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Review for Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs, Inc. (TLCAD), Solana Beach, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

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”.

Role:  Client Served