Janet remembers well the first time she visited Canine Partners for Life (CPL). Her employer, West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. in Exton, PA, had chosen to support CPL as one of its local charities. She and many of her colleagues arrived to “beautify” the campus, inside and out. Naturally, they were immediately attracted to the puppies and dogs in training. For Janet, that day in 2010 was a turning point in her life.
It didn’t take much time before Janet was back, volunteering to cuddle with the dogs in the kennel and take them for long walks. She learned to speak to community groups about CPL’s mission, educate people about service animals and describe the many ways the dogs can help their human partner.
Once she’d built up her confidence, Janet started to take puppies and dogs home on a temporary basis. Whether it was for a couple days or a few weeks, Janet offered to give puppy raisers a short break or to provide some socialization experience for a puppy who’d been raised in one of the prison programs. By this point, Janet was hooked. She admits, with a laugh, that she “got the CPL fever.”
Janet fell in love with Journey, one of CPL’s breeder dogs, and brought her home to live with her. “Journey is amazing,” says Janet. “This past year, I also adopted one of her puppies, Ahvee, who was released from CPL. They’re inseparable, and they give me such joy.” She’s even created a book, Journey’s Journey, to honor this dog, who has given so much to so many people.
By 2014, Janet was ready to step into a new volunteer role by joining CPL’s Board of Directors. Since that time, Janet has witnessed significant changes to CPL, including the renovation and expansion of the Marian S. Ware Program Services Center. “It’s so satisfying to have a hand in all these changes,” she says. “Up next is the Mollie and Minor Barringer Training Center!”
One of her greatest moments as a volunteer, she says, is when CPL asked her to name a puppy. “What an honor that was,” she says. “I named him after my first dog, Maxwell. He’s one of Kenzie’s puppies, who were born on September 27, 2018. I’m really excited, because 6abc Action News, our local news station, is going to follow Maxwell and his litter mates as they go through their two-year training program. It’s going to be a thrill to follow his progress and then watch as he’s matched with his person!”
Janet is quick to credit CPL with shaping many aspects of her life in the most positive way possible. Ask any CPL staff member, though, about what Janet’s commitment means to them. “CPL could not survive without the dedication of volunteers like Janet,” explains Janie Cramer, CPL’s Executive Director. “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Janet for the many, many ways she has enabled us to fulfill our mission.”