Our Blog

May 18, 2015

Mary the Marshmallow Lady

Mary, always with a smile on her face!

Three years ago if someone had told me that I'd be spending my days in an office where dog hair is as plentiful as paper clips, I'd have just laughed. The thought that I'd be comfortable going in and out of a maximum security prison and working side by side with inmates on a regular basis had definitely never crossed my mind. And, that this wonderful organization would embrace & save me when I needed it most, was certainly unexpected.

Back to the beginning . . . After 25 years of working in a small, family-owned business in Illinois, I retired. I met Sally thru mutual friends, and knew that she always had at least one dog with her, but I'd never heard of ICAN or knew what the letters represented. I think I spent one week "retired" before Sally contacted me about working with Dino to plan and organize an upcoming event. 

Mary & Dino at the Bake-Off for Puppy Love Valentines

One project/event has led to another, and I'm still here 3 years later. I've met so many wonderful people along the way including the ICAN staff, volunteers, clients & client families. I've fallen in love with more dogs than I can count, and shed an unbelievable amount of tears as I've watched the pups grow up, graduate and go on to increase the quality of life for our clients and their families.

It's no secret that I'll never be able to furlough for any length of time . . . I'm just a pushover where the dogs are concerned, even though I usually make them work for their marshmallow treats!

ICAN has impacted my life in many ways, but I'm not sure that I can ever repay the amount of love and support I received from the staff, board, volunteers, dogs and even the inmate handlers as I dealt with my own personal tragedy. I think you become "family" from the moment you cross the threshold at ICAN and I'm certainly proud to consider them part of my family.

Mary helping serve breakfast at Team Training