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Review for Canine Partners for Life, Cochranville, PA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

FYI, JessicaHarlingen posted on Jan 3rd 2012 and then psted the exact same review under the name of SpeakingOut on April 30th 2012. CPL is a REALLY GREAT organization! I was partnered with my service dog in fall 2011, and the relationship has changed my life. I use a wheelchair, and I am mostly blind. I did a lot of research about service dogs and the organizations which train them. I wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting into before I took on the responsibility. I spoke to a number of organizations who wanted nothing to do with me because of my two, severe disabilities. CPL did not even blink when I told them. I wanted an assistant dog, not a guide dog. They were fine with that.
On my first visit to CPL, I was impressed with the cleanliness of the facility, and the gentleness of every dog there. I could really tell that the people at CPL care about the dogs. They feed them high quality food, give them lots of exercise, use kind treatment/training methods, and love on the dogs as parents love on their children. My favorite part of the training facility is the “cuddle room”. Volunteers come very frequently to sit with, pet, and love on the dogs. These dogs have lots of work to do, and so they deserve to be pampered a lot.
I was matched with a playful, loving, and highly intelligent yellow lab. This dog was partnered with another recipient before me, but the recipient did not feel he was ready for the commitment of a service dog.
My girl is amazing. She learns quickly, and loves fiercely. She is still a dog, though. Sometimes she is so excited to see one of my friends that she forgets herself in her eagerness to say hello. Sometimes she barks at the sound of my neighbor’s door closing, and sometimes she nips my toes in her eagerness to help me tug my socks off. She loves to sniff the ground, and she loves to play fetch with a ball. One time she pooped in a place she was not supposed to poop in, but no one is perfect, including my amazing canine partner.
CPL was very supportive when I had a terrible experience at an internship placement and the advised me on how to resolve issues after training. In fact, the first week after training, they wanted to hear from me every day. Then the checks went to once a week, and now I check in whenever I have an issue, question, or good report. The staff is very accessible, and they make me feel like I matter.
CPL has become a large part of my life. They offered hope to me. I now know what it’s like to have help laying at my feet waiting for the next thing. Myg irl loves to work, and she knows her stuff. Does she test me? Oh Yeah! You better believe it! She started testing me the day we started team training. Everyone knew that she was the dog who would not remain lying down for more than a moment. The staff encouraged and advised me. By the end of training, my dog had realized I would always correct her and she did not test as much.
I love the click and treat training method, and so does my dog. The prong collar is to be used for strict correction only, and it does not hurt the dog. It is simply a bit uncomfortable. Often times, I just have to hold the prong collar for my girl to know I mean business. The prongs never draw blood or even leave marks. In fact, I have felt what it it’s like for the prongs to press into my arm.
As for the story told by Anonymous about the executive director scolding her dog, I remember when this happened at my team training. The director’s dog had a very sensitive personality and would get spooked at small things. It was simply her personality to be sensitive to correction. The executive director’s dog did become nervous, but then relaxed when her human partner spent time petting and loving on her in order to demonstrate her love. The demonstration of correction certainly had no lasting effects on the dog and did not make the dog love the director any less. The dog was still overjoyed to work and to be with her partner.
CPL dogs love their jobs and their partners. They are still imperfect creatures, though. Just as you correct a child for misbehavior you need to correct a dog. Furthermore dogs will test you, sometimes right away. They are not robots, but they are wonderful. My dog’s tail is always wagging because of her joy to be alive and working. I look forward to the future with my dog by my side.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My every day life and increased independence.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Tell more people about them.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?


How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?


How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


How did you find this group?

Through internet research

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

Increased independence, laughter, and joy!

Role:  Client Served & I received a service dog.