Yearly Indiana Canine Assistant Network (ICAN) Puppy Love Valentines are a longstanding tradition among many families, friends, and coworkers.
Among those are the mother-daughter duo Angela Wethington and Roni Bird, who will celebrate eight years of exchanging puppy love this month.
However, their yearly tradition began unexpectedly.
Angie, the daughter, first received an ICAN Puppy Love Valentine from a colleague. She enjoyed the delivery so much that she decided to send one to her mother, Roni, the following year.
Little did they know that they both had the same idea. The same year, Roni saw a news advertisement for ICAN Puppy Love Valentines and sent one to her daughter as a surprise Valentine and birthday gift since Angie’s birthday falls on February 13.
Angie called her mother after receiving her delivery first, coyly talking about the fun surprise. Within an hour, an ICAN dog in training showed up at Roni’s door with her very own Valentine.
“It was completely serendipitous,” both said.
Angie and Roni are reminded of just how many years they have participated in the unique art pieces made by the incarcerated handlers and the dogs in training displayed in their homes.
They make sure to send their deliveries to Angie’s commercial real estate office and Roni’s office supply store so that the staff can enjoy the puppy love, too.
Roni shared, “My employees watch the windows all morning waiting for that car to pull up. It has become such a cherished moment that a few of them have been inspired to volunteer with ICAN.”
Angie added, “We love that our gift is multi-purpose. Not only are we supporting ICAN and local business sponsors, but the volunteer making the deliveries has a chance to educate our co-workers and spread ICAN’s mission even further.”
Those interested in supporting ICAN’s mission, like Angie and Roni, can order a Puppy Love Valentine through February 8.
Boxes are priced between $50 and $75 and vary based on whether the box is picked up from the ICAN office, delivered in person by a service dog in training, or shipped to a loved one’s home.
Each order includes a handwritten note from an incarcerated ICAN handler, chocolates, collectible coasters, greeting cards, magnets, and more. Puppy Love Valentines are sponsored by local businesses like Endangered Chocolate Species, Zachary’s Confections, Inc., CoasterStone, and Three Dog Bakery.
This year, boxes can be delivered to homes, businesses, or schools within 35 miles of ICAN’s office in Zionsville. Deliveries can also be made in Fort Wayne in support of ICAN’s Veteran Services Division.