Q: How much time do the inmates spend with the dogs?
A: They spend each day together. The dogs live right in the cell with the inmates. When the inmate handlers are at work or meals, the dogs are crated inside the cells. When the inmates are not at work or meals, they can usually be found outside walking and training the dogs, playing in the doggie yard, doing training sessions in their cell or just spending time with their HOPE dog.
Q: How does it work when the dogs have to go to the bathroom?
A: The inmates try to keep the dogs to a set schedule of bathroom times. However, that doesn't always work out and they signal to the correctional officers who then open their cell and allow the inmate and the dog to go take care of business.
Q: What are the dogs learning and who is teaching them?
A: The dogs and handlers participate in weekly training sessions with a professional dog behaviorist. During these sessions they go over material learned during the previous sessions, questions and concerns that have come up throughout the week and new material to be worked on for the next week. The training includes basic commands, socialization with other dogs and people, grooming, health concerns and behavior modifications. The trainer and the HOPE volunteers also assist each pair of inmates as they work through the issues that are unique to their dog.
Q: How can I adopt a HOPE dog?
A: You can start by reading the diaries of each dog to decide which one you think may be a good fit for you. Once you've decided, click on the application link on the dog's page and it will be forwarded directly to the sponsoring rescue. They will review the application, check personal references, check a veterinarian reference and conduct a home visit. Although exceptions are made occasionally, we generally keep our adoption within a two-hour radius of the Camp Hill area to accommodate the training and support promises made as part of the HOPE adoption agreement.
Q: Will I have to do any training when I adopt a HOPE dog?
A: Yes. The dogs are all very well trained, but are used to dealing with their individual handlers. As with people, there will be a transition period while you and your dog get to know each other. It is highly recommended that you enroll in a training session with your dog. Not only does this continue the learning for your pup, but it also offers an opportunity for you and your dog to bond and learn more about each other. Training referrals are provided upon adoption.
Q: If the dogs are homeless, why do you charge an adoption fee?
A: Each participating rescue provides the dogs with proper veterinary care, necessary medications, food, spay/neuter surgery and lots of TLC. In addition there are basic costs of running the HOPE program. Although we are very fortunate to receive generous donations, there are still many expenses involved in the work of rescuing, training and ultimately adopting homeless animals. Adoption fees help to defray these costs and allow the rescues to keep doing this wonderful work!