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Chester County Press

Canine Partners for Life celebrates 25 years in grand style

10/08/2014 02:52AM ● By Lev

By Nancy Johnson

The Canine Partners for Life Annual Open House was over the top this year as the Cochranville non-profit held its 25th anniversary party. The event began at noon, and by 1 p.m., parking at the facility was maxed out, and off-site parking with shuttle buses was already being used.
Darlene Sullivan is founder and executive director of the organization which is dedicated to training service dogs and home companion dogs. She was enjoying the day immensely. “I never envisioned this 25 years ago,” she said. “But then again, I never thought I would be watching Puff all afternoon,” she added, laughing.
A cow named Puff was eagerly watched by the crowd, many of whom were holding tickets and waiting for her to “doo” her thing, hopefully on the square they were betting on.  Cow Bingo has always been a big part of the open house, and awards one lucky winner $5,000. In the past, the celebrity cow often makes someone a big winner within minutes, but an hour after she had been released into the paddock with squares carefully marked out with lime,  the crowd was still watching her happily grazing.
Sullivan loved the new format for the event, based around a “passport” that visitors had stamped at each station they visited. “It has really gotten people around to explore and see what we are all about, and in many cases how they can get involved as a volunteer,” Sullivan said.
After visitors received a paw print as evidence of visiting all eight stations -- Community Puppy Raising, Home Companion Program, CPL Breeding Program, CPL Training Demo, CPL Harness Shop, Development and Education, and Life with a Service Dog – they got  a raffle ticket to win a CPL prize pack.
Sullivan also noted that several people who had gotten service dogs had their first contact with Canine Partners for Life at an open house. She is now working with her third service dog. “It’s just amazing how a service dog can change someone’s life,” she said.
To learn more about volunteering, call CPL at 610-869-4902.