Our Dogs: Certified
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 morning.
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 fireflies.
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 balance.
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 might happen...
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.
Murphy is the Facility Dog for the San Diego Naval Hospital’s Vestibular Care Physical Therapy Unit. Murphy helps patients with their anxiety by cuddling on the mat table with them during painful or stressful exercises. He retrieves and delivers items when needed, and he provides support by wearing a balance harness. He is now considered a "patient’s best friend” by all who visit the hospital.
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, together.
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.
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 life.
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' help.
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 of many.
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.