customized-trained service dogs. It is in this partnership where people can thrive in their daily lives. These service dogs have helped to save lives, as well as returning families to their family unit, helping to give people a big part of their world back, or introduce people to new experiences.

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

It was a pleasure working with the TLCAD team as we worked closely on the organization's rebrand efforts. The leadership takes their role in the community very seriously and is always looking for ways to extend their reach to have the most positive impact on individuals who would benefit from having an assistance dog. They truly are transforming lives.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

They work great with us as a govt agency and their clients. Very professional and compassionate organization.

2 Phillip G.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am the local chairperson for Tee it Up for the Troops and have been our charities internal champion for Tender Loving Canines. Karen and her team of talented trainers are simply one f the finest groups of people that I have ever been associated with and I am proud to be their representative within my organization.

At Tee it Up for the Troops our mission is to focus our fund raising efforts toward having an immediate and personal impact for veterans and their families at both the local and national level. Tender Loving Canines exactly meets that goal by providing service dogs that help our wounded military veterans cope with their wounds both seen and unseen. The dogs that they train and provide to our warriors help them manage daily issues that they face (mobility related issues as well as PTSD).

The training team takes great care to match dogs with veterans based upon their needs, but it doesn't stop once a dog is placed. TLC works with each veteran to understand how the dog can assist them and teaches each of them how to continue to re-emphasize the training that the dog has learned. When dogs grow to old to continue their work, TLC works closely with that veteran full the rest of their lives to make sure that their needs continue to be met.

Karen and the entire TLC team are simply the very best and I am lucky to have gotten to know each of them ad count them as friends.