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Russo is being sponsored by CPAA.  He joined HOPE on January 14, 2022.  He is a 2-3 year old Great Dane/Cane Corso mix and is 110 lbs.  He prefers female dogs, and can be selective with male dogs.  He currently needs some help learning to walk nicely on a leash, but already knows a few basic cues.  Even though his previous home neglected him, he still LOVES people, including kids, and loves to cuddle!

12/11/2022 Hey guys!  Remember me???  Well, I’ve been with my foster home for about 2 weeks and they’re really great!  I kinda stressed them out the first few days I was there because I was a nervous wreck.  I may be a big guy but I’m a delicate flower, ya know!  They’ve been taking REALLY good care of me though, so don’t you worry about me.  

This past weekend HOPE took me out to an event that raised a lot of money for a variety of charities, including HOPE.  Everyone kept telling me that I was a great mascot for HOPE and I got A LOT of attention.  As you can see, it was exhausting!  I slept the whole way back home to my foster family, but as soon as I saw them, I ran right to them and drug them back into the house because I was so happy to be back home.  Its hard work being a mascot!

11/25/2022  As you probably know, Russo left last week to go to a foster home so he could recover from his surgery.  The prison was not a good environment to do that.  I miss him so much!

All of the other HOPE dogs have been in my cell trying to console me and looking for Russo.  Even Rocco.  Tank tries to come in my cell every time he passes by it to look for his best buddy.  Hazel runs into my cell, jumps right up on the bed, and sniffs the covers like she’s asking “Where’s Russo?”  Roxy comes in and the first place she looks is Russo’s food bowl to see if there’s anything there.

I’ve been working with all of the dogs this week, helping out.  I worked most of all with Tank, making sure he is ready for his home visit.  He is.

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving.  I sure hope Russo got some turkey.

11/18/2022   My poor boy has been through the ringer.  He’s endured recent cancer surgery and is still recovering.  The surgeries he’s been through have not dampened his spirit, however.  He’s still the same, sweet dog I know and love.

Since it has been difficult for him to recover properly in here, he moved to a foster home on Friday.  The forever home we thought we had wasn’t right, because they had cats and he thinks they are toys to put in his mouth.  The foster home also has a cat and a small dog, so we desperately need to find another foster home for him without cats or small dogs.  He does great with dogs 30 pounds or larger.  Heck, one of his best friends in here was Libby, who was a 30 pound puppy!

Please keep Russo in your prayers that he will find a foster home and recover completely from his surgery.

11/11/2022   Russo had a very big week!  First, he met a family that wants to adopt him.  They fell in love with him, and I think the feeling was mutual.  Russo will have another meet with them soon to see if he and the family’s dog are compatible.

Russo also had surgery on Tuesday to remove some lumps from his legs.  The lumps turned out to be a low grade cancer, but the vet got clear margins so all is well.  The HOPE folks took Russo to an oncologist who recommended no further treatment.  Good news!

Russo has been such a trooper through all of his health issues.  None of what he has been through has changed his sweet personality or phased him one bit.

Tank visited Russo in his cell to help Russo learn to share his personal space.  Russo stayed on my bed looking at Tank, and wasn’t bothered by him being in the cell at all.

Fingers crossed that this wonderful home works for my boy.  He is such a great dog and only deserves the best!

11/04/2022   Russo had a great week–he was such a good boy.  He did great with his training all week and was quite the social butterfly.  We were mostly hanging out with everyone.  He loves to go say hi to everyone to see if they will give him treats.  My boy LOVES his treats.  He also loves butt scratches, and he got a lot of those too.

We also hung out with Roxy.  Russo is funny.  He’ll say hello to her and then turn his back and sit down like he’s guarding her.  She will whine for him to come pay attention to her, and he just watches her like the king that he is.  This week he shared his ball with her.  THAT was monumental for him!

10/28/2022   My journal entry this week isn’t going to be as much about me as this sweet chickadee named Roxy that just joined our pack.  I call her “Foxy Roxy” because she sure caught my eye.  We go on walks together, but we both act like the other one isn’t there.  Both of us are playing hard to get.  If Roxy stops, I stop to make sure she is okay and that no one messes with her.  Hey, we real men need to look out for and protect our ladies!  We go out to the exercise yard and meet briefly at the fence, then Roxy will move away,  but when I move away, she comes back to the fence and whines for me.  When I come back she runs off!  She really is playing with my emotions, LOL.  I love going outside with her though.  She and Tank are my best buddies.

