Lela Lofton, the volunteer coordinator for Canine Performance Sciences, was recently selected as a recipient of the 2016 Women of Distinction Award from the Auburn University Women’s Center.
Lofton received the award at a luncheon during the 2016 Women’s Leadership Conference.
“It’s very humbling; there are many other women who have done bigger and better things to deserve an award like this, but I’m grateful that someone felt my efforts warranted recognition,” Lofton said.
Each year, the Women of Distinction Awards recognizes an undergraduate student, graduate student, faculty member, staff member, and alumna who “lead with courage, creating innovative solutions, while inspiring and uplifting her community.”
Lofton was nominated by Dr. Jim Floyd, CPS’ program advisor and former interim director.
“The increase [in the number] of volunteers since Lela joined CPS would be enough to show what a difference she has made, but that’s only part of the story,” Dr. Floyd said. “She spends quality time with each person who expresses an interest in volunteering, making sure they understand the process and commitment required. Most importantly, she is a welcoming face to all who are interested in CPS or want to know more about the program and our animals. She takes part in virtually every public event we have.
“Her dedication has been invaluable. I don’t see how we could operate without her.”
Lofton first began volunteering at CPS in 2014 after moving to Auburn from Louisiana. She and her husband, Dr. Robert Lofton, retired from their veterinary private practice, and Lofton was considering how to spend her post-retirement years.
Her husband joined the faculty of the college as an assistant clinical professor in the Auburn University Veterinary Clinic, and Dean Calvin Johnson referred Lela to CPS and Dr. Floyd.
Since Lofton joined the program, CPS has expanded and thrived, in large part due to Lofton’s leadership. When she first began, there were about five volunteers, who assisted with the training and care of CPS dogs in the program. Today, she is responsible for managing the scheduling and workload for 35 volunteers.
The mission of CPS is to continually improve animal detection science and technology through research, education and outreach to serve and defend the nation and society. Some of their key programs include the Canine Detection Research Institute, the Metcalf Veterinary Sports Medicine Program, the EcoDogs program, and the CPS Breeding Program.
To learn more about CPS, click here.
(Written by Ed Brown)