COPE in the News and in the Community


Every day we are learning more about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and COPE has been evolving its thinking with the flow of information.

Our goal is to keep all our volunteers, clients, staff and the community safe. Based on recommendations by the World Health Organization, both National and Provincial Public Health agencies and the Simcoe Muskoka County Health Unit, we would like to advise you of the following:

Starting today, COPE’s office will be closed to the public and staff will be working remotely until further notice.

  • In-person Foster training and outings are cancelled until further notice
  • Refinement training is being cancelled until further notice. We request that all Fosters spend time with the dogs they are looking after on obedience training. (Our Program of Delivery will be reaching out to Fosters to set up virtual training).
  • In-person ADI Public Access tests and additional training is postponed until further notice. (Virtual follow-ups will be planned if necessary).
  • All Reading Buddy appointments are cancelled until further notice.
  • All attendance by COPE representatives at public events, education sessions and presentations are being postponed until further notice.
  • The High Tea, scheduled for May 9th, is being postponed.  Planning for other fundraising events will continue and be assessed over the upcoming weeks.
  • A two-month supply of dog food has been ordered to ensure if there is any disruption in our supplier’s production or delivery of food, we have a reserve. Pick-up of dog food may be done on Tuesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by appointment only.

To date, there is no evidence that companion animals or pets can spread COVID-19 (per CDC guidance). For the latest information about coronavirus and pets, we encourage you to visit the links below:

Allandale Veterinary Hospital remains open and is taking extra precautions should you need to visit with a dog.

Thank you for all your invaluable support. We will keep you updated as to any additional changes.

With gratitude,

The COPE Team 



Join us for the event of the summer! Food, cars, bikes, music and dogs! Something for everyone, all in support of COPE Service Dogs


Driverseat helps COPE students raise money for COPE

Many thanks to Matt and our driver, John from Driverseat who made our day at the Georgian Mall possible by driving the students there and back.  The students were able to sell the items they made at the community booth as well as train their dogs in a public setting. Thank you also, to the COPE volunteers who helped make the day run smoothly and the members of the  public who supported by purchasing and donating.  (December 13, 2019)

COPE Service Dogs’ New Van

With the very generous support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Spirit of the Community Innisfil Foundation, Georgian Chevrolet Buick GMC and Mario Designs, COPE Service Dogs has a safe, new ride. This wonderful van will transport our dogs around the community and to training classes with students that are at risk of not completing high school.

Our new vehicle will help drive our dogs into the future where they will become facility or service dogs helping people living with mobility issues or facility dogs like Daisy at Hospice Simcoe/Muskoka, Yukon at the YMCA and Moose and Beacon at the Children’s Advocacy Centre.

COPE is eternally grateful to all that have helped in supporting us with this endeavor.
‘In life it’s not where you go, but who you travel with’ – Author Unknown


Made possible by the generosity of :

Student Damion Speaks Out on CBC

Warning, this video can cause tears of joy! 
Please take a couple of minutes to really grasp what COPE Service Dogs do.  As well as training and providing service and facility dogs, the large unknown impact is in our Canines in the Classroom Program. This is one youth’s story of the power a COPE dog can make. Thank you Damion for all your courage in making this CBC segment. You are our Hero!…/red-button/season-2/episode-6/38e815a-…

COPE at Sunset Speedway 2019:

50/50 Raffle Draw – Winning Ticket

September 22, 2019 = #3984431 $595  L. Reid

June 1, 2019 = #2431362  $105 (rain cancellation, only 1 race run)

June 15, 2019 = cancelled due to rain

June 22, 2019 = #04443851 $357

COPE Saturdays at Sunset Speedway:   May 12, June 2 & September 8, 2018

50/50 Raffle Draw – Winning Ticket:

May 12 = #7613881 $759

June 2 =  #6778986 $955

September 8 = #1386641 $417.50


Many Heartfelt Thanks to The Samsara Saints Riding Club!