10/21/2022  Russo had a big week meeting tour groups from Oklahoma prisons and playing with Tank, along with doing his training homework, but I have to tell you about his vet trip on Thursday.  Our new counselor came to get him to take him out of the prison to meet the HOPE volunteers, so they could take him to his vet appointment.  Russo left with her and out the door they went.  The next thing I knew he was back at my cell door.  He got to the first gate and said “oh hell no” and dragged her back to my cell.  So, I got Russo and a correctional officer he knows, and we got him through the main gate and off he went with the HOPE volunteers.

When Russo came back into the prison, he didn’t want to leave his favorite HOPE volunteer, but the other counselor was able to get him back into the prison.  As soon as he got through the main gate and saw me, it was on.  He ran straight to me.  He was by my side the rest of the day and even slept next to me that night, with his paw over my chest and his head resting on my arm.  Russo loves who he loves and is not afraid to show it.  It is so nice in here to have someone show you that love.  Russo is such a GREAT dog!

10/14/2022  It’s taken nine months, but Russo finally has some male dog friends!  Up until now, he’s just been a ladies’ man.  I am very happy to announce that that Russo now has two new buddies named Bruno and Tank.  Russo really likes Bruno.  They run the fence together, Bruno will rub up against the fence, and Russo licks him all over.  I don’t think that Bruno has one spot of fur that Russo hasn’t licked.  Their tails were wagging 100 mph.  They even got to play on leash and both loved it.

This is such a HUGE moment for Russo.  Up until now, he only liked female dogs, but he liked both of these guys right away.  He even sits and waits for Bruno to come in from the yard so they can walk into the building together.

10/07/2022  Hi everyone!  I’m still here, doing my best to earn my parole.  I’ve been passing out luvs and kisses like there’s no tomorrow.

I sure didn’t like all of the rain this past week.  Yuck.  It really messed with my playing time with my blue ball that I really love.  Let me tell you, I don’t do the rain.  I love baths, but cold rain, oh heck NO!

I’ve tried to play with Rocco this week, but I don’t think he likes me very much.  Hey, I tried.  I sure do miss my main squeeze, Nova.  I am really glad that she found her forever home, but boy do I miss her.

Well, my dad just asked me if I want to go outside.  I know what that means.  I gotta go.  It’s play time!  My blue ball is calling my name.  Woo hoo!

09/30/2022   Hi everyone!  I had a really fun week.  Not only did I get to show off for a while bunch or people who came in to see Rocco and me, but I got to play outside with my dad and uncles A LOT!  We played with my tug rope and Jolly Ball.  I LOVE my Jolly Ball.  My dad and uncles were playing “keep away” with me.  They would throw the ball back and forth, and I would run after it to try to catch it.  Don’t feel sorry for me because I won in the end!  When I got the ball, I was playing keep away from all of them!  And I made them give me a treat to get the ball back.  So it was a win/win for me.  Plus, I’m getting back in shape after my heartworm treatment and losing some weight.  Let me tell you, dieting sticks!

09/23/2022   Hi everyone!  It’s me, Russo, Rus, RuRu.  Man, I’m so tired this week.  Ever since I got the all clear from my heartworm treatment, my dad and my uncles have been exercising the bejeebees out of me.  I can’t complain, though, because it is so much fun!  I get to play with my Jolly Ball and my blue ball all the time.  The Jolly Ball I can catch, the blue ball not so much.  It keeps rolling away from me.  It’s too big for me to get my teeth around, but that doesn’t stop me from trying!  One good thing about all this running around is that I am losing some of the weight that I put on during my heartworm treatment from the prednisone and having to remain inactive.  My dad is on a diet too.  Being on a diet sucks because I really like to eat!  :o)

09/16/2022  Russo is sad this week.  All of his girlfriends got adopted–Nova, Libby, Lacey, and Pixie.  Russo misses Nova the most–she was his main squeeze.

Since he got the “all clear” from his heartworm treatment, Russo is allowed to resume his normal activity.   We’ve had a blast playing ball, wrestling, or just laying around, watching everyone, and being nosy.  :o)

Russo gained 20 pounds while he was on his heartworm treatment from the prednisone and the fact that he could not be active during the treatment, so we are working to get that weight off.  Trust me, he doesn’t like being on a diet anymore than I do with this Covid weight, lol.

Russo spent some time in the day room seeking attention from the other inmates.  He loves people and loves back massages.  When he’s done soliciting attention, he lays on the floor and “frog splashes” his legs.  It’s so cute.

His new thing is trying to take my spot on the bed and laying his head on my pillow.  He’ll just look at me like, “What?”

