husband and I are lucky enough to share our home with two golden retrievers.
Our dogs are not our pets, they are family. We want to make the right
choices for their health, nutrition and lifestyle so that we can extend
their short lives as much as possible. We want to have fun with our dogs,
and we want them to be happy, well-adjusted canine good citizens.
My journey into the world of dogdom seriously began in 1998 when my husband and I brought our first first golden retriever puppy into our life and home. I fell hopelessly in love with this adorable creature and I wanted to know everything I could about raising a healthy, happy, well-adjusted dog. I approach all things with an intellectual curiosity so I immersed myself in learning all about nutrition, wellness, exercise, vaccination protocols, best products on the market and on and on. I was the person back then in 1998 sending my veterinarian articles about pet food and asking questions about ingredients. Thankfully, I had a vet then who wanted to learn along with me and encouraged me to keep asking the questions. My dog-themed book collection and pile of research materials grew and it continues to do so to this day!
I also realized early on with our golden that having a safe, off leash place for him to run and socialize was key to keeping our sanity! "A tired dog is a happy dog" became our mantra. As a result, I worked for one full year in 1998 to research off-leash dog parks throughout the country, even visiting one in California! Told you...I'm a researcher! My research was an inch thick. I had testimonials from national, well-respected trainers and animal behaviorists, supporting the need for off-leash socialization. I had legal issues ironed out; all kinds of issues were addressed. I had enlisted the support of about 15 fellow dog lovers wanting an off-leash park here in Berks County and they were willing to serve as volunteer board members. Our group of volunteers presented our proposal to the Berks County Parks Department and County Commissioners and did not meet with success. I guess the idea was way ahead of it's time. This was 1998, you know. So I put the idea on the back burner channeled my energies into a cause where I could make a difference: breed rescue.
Our love of the golden retriever breed led us to learn about the plight of homeless goldens.
We became volunteers for Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue. (www.dvgrr.org) We took on active roles with the organization: my husband was the Capital Campaign Chairman to raise funds for the organization to purchase the 4 acre facility it sits on today and I served as the adoption team leader for a few years. While trying to place goldens in the best home situation could keep me up at nights some times, the greater part of the postion was truly so joyful-finding a "forever home" for a homeless golden. And being a gardener, I was lucky enough to be able to design and work with a team to install the Rainbow Bridge Memorial Garden at the rescue facility. And yes, we adopted golden souls meant for us from the rescue over these many years-each one a true child in my heart, each one unique, special and truly amazing.
Aas I saw my life change immeasurably by loving and being loved by my dogs, I recognized the power of dogs to truly change lives, and most importantly, mine! I wish I could have learned that lesson sooner in my life. On my life's journey, I obtained a Teaching Degree, a Computer Science Degree and I worked in the field of Information Technology for most of my corporate work life and worked as a computer programmer, software project manager, software quality assurance specialist, and a web content manager.I also did some corporate training, curriculum development and instruction. But by my mid to late 40's, I knew I wanted to work and be around dogs. They are true. They are grounded in the here and now. Their souls are pure. Their loyalty, love, brains, heart, truth, and unwavering affection has taught me so much over the years.
Photo: Me & Jackson Godfrey, our 1st O.G. who crossed Rainbow Bridge January 2010 and is sadly missed by all. He loved being at Godfrey's and greeting and meeting all of you whom he got to know. He comforted many with his quiet presence and the wag and thump of his tail. I love you JG. You were one amazing soul. Thank you for taking the Godfrey's journey with me.
Lake and Charlie Summer 2010
Nicole Weersing, Play Park Co-Ordinator, Canine Conditioning Coach, Sr. Sales Associate and Karen Pryor Certified Instructor for the "Puppy Start Right" Program (June 2015).
Nicole joined our team in June 2011
Hello, my name is Nicole. I am very excited to be a part of the play park, and hopefully seeing you and your dog here when our conditioning and wellness program comes together here at Godfrey's.
I have had a lot of experience working with animals. I worked as an equine technician at Willow Creek Vet Center. I also assisted in animal physical therapy there using the laser, under water treadmill and ultrasound. I have worked as an assistant barn manager and have worked in some canine boarding facilities. I have also worked in retail and customer service.
I was a stay at home mom for many years. Currently, along with working at Godfrey's, I groom King Charles Cavaliers. Here at Godfrey's, I attended a canine Reiki class. Since then I knew I wanted to be a part of the team. I am looking forward to fullfilling my passion for dogs here at Godfrey's. I am fascinated by dogs communicating with us and themselves. I am looking forward to helping our customers make good choices in their dog care. I also am a firm believer that Dog is Family.
More about myself: I got my first dog when I was a child. She was a black lab named Taj. She taught me about unconditional love. I was hooked. My love for dogs had started. I have had many dogs throughout the years from Labs, to Rottweilers, to a Shetland sheepdog, to my English mastiff and then of course my boxers. I lost my first boxer Jaya when he was 9 and my beloved mastiff Sophia at age 3. My boxers names now are Layla Lou and Jasper. My husband and I fell in love with the breed when we were on the Sassafras River and saw a boxer on a jet ski with his life jacket on! We said "We need one of those in our life!" We got Jasper 5 years ago after Jaya had died; there was no life in the house without our boxer. Then shortly after, Sophia passed. Jasper was lonely, we were missing something, so we got Layla. Life was good again.
