During his career as a social worker, Jeffrey brought his love for dogs to his work.
Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Founder of Woods End Kennel,
American Kennel Club Judge
Unique Aspect of a Social Work Education: You are taught theory in the classroom, but then the experience of doing field work allows you to actually apply what you have learned. Field work is a huge component of the learning experience; it enables you to chew, swallow, and remember concepts long-term.
Philosophy: When you graduate, you just begin learning. I’ve been involved in dog breeding for 40 years, written five books, judged all over the world, and I’m still learning. I don’t think it ever stops; life is a learning experience.
Love of Dogs Opens a World of Opportunity
Everyone brings a piece of themselves to their job. During his career as a social worker, Jeffrey Pepper brought his love for dogs to his work.
Fueled by the potential the field held to improve the lives of others, Mr. Pepper embarked on a career in social work after earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Adelphi in 1972. He spent the next eight years working with children in several residential treatment facilities, including Lincoln Hall in Lincolndale, Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry, NY and an emergency diagnostic center for abused children in Westchester County. He treated a range of populations, from children experiencing serious emotional disturbances, to troubled, vulnerable youth.
No matter what difficulties his patients were facing, he discovered one thing they all loved: the company of his dogs, which he brought with him to work each day. These devoted canine companions offered empathy, affection, and emotional security to those who needed it most.
“Kids adore dogs,” he says. “Dogs are loving, giving beings. They don’t care if you’re happy, what you’re wearing, or if you have money; they just want to be with you.”
Mr. Pepper’s involvement with dogs has been life-long: “I grew up with dogs. In my mid-20s I bought a golden retriever, provided it with obedience training, and entered him in Dog Shows,” he recalls. “After being encouraged to put my dog in more shows, I did.” Since that time, he has continued to breed, own, and show pure-bred dogs.
While his passion for these four-legged animals began as a hobby and proved effective in his work as a social worker, eventually it developed into a second career. In 1980, he opened Woods End Kennel, where he provided pick up and delivery, boarding, and grooming services for dogs in the Metropolitan New York area for over 18 years.
Today you can find Mr. Pepper drawing from his four decades of experience in keeping, breeding, handling, and showing dogs in his role as an American Kennel Club judge. He has judged competitions all over the United States, including the Westminster Kennel Club dog show at Madison Square Garden. “Next to the Kentucky Derby, this is the second oldest sporting competition in the United States,” he says.
Mr. Pepper’s expertise is requested at events all over the world; he has judged dog shows in China, New Zealand, Indonesia, Holland, Denmark, Great Britain, South America, Japan, Australia, and Korea. “My work with dogs has permitted me to make friends all over the world. I would never see the world like I am on my own,” he says. “It would be hard to ask for more.”
In addition, Mr. Pepper has written numerous articles featured in Dog World magazine and the AKC Gazette, and has authored four books, with his fifth one currently in the process of being published. Through his educational books on various breeds, he hopes to share his wealth of knowledge with others: “Through my books I hope to provide accurate information about individual breeds,” he says.
Mr. Pepper came to Adelphi in 1970 following a transformative experience working at the summer camp of The Mt. Vernon YM-YWHA. “The camp was run by social workers and educators, and some members of the staff were social work students,” he recalls. “I felt that I was contributing something of value through my work with the kids at the camp,” he recalls.
It was camp director, Dr. Rothman, also a member of Adelphi faculty, who introduced Mr. Pepper to the University. “Each summer for four summers, she urged me to get involved in Adelphi’s School of Social Work program.” Encouraged by his mentor’s advice, he transferred to Adelphi in 1970, where he completed the University’s accelerated program, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work in just two years.
He found himself at home at the University: “Adelphi’s School of Social Work was very welcoming. My professors were deeply committed to both the education and profession of social work, and from my experience, this seems to be very unique,” he says. “The professors I had at Adelphi were particularly good because their passion was evident.”
Since 2002, Mr. Pepper has been enjoying the warm weather and beautiful sunshine that California has to offer. He has one son, two grandchildren, and three Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. While he is semi-retired, these days writing, judging, and traveling serve as both vocation and hobby.
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