09/09/2022  I am THRILLED to let everyone know that Russo’s bloodwork was clear of all Heartworms!!! I am so happy for my boy. It was a long road of oral medications for months, as well as three high powered injections that he had to be sedated for, but it worked!!!  Russo is Heartworm free!

Each week that passes, Russo returns to more of his old self, like he was before his Heartworm treatment began.  This past week, he was playing with his gal-pals Nova, Lacey, and Libby.  What can I say?  Russo is a ladies’ man!  He’s been giving kisses out to everyone, and he even wants to wrestle with me again.

The hardest part of his Heartworm treatment was keeping him calm and relaxed all the time and not letting him run and play like he liked to.  Now, he has gotten a little lazy and laid back, but he is slowly remembering his old self.  He’ll get back there!

Russo didn’t learn anything new this week, we just worked on maintaining the many commands and tricks that he already knows.

09/02/2022   Russo and Libby went to the vet this week together.  Libby had an upset stomach, and Russo had to get a blood test to see if he is cleared from Heartworm.  We’ll get his results soon.  Libby was a little anxious, but with Russo by her side, she was fine.  Russo showed her the way!  Libby was by his side on the way out of and back into the prison, every step of the way.  Russo kept checking on Libby to make sure she was okay.

I worked on Russo’s “stay” duration and distance with increasing success.  We also worked on “pose.”  He did pretty well!

I am at a TOTAL loss as to why no one has applied to foster or adopt Russo.  He is dog selective, so he DOES get along with some dogs, although he can’t live with cats as he is too curious about them, and might hurt them without really intending to.  He is very smart, loving, knows many commands, and so chill!  He is happy to go for walks, but he loves being by your side and a couch potato.  Isn’t there someone who will open their heart and home to this gentle giant?  I love this guy so much, but he really needs a home to call his own.  COME ON, PEOPLE!

08/26/2022   Russo is back from his five day furlough.  I’m told he had quite the adventure.  All I can tell you is that when he came walking back through that front gate, and I said “Russo,” he looked and saw me and just took off.  His escort dropped the leash and Russo hauled his big butt just as fast as he could to me.  He showered me with hugs and kisses and sat his big tail right in my lap.  Then he led us back through the prison to our block and right to my cell.  He knew exactly where he was going.  Nova was extremely happy to see him, too.  Russo picked up right where he left off.  That’s my boy!

08/19/2022  I am happy to report that Russo is being paroled today. He is going to a Halfway House (aka foster home). He doesn’t have his forever home just yet, but I have a good feeling that it may turn into that once his foster family sees what a great dog he is.

It is a happy day for me, but a sad one too. I am going to miss Russo immensely! The change in Russo from when I got him on January 14, 2022 to now has been nothing short of remarkable. He has been playing with Lacey, Libby, Nova, and Dozer this week. If other dogs are in the yard, he wants to be with them. If not, he wants to come back inside. He has been a social butterfly this week with everyone.
It has been a GREAT pleasure working with him and loving him.

08/12/2022  Russo continues to recover well from his final round of heartworm treatment.  He’s back to his old, goofy self.  Today, after Russo showed off for a tour group that came through the block, I took Russo outside and put his ball into the doggie pool.  It was so funny watching him try to get the ball off the bottom of the pool.  Russo looked like a cat, pawing at the water.  When that didn’t work, he stepped into the pool and tried to drink the water away.  When that didn’t work, he stepped out and tried to use his head to push the pool over.  When that didn’t work, he bit the top of the pool and tried to drag it away.  I stopped him at this point, and handed him the ball.  As soon as I gave it to him, he dropped it and walked away.  He makes me laugh.  I am really going to miss this big lug when he goes to his foster home on August 19.

08/05/2022  Hi everyone! It’s Russo’s dad.  Russo received his last Heartworm killing injection on Wednesday.  The vet office took really good care of him, and let him stay there all day so he could get fluids and pain medication. He really has been a champ through the entire treatment regimen, which I know has not been easy for him.

Libby was playing with Russo this week out in the play yard.  As Libby loves to do, she was nipping at his back legs.  Russo was very tolerant of her, as she’s just a puppy.  But, after a point, he had had enough.  So, Russo sat down right on her head.  It was so funny!  That ended Libby’s nipping!

I had a personal tragedy this week.  My brother passed away.  As badly as Russo was feeling after getting the Heartworm treatment, he knew I was upset.  He climbed in bed with me and nuzzled me.  We comforted each other.  Russo is an amazing dog.  He will do great and bring much love to the home that is lucky enough to adopt him!