I have been married for 12 years. I have three children, Riley ,Isabella, and Everett. My children have reached an age where I can start on my path for my passion, which is to be part of a team that is all about the well being of our four legged children. I look forward to helping you with your concerns, diet and over all wellness of your dogs.
Donna Baker, Sales Associate
Donna joined our team in November 2019
Hello Dog Lovers – I’m Donna and I share your passion for the canine species! I’ve been exceptionally lucky to have had much of my professional and volunteer work revolve around dogs, so joining the staff at Godfrey’s feels like a perfect fit. I’m a longtime customer of the shop and have always admired the high-quality products, gifts, and services available here. I love seeing the looks of awe on new customers as they enter and find themselves in such an amazing place!
By way of background, I have a master’s degree in Social Work and originally spent twenty years working for Chester County government in the Aging Services department. Although I haven’t worked in that field for a long time, the values and “people skills” I learned in my social work days have served me well in every job since. There’s a lot of truth in the old adage that to be successful in the dog world, you have to like people as well as dogs!
Donna with her golden, Alli.
My life changed dramatically in 1994, when I filled out a volunteer application to become a foster home for Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue (DVGRR). I was a devoted mom at the time to my own 8-year-old Golden Retriever, Eliza, with whom I had acquired a first-level AKC obedience title (CD) and also vastly improved upon my dog-raising skills (in contrast to my first pup, who suffered through all the rookie mistakes a new dog owner could possibly make). Fostering proved incredibly rewarding, and I was hooked on rescue! Soon I was overseeing the foster home program for DVGRR, editing the newsletter, and assisting on the adoption team. I loved helping the dogs transition to new homes and I loved working with so many other like-minded rescue volunteers. Among those volunteers were Barb and Pat Emmett … yes, our lives first crossed several decades ago!
After leaving social work and spending ten years as a book editor, I was offered a paid position with DVGRR, first as the Adoption Manager/Newsletter Editor, and later as the Education and Community Awareness Manager. Over the next six years, I worked with hundreds of dogs, adopters, and volunteers, while thoroughly expanding my knowledge of canine behavior, training, and health care. In my last year at DVGRR, I had great fun writing a blog called the Golden Nose Nudge. It’s still available to read online – take a look!
While rescue will always “be in my blood,” I’ve also had a life-long fascination with service dogs and a strong desire to work in that field. In 2013, my desire became reality when I was hired by Canine Partners for Life (CPL), a service dog program based in Cochranville, PA. There I initially helped care for litters of puppies born through CPL’s Labrador Retriever breeding program. This was quite a switch for me – an ardent lover of senior dogs – but I adored every minute of it. Later I became the Volunteer Manager for CPL and in that role, I interviewed new volunteers, conducted volunteer dog handling classes, and matched volunteers with available tasks. I spent four wonderful years at CPL before retiring in 2017 and turning to part-time work instead.
My life has been graced with the love of eight amazing canine souls, most of them senior rescues through DVGRR. Besides Benjie (first dog) and Eliza (first Golden), I’ve shared my heart and home with Bailey, Hobo, Tyler, Morgan, and Alli (shown in beach picture), all Goldens now at the Rainbow Bridge. My current dog is Charlie, a silly, sweet Labrador/Golden mix who was abused when young and who has lots of trust issues with new people. Charlie keeps me on my toes but I’m so grateful for the chance to enrich his life, just as he does mine. There is nothing like the joy of earning a big canine smile, wiggly butt, and wagging tail!
Marcy Orozco, Sales Associate.
Marcy joined our team in October 2015.
As of August 2019, Marcy is currently home, healing from a major health incident. We wish her well and pray for a speedy and complete recovery.
Hi! My name is Marcy, I am a dog mom to two fabulous Westies - Simone, 8 1/2 year old female rescue - and Luna, 4 (almost 5) year old female.... They are my heart and soul.
Simone was 6 months old when she was rescued from a Pennsylvania
puppy mill and nursed back to health by the Animal Rescue League. She had many diseases, kennel cough, ear mites and was extremely under nourished. Despite her first 6 months of neglect, Simone was a happy puppy and continues to greet everyone with a wagging tail and love. She was one of 60 puppies that were given a second chance at life. Over 800 applicants applied that winter in hopes of adopting one of the puppies. After believing that all the puppies had found new homes, one cold, dreary Sunday in December 2007, we got a call congratulating us on our new member of the family. She was the best Christmas gift anyone could have given us!! Simone is currently a happy, healthy dog that brings so much love to our life each and every day. Luna, my youngest fur baby is a bundle of energy and a typical Westie. She has enriched our lives more than I ever could have imagined and is a loyal companion to Simone. Together they scout the neighborhood, chase squirrels and protect each other always. They truly are sisters.
