In 1999, Valerie and Brian Cooper started Cooperslane Kennels. They bought a 50 acre farm outside of Arthur that had lots of potential but needed lots of work. They renovated the old farmhouse, built a beautiful kennel and started working toward their dream of breeding Labrador Retrievers.
From the very beginning, the focus of the Cooperslane breeding program has been to breed the best possible family companions and service dogs. We believe that health and temperament are the most important qualities for companion and service dogs, and so we make these characteristics our highest priorities when selecting dogs for our breeding program and planning our litters. We value good looks too, but appearance is a lower priority for us than health and temperament.
In 2018, Valerie and Brian were ready to retire and pass the torch to their niece Jennifer. Jennifer is an avid animal lover and is passionate about continuing on the Cooperslane legacy of breeding Labrador Retrievers to be amazing family pets and service dogs.
I grew up on a hobby farm and have been passionate about animals for my entire life. My educational background is in psychology. I have worked with children and adults with autism in many different settings. One of my clients had a service dog, and through working with him I was able to see firsthand the great benefits that a service dog can provide. I first became serious about working with dogs when my husband and I started volunteering together at an animal shelter in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As part of that experience, we helped with a therapy dog program, assisting with training dogs to become service dogs and taking dogs from the shelter for therapy visits in the community. Now at Cooperslane, I get to combine all of my passions, working with all our amazing puppy families and our wonderful dogs.
Life at the kennel
Our dogs are our family. Their care and well-being are our highest priorities. Our kennel is heated and air conditioned and we have full-time staff to help us maintain the kennel and care for the dogs. Our dogs always have access to their outdoor pens, so they can go outside whenever they want. We also have a couple of acres fenced in for them (their own dog park!) and they get out for off leash exercise and playtime every day. Our dogs are very well socialized with people and other dogs.
Our males live full time with us at the kennel and for our females, we have a fostering program. They live with their foster families as family pets and come back to us when they are in season and to have their puppies. When they retire from the breeding program, they go to live with their foster family full time.
All expectant mothers are brought into our house 10 days before whelping, so that we can monitor them and provide some extra love and care. The pups are born in our nursery, which is in our house. They stay in the nursery until they are five weeks old. We then move them to our kennel, where they are socialized in a lively environment with other dogs, our family and staff, and visitors to the kennel.