Teaching Love & Compassion(TLC)™

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A violence-prevention program
The Teaching Love and Compassion (TLC) program is a three to four week violence prevention program designed to teach empathy and compassion to youth from at-risk communities. Studies show that cruelty toward animals by children may be a symptom of existing domestic violence, as well as a predictor of future violence toward people. If the compassion and respect for animals can be taught at a young age, the violence toward animals can stop, and in turn lessen the violence toward people.

The TLC program is for middle school students ages 11-13. In the program, students learn basic life coping skills such as empathy, anger identification, conflict resolution and teamwork. Students also learn the importance and value of caring for animals and respecting the natural world around them. Each student is teamed with a partner and a non-trained shelter dog. Throughout the program, the student team and the shelter dog work together. This results in the students building a bond with the animal and benefits the shelter dog by giving it basic obedience/training.

At the end of the program, students demonstrate their dog-training skills at a graduation ceremony for family and peers. Often, the students get a chance to meet with their dog’s new family and give them advice on what their new pet needs and knows. Along with teaching love and compassion, students build new friendships, increase their self-esteem, grow as individuals and find patience they never knew they had.

The TLC program’s goal is to assist in the process of preventing violence in children. If students learn to accept animals as living beings with feelings and needs, then compassion and empathy are not far behind. Compassion and empathy toward animals is what prevents violent behavior. TLC is a necessary part of a community and should be implemented in all areas of the world. In order to do this, animal shelters and schools need to work together.

spcaLA offers a comprehensive manual on the TLC program. This manual includes history on the cycle of violence, budgetary needs, training schedules, daily activity schedules, staffing requirements and all components of implementing a TLC from start to finish.

To purchase manual, please contact the Violence Prevention & Humane Education Department at or (562) 216-2545.