Our Dogs: Certified
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It seems that Axel and his handler, a Wounded Warrior residing at Battalion West
at Camp Pendleton, know each other pretty well. They get each other's jokes. They
both seem to need naps at the same time. They know when to leave each other alone.
Perfect friends. Since Axel moved in, his handler is recovering in a mighty way
from PTSD, traumatic brain injury and mobility issues. It's amazing to watch them
both rally when the barbeque is fired up.
Ben's the kind of dog you'd like to have as a neighbor. He's handsome, friendly
and he's oh so capable. If you needed a certain tool, he'd not only have it handy
in the garage, he'd know how to use it, and he'd happily do the job for you. You
could call on him day or night, even if that meant you just needed company.
When this Wounded Warrior received Billy, he wasn't sure he'd make it through college.
He was often plagued by PTSD. But that was a while ago, and he not only got his
BA, he's on his way to a doctorate in History. And, while the PTSD hasn't entirely
disappeared, Billy's presence has continued to make it manageable.
Celeste's powerful retrieval skills keep her owner stable on her feet with the need
to bend over for items no longer a necessity in her daily life. Safety is a major
issue that Celeste was able to accomplish.
Cricket is a playful delight who thrives on being the constant companion of her
owner, She assists with all the chores of daily living; laundry, phone retrieval,
opening and closing doors and drawers, and most importantly – getting help when
needed. She has allowed her owner to experience independence once again.
Things that seem pretty easy for some children can be such a challenge for a child
on the autism spectrum. Staying seated in a chair at mealtime can be hard, walking
to and from school can be harder, and sleeping through the night can be the hardest.
What Dash has done for his young owner is to make it all a bit easier. With Dash
nearby at dinner, it's like having your favorite relative sit next to you at Thanksgiving.
Walking to school with Dash takes your mind off where you're going and walking home
with him is even better. The sooner you get home the sooner you and Dash can play
ball. The same with sleeping. Night can be beautiful and night can be scary. Having
Dash in the room means it's okay, no matter what. And Dash will be there in the
Dottie is a Facility Dog at The Winston School where she is helps to increase the
social and educational growth of students on a daily basis. Her calendar is full
with appointments assisting students in a variety of school related activities,
including; counseling, therapy, test taking, classroom tasks, and study sessions.
Dottie happily greets students as they arrive to school each morning, starting their
day off with a smile.
Duke is like a university freshman. He's excited about the future. He can't wait
to see what the new day brings, whether it's on the playing field or in the classroom.
Duke's been placed with a Wounded Warrior and he can't get to work fast enough.
Duke assists his Wounded Warrior to help make the events of daily life more tolerable,
particularly in the public setting while dealing with PTSD. Duke continues to like
learning new skills and remains his playful self, loving his work.
It's hard to say what it is about Gracie that's benefited her owner more - her ability
to work in public flawlessly and confidently or her bright, playful spirit. These
are the attributes that were needed to help this Wounded Warrior make a proud entrance
back into life as she once knew it. With Gracie, she's returned full time to the
work force. With Gracie easing her discomfort in public gatherings, she's joining
friends at weekend and evening sporting events. With Gracie to help with stability
and safety, she's travelling independently. With Gracie to make her laugh, she's
found her smile again.
So far, Jackson hasn't met anyone he doesn't like, which says a lot of nice things
about Pittsburgh, where he and his trainer were staying for a while. He has friends
everywhere - in the hardware store, the thrift shop, the laundromat. He liked the
lady in the drug store even if she did say she never knew a poodle could be a service
dog. He draws people to him with his elegant smarts. You wouldn't believe how many
neighbors show up just to sit with him on the front porch at night and watch the
Jag excels at two things - working and relaxing. Equally as adept on the job in
Home Depot or a high school classroom, she's an eager learner, a quick study andtireless
in her desire to please. She'll even deliver things you didn't askfor. Off duty,
she's fully committed to romping with other dogs in the dog park, eating and watching
old movies with someone she loves. She's a girl who understands the importance of
Jake provides stability and safety to his owner as a balance and seizure response
dog. His owner has blossomed in her social interactions with Jake at her side to
offer encouragement and empowerment. Mom can now sleep during the night knowing
that Jake will awaken her if help is needed during the night.