Many, many thanks to the wonderful Samsara Saints Riding Club for this truly amazing donation to COPE Service Dogs.  The Samsara Saints Riding Club (SSRC) is a Motorcycle Riding Club based in the Barrie area regularly riding the beautiful scenic roads of Simcoe County. They are a amazing group of men and women on all types of bikes. They hold weekly rides in the summer and fund raise through the winter months. This past winter the SSRC were extremely busy raising funds for COPE.  Their 2018 fundraiser included purchasing a 1995 Harley Davidson Sportster and lovingly refinishing it.  Once done, the Club sold 1,000 tickets for the bike.  This past March 17th, at the Saints’ Anniversary party the big draw was held.  e winner of the custom 1995 Harley Davidson Sportster was ticket number #0304 Richard M. from Toronto.  COPE Service Dogs wants to thank the Samsara Saints Riding Club from the bottom of our hearts to the tips of our  tails for their outstanding generosity!


Lottery License # M676635


Puppy Foster Appreciation 2017

Check out these photos from COPE Service Dogs’ Volunteer Celebrations in Caledon and Barrie! COPE Service Dogs is so lucky so have so many wonderful volunteers that help us rais e

Dedicated Hearts

Dedicated hearts like yours

Are not so easy to find.

It takes a special person to be

So generous and kind.

To care so much for your fellow man

Is a quality all too rare.

Yet you give of your time and talents,

For all in need to share.

So thank you for being a volunteer,

We’re privileged to work with you.

We want you to know how appreciated you are,

Not just today, but the whole year through.



Mother’s Day High Tea – May 2015

It was a day steeped in tea and tradition! Ladies, Gentlemen and Canines came out dressed in their dapper clothes, hats and fascinators for the 3rd Annual COPE Service Dogs Mother’s Day High Tea. The event was held at Liberty North Event Centre and included a decadent luncheon served on delicate china complete with finger sandwiches, quiches, scones, jams, creams, and of course, delectable tea. Live entertainment from Harpist Amy Hynes, a silent auction, raffle draws, family portraits and a dog demo completed this wonderful afternoon. COPE Service Dogs provide a remarkable education program that engages students in the training of their service dogs. Upon graduating the service dogs are paired with a Life Partner who has mobility issues. Many thanks to Dr. Debra Martin, Andrea Murray, Glenn Coulson, Shakir Barmare, the organizers and everyone who attended. Circle your Calendars for next year, this is a must attend event! 

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Harley Cooper loves Barrie!

 Harley believes in giving back to our community. It was with great pleasure that COPE Service Dogs received a generous donation from Harley Last month. Harley has also pledged a percent of every house he sells with Sutton Realty will be donated to COPE Service dogs! Many thanks to you Harley from the bottom of our hearts and the tips of our tails!


Photo: COPE Service Dogs’ Executive Director Karen Gowdy, Sutton Realty’s Harley Cooper, COPE Service Dogs’ Eddie Galbo & Walker

April 2015

CTV covers COPE Service Dogs’ Canines in the Classroom at our new Humberview location in Caledon, Ontario.

February 2015

Reg JohnstonReg Johnston has been playing hockey with the same friends for many years. When Reg tragically lost his daughter in a car accident just over a year ago, his friends were there for him. Team Aro Shipwreck held a hockey tournament to raise money to go to a charity of Reg’s choice in memory of his daughter Rebecca. In his search for a charity Reg found COPE Service Dogs and last month the Johnston Family visited COPE to present COPE Founder Jane Boake with a wonderful donation for $1,000. These funds will be used to continue COPE Service Dogs many programs including Canines in the Classroom, Reading Buddies, Senior Visits and Canines in the Community Therapy Program. Many heartfelt thanks to Reg, his Family and Team Aro Shipwreck!

November 2014

Here they are folks, COPE Service Dogs’ newest litter. Many thanks to the unbelievable kindness and generosity of Sherri Hall of Maplelane Golden Retrievers.

October 2014

COPE Service Dogs (Canine Opportunity, People Empowerment) held their 3rd Annual Gala at Tangle Creek Golf & Country Club. This year’s theme was ‘An Evening in The Enchanted Forest’ that showcased trees, ferns and fairies. The night included cocktails and appetizers while guests mingled with many four legged COPE friends and everyone enjoyed the beautiful music of harpist Deb McKay. Guests dined on a delicious dinner before a powerful, crowd pleasing performance from Memphis Mudd.

October 2014

COPE Service Dogs’ flag was flying high over the skyline at Barrie City Hall. Acting Mayor Councillor John Brassard officially proclaimed the week as COPE Service Dogs’ Week.

