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Volunteering With Tender Loving Canine Assistance Dogs (TLCAD)

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Over the last 7 years I’ve been raising guide dog puppies for Guide Dogs of America (GDA) and recently I’ve been thinking about raising and training for another organization.  Don’t get me wrong I love being a puppy raiser for GDA, but I’m very interested in learning new things while continuing to help one of the many great assistance dog organizations out there.

Over the past few months I’ve been attending outings and training classes with Tender Loving Canine Assistance Dogs (TLCAD).  They are a wonderful organization located about an hour south of me in San Diego.

Tender Loving Canine Assistance Dogs (TLCAD)

TLCAD Lab In Training
TLCAD Labrador Retriever In Training

TLCAD’s Mission:

We transform lives with service dogs.

In order to achieve this mission, Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs, Inc. (TLCAD):

  • Understands the benefits of placing dogs whose natural disposition and unique talents match a client’s personality and individual needs.
  • Knows that in order to ensure long term success for both dog and client, the training begins as early as possible and endures throughout the working life of the dog.

The results of this mission can be witnessed in:

  • Individuals with a special need, a challenge or a disability actively participating in and contributing to the world around them.
  • Setting the standard for a professional, dependable and happy working dog.
  • Increasing awareness and public education of disabilities and Assistance Dogs.


As I mentioned I had the opportunity to participate in many TLCAD activities including several outings as well as attending their dog sitter workshop and their 8 week trainer course.  I must say they have wonderful people working at this organization!

TLCAD Labradoodle In Training
TLCAD Labradoodle In Training

However, there was really one main point that was keeping me from working as a volunteer trainer for TLCAD…

They are located in San Diego which is actually slightly closer then Sylmar, CA (GDA Main Campus), but the big difference is there are no other trainers near me (I live in Orange County about 1 hour north of San Diego).  GDA has a dedicated Orange County group which consists of 50+ puppy raisers.  I’ve found it very important to have this support group not only for bouncing questions off veteran raisers, but because it gives you options for puppy sitters.

The Importance Of Puppy Sitters

As a guide dog puppy raiser I’ve learned that it’s invaluable to have a puppy sitter nearby.  It seems to come up quite often that spur of the moment I need a puppy sitter for just a few hours or a day.  A perfect example is a wedding.  I have several to go to this summer.  Weddings only last a few hours and it’s an event I normally won’t take a puppy in training to unless I know the couple very well.  I would only need a puppy sitter for a few hours and having one within 5-10 minutes of me is oh so convenient.

I know it’s a luxury having puppy sitters nearby, but it’s something I have considered before deciding to raise and train a puppy for a different organization.  While you may not have this same option when choosing to volunteer as a puppy trainer/raiser it’s definitely something to consider if you have the option.

Even if you’re just planning on getting a puppy or dog as a family pet make sure you think about what you will do with your dog or puppy when you are away.  Where will you take your puppy when going on vacation?  Do you have a support group of pet friendly friends who are willing to puppy sit?

Thank You TLCAD For What You Do!

Tender Loving Canine Assistance Dogs (TLCAD) is a wonderful organization!  I hope that I will get the chance to work with one of their puppies sometime in the future.  If you are interested in volunteering with TLCAD then visit their website for more information.

Whether it’s a Guide Dog organization, Service Dog organization, Animal Shelter, or any other non-profit what kind of things did you consider before volunteering with your organization?  Tell us about it in the comment section below.

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  1. I feel very fortunate to have several puppy sitters close by for both my “in training” dogs and for my personal dogs. One other thing I like about having puppy sitters is my dogs feel much more comfortable staying with familiar family and friends. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. You make an excellent point about having puppy sitters close by- to take care of your pup when you need to go on a trip. Leaving one’s dog at a kennel has never appealed to me. And TLCAD sounds like a great organization!

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