Katie is a seizure response dog that allows her owner to attend college independently
and safely. She also alerts others for assistance when needed. She is well known
on the college campus.
Laci is beautiful in body and spirit. She does her work with quiet grace. Her owner
requires a wheelchair and Laci is there to keep her safe and to go for help if it's
needed. She does it because it is her work, but she also does it because she is
a good friend.
Libby and the young boy were happy. It wasn't long before he wanted to do more things
with Libby, but the wheelchair got in the way. So he asked for a walker. This made
both Libby and the boy very happy. They could go faster and farther. This made the
boy wonder what would happen if he didn't use the walker. So he asked for a balance
harness for Libby to wear and for him to hold onto. This made Libby and the boy
extra happy. There was almost nothing they couldn't do now, almost nowhere they
couldn't go. Almost. Unless he learned to walk on his own. Just he and Libby. It
Magic likes action. The faster and louder it is, the more he likes it. Good thing,
because Magic is the Facility Dog for The Learning Academy at TERI, Inc. where he
assists over 70 young people on the autism spectrum. They're practicing the skills
of daily living that will help them to become confident and capable adults. Magic
is happy to help.
Matty is actually a giant teddy bear disguised as a Service Dog. That's so he can
go into public places with his handler. Before she met Matty, she never felt safe
in public situations. Her anxiety had escalated to such an extent that the simple
task of going to the store for a tube of toothpaste seemed out of the question.
Nowadays Matty, like a true teddy bear, is always with his handler and friend. He
offers her comfort, confidence and security. He just doesn't fit under her arm.
Every young man entering high school could use a little mojo. But the young man
with this particular Mojo has got a lot. Mojo wears a balance harness to assist
his owner in walking independently and they're everywhere on campus. The science
lab, the lunch room, the library. Mojo might be the most popular guy at school.
That makes his owner a big man on campus as well. Thanks to Mojo, he won't miss
out on what it means to be a young man in high school.
Muffet has the distinction of being the first Autism Dog placed by TLCAD. She was
the test run and she exceeded all expectations. Placed with a little girl with autism,
Muffet short-circuited the child's deeply ingrained patterns of bolting and eloping.
At the front door, at the dentist's office, at the zoo, anywhere. In a remarkably
small window of time, the behavior was ultimately extinguished. Instead of closing
doors for this little girl, Muffet gave her family the freedom to open them.
Now here's a love story. It's about a boy and a dog. As the boy will tell you, they'd
been waiting for one another for a very long time and once they became friends,
the world seemed different. Better. The boy is autistic, the dog is a lab. They
go just about everywhere together. Three things the boy likes most in the world
are Mully, home and lobster. In that order. Three things Mully likes most in the
world are his boy, food and fetch. In that order.
Mylo did for a Wounded Warrior what others could not. Not even the professionals.
Bit by bit, Mylo began to restore the naval vet's sense of self. It wasn't long
before Mylo was his partner in reconnecting with people and public places, in becoming
reacquainted with the hum of daily life.
Nikki is a Facility Dog working with his school nurse owner in a public school.
Her job was many as she calmed those who were ill and awaiting their parents to
pick them up, to modeling and offering encouragement for behavior that appeared
too difficult physically for some students, to breaking down the social communication
barriers for many.
Pacific has a special place in the history of Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs.
He was the first. Paired with a C4-6 quadraplegic, a lot was asked of him. And he
delivered. From the onset, Pacific was trained to his strengths and natural talents.
This instilled in him the confidence that he could learn to do anything his owner
asked. That confidence also gave him the ability to go beyond what was asked, instinctively
just doing what was needed. Pacific represents a signature Tender Loving Canines
Assistance dog - professional, dependable, and happy.
Poppy serves two children in one family. It didn't start out that way. Poppy was
meant for only one son with autism. The boy had lost his smile and lost his reasons
to laugh. Poppy brought those back, and more. If Poppy walked to school, the boy
walked to school. If Poppy wanted to join in an activity, the boy joined in. He
found out, with Poppy, that he was really not so different after all. So, he decided
to share Poppy with his brother, who also has autism. Poppy keeps an eye on his
brother when they're out in public, in case he decides to run. His brother sticks
around more now. Which means that they can do more of the things that brothers do,
TLCAD's first seizure-response dog that still plays this role for a young boy daily.