September 2014

COPE Service Dogs at Barkfest Dog Festival and Fall Harvest Food Fair

The Essa Agriplex went to the Dogs! Thousands of Canine owners and their pooches gathered at the 2nd Annual Barkfest Dog Festival & Harvest Fall Food Fair. It was two great shows in one that covered many pet related vendor booths and tons of demonstrations along with many contests including King and Queen of the Festival. Demonstrations included Dog Agility, Obedience, the OPP K9 Tactical Unit and COPE Service Dogs. Other vendors offered scrumptious fresh produce and delicious prepared foods. Proceeds from this event were donated to COPE Service Dogs. Many thanks to the organizers Laura Boston and Ron Davis, all the generous sponsors & vendors, and everyone that came out for a tail-wagging day!

July 2014

At COPE Service Dogs July means Life Partner Camp. Three new Life Partners have started their incredible journey with our service dogs Thor, Vasco and Fenway.

June 2014

COPE Service Dogs is pleased to announce McFlurry delivered a new litter of future COPE Service Dogs. These cuddly, warm balls of love will be placed with their Puppy Raisers in the middle of August.

COPE Service Dogs - New litter

June 2014

Donation received from green shield

COPE Service Dogs is proud to be the recipient of a very generous donation from Green Shield Canada’s Community Giving Program. The $30,000 donation will used to support the expansion of the Canines in the Classroom Program. Thank you Green Shield from the bottom of our hearts and the tips of our tails.

COPE Donation from Green Shield

June 2014

Meridian Credit Union believes in dragons and dogs

Meridian Credit Union made a wonderful $5,100 donation to COPE Service Dogs.  The proceeds were raised through the annual Dragon Boat Races.  Many thanks to Meridian for your constant support!

COPE Donation from Meridian Credit Union

May 2014

Nantyr Shores secondary school takes a trip to the mall

Developing great Service Dogs means exposing our dogs to different places, noises, and smells. May found our students and dogs from Nantyr Shores Secondary School at Georgian Mall.

May 2014

COPE Service Dogs Mother’s Day High Tea

It was a day steeped in tea and tradition! Ladies, Gentlemen and Canines came out dressed in their dapper clothes, hats and fascinators for the 1st Annual COPE Service Dogs Mother’s Day High Tea. The event was held at the beautifully renovated Violet’s Venue and included a decadent luncheon served on delicate china complete with finger sandwiches, quiches, scones, jams, creams, and of course, delectable tea. Live Entertainment, a silent auction, raffle draws, family portraits and a drop in visit from MP Patrick Brown completed this wonderful afternoon. Many thanks to Cravings, Java Cup Co and everyone who attended. Circle your Calendars for next year, this is a must attend event.

March 2014

CIBC Wood Gundy donation

CIBC Wood Gundy donationCIBC Miracle Day is a proud employee-driven tradition that has helped to improve the lives of millions of children since it began in 1984. Every year, on the first Wednesday in December, CIBC’s wholesale banking employees and CIBC Wood Gundy Investment Advisers donate their fees and commissions to help kids in need. CIBC Wood Gundy presented COPE Service Dogs with a donation of $5,000 to continue helping students realize their full potential by training service dogs under close supervision of professionally recognized service dog trainers. A BIG thank you to CIBC Wood Gundy!

January 2014

Paws for Awareness

Paws for AwarenessEveryone loves COPE Service Dogs…but did you know they are trained by high school students? Over a two year period they train and prepare the dogs so that after graduation the dogs are ready to help people who have mobility issues. The community had the rare opportunity to see the Canine in Classroom (CIC) Students and COPE Dogs in action. It was a fun filled afternoon at Nantyr Shores Secondary School that included face painting, refreshments, doggy goodie bags to take home and a wonderful demonstration from the students and the dogs. The demo included opening doors, retrieving items and also turning on and off lights to name just a few. Many thanks to the awesome students and dogs and to everyone that came out for an action packed afternoon.

December 2013

Orillia OPP Communications Team donation

Orillia OPP Donation2013 for COPE Service Dogs ended on a great noted when Grant Eccless and his daughter Kira dropped by the COPE office with a donation of $1241.57 from the Orillia Central Region OPP Communications Team.  Many thanks to everyone who helped raise funds towards this wonderful surprise!

