“We discovered Can Do Canines by way of an internet search,” Betsy says. “After stumbling upon and watching the documentary film Pick of the Litter, we were inspired to find out about local organizations engaged in this important work. The time was right: our beloved 15-year-old pet Black Lab had passed a few months earlier, so we were keenly aware of the void felt in our household – now pet-less for the first time in 37 years! – and, we were newly retired from full-time work. The opportunity to volunteer with Can Do Canines Puppy Program offered us a focused purpose, while also returning delightful dog energy into our home.”
Betsy and Janice are currently puppy raising Genr (pronounced “Jenner”), a 9-month-old Goldador who entered their home Thanksgiving week of 2019. They are also fostering 11-month-old Dusty, a Black Labrador Retriever who was originally being raised at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, MN but joined them in early April due to the COVID-19 shutdown at prisons. During their time in the Puppy Program, they have also short-term fostered three dogs: Professor Plum, Hermione, and Stella.
When asked to reflect on their favorite memories of their time volunteering, Janice remembers Professor Plum: “He was an eight-week-old bundle of love, stocky, cuddly, full of smiles, and he absolutely loved the field of tall grass on our street. Watching his roly-poly body playing in the long grass is a very fond memory. He brought much love with him for his short stay at our house, and got us even more excited to meet Genr in the coming weeks!”
Picking up Genr that very first night was special. What does Betsy remember most? “Finally holding the puppy who’d be with us for an extended time, and being awed by his amazing focus and the skills he already had gained from his whelping home and time at weaning prison. What a special time! It was Thanksgiving week, and Genr’s arrival made the holiday extra meaningful.”
After living and working in Minneapolis for over 30 years, Janice and Betsy now have a home near Marine on St. Croix. They explain, “Janice’s life work as a musician and teacher continues, as she currently serves as Artistic Director of the Twin Cities Women’s Choir. Betsy previously served as Program Director of a Meals on Wheels program, and because of that experience brings a deepened appreciation for how volunteers are valued and supported at Can Do Canines. Now that we are mostly retired, our emphasis has turned to volunteering—both in our local community as well as with Can Do Canines. You’ll also find us tending a verdant 2+ acres, watching wonderful wildlife, and exploring the area’s natural beauty by kayak, bicycle, and on foot.”
Our hats are off to this couple. Thank you for the time, love, patience, and energy you give to this cause. We are very grateful for you!