He awakens Mom when needed in the night, allowing her to get a night's sleep in
her own bed. He is a constant companion even when hospitalization is needed.
Sometimes families who have an autistic child find going out together difficult.
Where they go and how long they stay isn't a simple choice. Sometimes the siblings
find it uncomfortable. That's the way it was for one family until they found Ruby.
Now things are different. Ruby reduces the anxiety of the autistic boy to such a
degree that he is calmer in public and much more easily redirected from a socially
unacceptable behavior. He is also much less likely to try to physically run from
the situation. Ruby anchors him, in the moment, and in the family.
Like Ruby on
Sage brought a fuller life to a man who thought he had one already. Little did he
know what was in store for him while working full time for the San Diego Padres
– Sage became a mascot to attendees as well as employees. They were a powerful team
that enjoyed many sporting events together and brought true warmth to his owner's
Sasha is a four-year-old Golden Retriever that was donated April 9, 2012 at the
recommendation of the Knights Templar from a family in Sunland, CA to be placed
in our At Ease Program. She is our first 'older' dog of 2012 and we hope to be able
to train and place her in a much shorter time.
Sausy is a Signal Dog who notifies his owner of the door bell, phone ringing, tea
kettle boiling, fire alarm and sirens when in the car. He also lets his owner know
when she is being called to when in public.
Scout is the constant companion of his owner and allows greater independence in
the home and in public.
Scout is the anxiety reducer in the high school art classroom when he entertains
with his many tricks and can also defer unwanted behavior using many clever tactics
that can be changed daily as needed. He is very energetic and loves his classroom
work. He is well known on campus.
Solar is an autism/mobility dog that allows a young girl to navigate the over-stimulation
of her world. With Solar by her side, she is now able to go out in public settings
safely with her family. Her world is growing bigger each day with her 'fluffy puppy's'
Tahoe is a Facility Dog with his owner who was an elementary school nurse. He presently
works to assist his owner in the At Ease Program where they help the wounded warriors
learn service dog skills with a well trained dog – allowing their transition to
their own service dog placement to go smoother.
Not every dog could have done it. Many would have buckled under the pressure. Not
Tuxedo. Initially trained as a Facility Dog, Tuxedo knew he was good with the kids
on the autism spectrum. He was a patient teacher, modeling turn-taking while playing
Monopoly and reinforcing appropriate social behaviors at snack time. He liked being
the "go to" guy when there was a kid who was afraid of dogs or who just hadn't been
taught how to interact with one. He was happy being an ABA therapy assistant. But
when his handler began experiencing debilitating back pain and couldn't work, he
had to develop a whole new skill set. He had to learn how to put the dirty clothes
into the front loading washer. He had to learn how to open and close the fridge
so he could put away the milk. He had to learn to keep the living room tidy by picking
up the newspapers off the floor. He can't wait to get back to playing Monopoly.
Twister went to an elite private school. He learned a lot and was everyone's favorite.
He was accompanied by his owner, who worked as Chaplain at The Bishop's School in
La Jolla, California. He participated in counseling sessions, helping to alleviate
student's concerns with his warmth, affection and good humor. Twister brought calmness
and clarity to any number of adolescents.
Tyler allows his owner to experience many social settings that she could not endure
previously. They now enjoy visiting facilities together as a therapy dog and showing
off his many 'tricks' to a very appreciative audience. They truly brighten the lives
Not so long ago, Willow provided a first glimpse of hope for a retired Wounded Warrior,
struggling to gain the upper hand over her PTSD. Now they're working as a team,
on both a personal and a professional basis, educating and increasing the awareness
of individuals and families whose lives are impacted by PTSD.
Woody and his owner are growing up. They're learning about the things that make
them laugh, the things that frighten them, the places they might like to go together
someday. They're learning that, if you just try, new things can almost be fun and
that maybe the world isn't such a scary place after all. It's actually okay, it's
often nice. Very nice. Woody and his young friend have some exploring to do. They
plan on doing it together.
Ziggy is full of life and so his handler. In spite of her mobility issues, it's
hard to keep either one of them down. Ziggy's strong retrieval and obedience skills
means she can be much more independent at home, in public and at her job. Ziggy,
in his own way, is as much of a counselor to her students as she is.