October 2013

Petsmart cheque presentation

Our Tails were wagging when PetSmart’s Chery MacIntyre (centre) presented COPE’s Executive Director Shari Pryce and Development Officer Glenn Coulson with a $10,000 donation.

Petsmart donation

October 2013

COPE week in Barrie

COPE Week BarrieIn October Barrie City Hall went to the Dogs! MP Patrick Brown, MPP Rod Jackson and Mayor Jeff Lehman were on hand to raise the flag for the start of COPE Service Dogs week. COPE dogs, students, staff and volunteers gathered in the Rotunda following the flag raising for the announcement and cheque presentation of COPE’s sponsorship with Mars Canada Inc. The sponsorship will assist with COPE’s brand and expanding operations in York Region and the Caledon Area. The Canines in the Classroom (CIC) program that COPE facilitates are currently in Barrie and Innisfil. The CIC program helps in the success of secondary school students through the discipline and patience instilled by having students become proficient in dog training.

June 2013

Donation received from Green Shield Canada

COPE donation from Green ShieldCOPE Development Officer Glenn Coulson and COPE Founder Jane Boake graciously accept the $25,000 donation from Jim Bates Director of Sales and Marketing at Green Shield Canada along with 2013 Canine in the Classroom Students at Nantyr Shores Secondary School.

June 2013

Donation received from Optimist Club of Barrie

Optimist Club donationCOPE Development Officer Glenn Coulson, Maureen Watt, Dash & Optimist Dan Petreman.

June 2013

Donation received from Base Border Fire Department

Base Borden donationBase Borden Firefighters, Puppy Raiser Heather Bruyere and Malibu,COPE Service Dogs’ Director of Program Delivery Peggy Lee and Bobby.

May 2012

COPE’s Unleash Potential Campaign is off and running to retrieve funding to support youth and those with disabilities

We have launched a new fundraising campaign to support critical programs that enhance the lives of high school students and disabled life partners. COPE Patron George Cohon, founder of McDonald’s Canada and Russia commented: “Anything we can do to help COPE we’d love to, because we really respect and love the organization”.

Mr. Cohon is joined in his support by local community leaders including: Robin and Barbara Beamish, The Rotary Club of Barrie, Jackson’s Toyota, David Blevins, Telus, Meridian Credit Union and TD Canada Trust. “I am proud to be part of such a wonderful program. This is a true learning and loving partnership between students, trainers and dogs. We look forward to bringing the message and know our communities will support this most worthy cause,” said David Blevins.

New membership and sponsorship opportunities have been launched.

Read the Media Release. (Word, 227KB)

January 2012

COPE given a boost – donation received from Jackson’s Toyota Scion

Jackson Toyota Scion employees raised funds for COPE Service Dogs which were matched by the company. On January 27th, 2012, Greg Jackson presented COPE instructor Lori Johnson and her Canines in the Classroom class with a donation for $2,947.00.

Go to the Barrie Examiner Web site to read the story

January 2012

Gryphon Guild presented cheque for proceeds of their 2011 author’s night event

Gryphon Guild donationMarilyn Harris, President of the Guild was present to see COPE`s Reading Buddy program in action at Goodfellow Public School on January 13th, 2012. She presented a cheque for $3,200 to Jane Boake, Canines in the Classroom instructor, and COPE founder.

Open the PDF to read the news release (pdf, 77KB)

November 2011

George and Susan Cohon are named new patrons of COPE at the annual unleash potential event

On November 28th, 2011, COPE celebrated new life partner/service dog teams and the contributions made by volunteers, sponsors and donors to the success of the service dog training program, Canines in the Classroom.

Although unable to attend in person, George Cohon addresses the audience by video to voice his support of the organization.

Dog Dialogue

COPE Canines in the Classroom Instructor, Lori Johnson, writes a column published in the Barrie Examiner

Student pave way for success of COPE

Go to the Barrie Examiner Web site to read the story

COPE commentary barked out proudly

COPE Canines in the Classroom instructor, Lori Johnson, writes a column published in the Barrie Examiner. Go to the Barrie Examiner Web site to read the story