Along with Simone and Luna, I also share my home with Alfredo, my husband of 12 years. Together we have traveled the country and even lived in California for a period of time. Now that we are back and settled in Mt. Penn, I am so excited to be full-filling a dream of mine to work with dogs. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a dog by my side. I was lucky enough to always have a dog as a member of the family, whether it was a pure bred or a rescued mutt, every one of my dogs were an amazing part of my life and showed me unconditional love.
For over twenty years I was a professional graphic designer and earned a Bachelors degree in Art. It is my life’s passion to create beautiful things, whether it be through photography, interior decorating, a simple print design or taking on a full magazine layout. I continue to design as a freelancer from my home, but over the years I have felt a need to get out from behind my desk and seek new adventures... my background in design and my love for dogs has led me to Godfrey’s! I look forward to helping humans and their pets for many years to come, and hopefully bring a touch of creative flair to the Dogdom that is Godfrey’s!
Alfredo Orozco, Inventory Stock Assistant and Sales Floor Assistant
Alfredo joined our team in 2018.
Hello, my name is Alfredo. I am a proud Westie Dad of Simone and Luna that I share with my wife, and Godfrey shop girl, Marcy. I started at Godfrey’s as a part-time stock hand/helper on Tuesday’s after working at my full-time job. I also help out in the shop on Sundays with Marcy. And, you guys also know me as the shop mascot!!!
Pat Emmett KPA CTP, Training Program Manager and Instructor
Pat is a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior and is a Certified Training Partner of the Karen Pryor Academy (KPA-CTP). As a Certified Training Partner, Pat has taken the Karen Pryor Academy Pledge. Retired as President of his company after 37+ years in food production and distribution services, Pat began taking a more active role at Godfrey's, working alongside his wife, Barb, the owner of Godfrey's-Welcome to Dogdom. He immediately saw a need to assist families assimilate a new dog as a valuable member of the family unit. His passion and interest in helping them took off.
Having a love of dogs goes way back for Pat. He was raised in a home where dachshunds
ruled-both his parents and grandparents cherished the breed. When it was time for him and Barb to bring a dog into their young married life, they chose an english springer spaniel, named him Casey, and he lived a long and happy life with them. Along the way, they had great cats, too, who shared their home. In 1998, their first golden retriever, Tucker, came into their lives. Life was busy keeping up with Tucker! Training classes, hikes, tons of walks, park runs, etc. Love of the breed, love of dogs, and their adoption of another golden retriever, led him to become involved with a local rescue group, Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue (DVGRR). Wanting to help the organization grow, he took a position on their Board, serving over 7 years, and co-chaired the capital campaign to raise money needed to purchase a permanent shelter facility on Vera Cruz Road in Reinholds. DVGRR met their goal in 9 months! During the early days of rescue work at the new facility, Pat took many shifts, working with the rescue goldens. Many times you could find him in a kennel run with a kind but scared golden, coaxing and encouraging the dog and slowly working on building trust. As the organization grew and volunteers learned the ropes, he continued on the Board until he was needed to help at Godfrey's! Pat and Barb remain members of the DVGRR organization.
Knowing how therapy dogs can comfort others and literally change lives for the better, and wanting to do more with his own dogs, he pursued obtaining therapy dog certification. In 2012, he enrolled in a therapy dog orientation session run by Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services (www.kpets.org), and in no time at all, he and Lake were certified as a Therapy Dog Team! They continue to make monthly visits to a local adult community center and help out at other KPETS events.
Pat and and his wife Barb reside with two English Cream Golden Retrievers, Lake and Charlie. Charlie was adopted from DVGRR as were 3 of their previous goldens. Pat is a graduate of Wilson High School, Shippensburg State College, and is an active Private Pilot. He also enjoys playing racquetball.
Gloria Meek, Sales Associate
Gloria, a retired RN, is a long time dear friend who thankfully helps us out from time to time. She especially likes meeting all the dogs that come into the shop and helping them find the perfect harness for them. She also keeps us on our toes changing visual displays as the seasons change!
01/2018: Barb Emmett,"Honorable Mention" Essay winner, in professional publication: "Magic Can Happen" Editor's note: This is one of three honorable mention winners in the Pets+ essay contest. Pet-industry professionals submitted essays in response to the prompt, “Tell us the story of your single greatest day in business.”. Read the essay here.
12/2015: Godfrey's Donates Concolor Fir Tree to the City of Reading. Our second fir tree was donated to
Immaculata University to grace their beautiful rotunda on campus.
05/2015: Pet Age Magazine We are the business featured in their "Community Retail Corner"
This is a B2B publication for pet businesses.
07/2014: Happy 10th Anniversary, Godfrey's!
11/2011: Dog and His Ghostwriter Visit Berks
07/2010: We were featured in "The Good Life" magazine supplement in the Lancaster newspaper
11/2008: Voted a 2008 "Reader's Choice Award" favorite pet boutique by Greater Philly Tails
Pet Magazine readers.
11/12/2006: "Shops that Pop" (PDF)
Reading Eagle-Business Section newspaper article.
Godfrey's named a "Shop that Pops" by national retail expert, Pamela Danziger from
Reading Eagle-Business Section newspaper article
Opportunities at Godfrey's
Come visit our shop in the beautiful countryside of Berks County.