07/29/2022   I had an exciting week.  Some of the other handlers worked and socialized with me, and I did well with all of them.  I also had a home visit with a nice family who wants to foster me.  I really liked them.  I felt comfortable right away in their home and plopped myself right on the sofa and took a nap.  I may be big, but I am a super chill guy!

I finish up my heartworm treatment on Wednesday, and if all goes well, I will probably be going to my foster home next week so that another dog in need can have my spot in the HOPE program.  My dad taught me so much.  I am really going to miss him.  But, it looks like I will have a new family to love and love me back.  I really hope they decide to make me a permanent part of their family, but don’t tell them I said that!

07/22/2022  Hi everyone!  It’s Russo’s dad.  I wanted to tell you about something Russo did this week that had me laughing.  We were out back in the big yard that has picnic tables.  It was me, Russo, Pixie, some of the other handlers, and Libby.  I was practicing Russo’s “load up” command, gave him the command, and tapped on the picnic table.  See jumped right up and was so proud of himself.  He was smiling and posing like Mufasa  on Pride Rock from The Lion King.  Well, Libby thought she was a big girl and jumped up there with him.  She started jumping on him and playing, and Russo was very tolerant.  Then, he decided he was going to play “king of the mountain.”  Russo took his head and pushed Libby off the table.  Undeterred, Libby jumped right back up and Russo pushed her off again.  She tried to get back up, and with the biggest smile on his face, he used his paw to keep her from getting back up on the table.  She kept circling around the bottom of the table, and Russo kept circling on top of it.  We were all laughing so hard.  Russo was so proud of himself!

Russo did very well with all of his commands this week and has been great with Libby and Dozer.  As long as a dog doesn’t challenge Russo, he is fine with them.

07/15/2022   Hi everyone!  I’m feeling great and back to my old self.  I had a home visit last week, but the family did not want to adopt me.  They said there was “no connection” because I didn’t make a fuss all over them.   The HOPE ladies tried to tell them that I am reserved when I first meet new people, but they didn’t want to hear it.  It was very hurtful that they wouldn’t even give me a chance, but they probably weren’t the right home for me anyway.  Heck, if someone isn’t willing to give me a chance, then what will they do if I do something wrong?

I just know there is a home out there who will love me for who I am.  I have been with my dad for six months now, and EVERY day when he comes home from work I greet him with hugs and kisses!  Once I trust you, I will be your best friend.  I will want to go everywhere with you.  I will be right by your side.  I will protect you like you protect me.  I will love you just as much as you love me.  You just need to take your time with me.  I promise, you won’t be disappointed!  All I need is a chance to show you what a great dog I am.  FYI–I can be bribed with cheese sticks!

07/08/2022  Hi everyone!  I’ve been feeling down the past couple of weeks, but I’m finally feeling better.  I got my stitches out of my lip from when I ran into the fence, and finally got rid of the muzzle I had to wear to protect my lip while it was healing.  Yay!  I also got my first heartworm injection this week.  That really kicked my butt for the first couple of days, but now I am feeling much better.  I have two more injections to go then I will be done with the heartworm treatment.  My next injections are August 2 and 3.

I felt so much better this week that I protected my little friend, Libby.  A guard came up to Libby that she didn’t know, and she was scared.  I stood between her and the guard so that Libby would not be scared.  Then Libby crawled underneath me.  I told the guard he’d need to come back later to meet Libby and he left.  Libby was so happy that she then climbed all over me and licked my face and ears.  I took it for awhile, but then I told her I had had enough of that!  Don’t worry, I was nice about it–I just stood up and shook her off, and moved away a little bit then laid down.  She’s just a puppy, after all.  She has so much to learn!  LOL.

I also spent quality time with Dozer this week.  I have a home visit on Saturday with some potential adopters.  They have a Boxer mix just like Dozer so my dad is trying to get me ready for it.   I hope their dog is just like Dozer.  Wish me luck!!!


07/01/2022   Russo’s muzzle is healing well!  We switched him from the cone of shame to a basket muzzle, because he really hated the cone.  The basket muzzle protects the incision, but still allows him to eat and drink.  He has learned that he can “muzzle punch” you if you don’t take the muzzle off so he can play.  He can be quite insistent!  Libby can’t figure out what the muzzle is and likes to offer Russo help in removing it. He just stands there and lets her try.  He loves Libby and will let her climb all over him.  We are very careful as he is still recovering, but we do let them have some brief interactions.  Overall, Russo is doing so well.  See is STILL searching for his forever home!

Gold Stars–Russo did really well with muzzle training.  He wears it the entire time I am at work because I can’t keep an eye on him.

06/24/2022   Hi everyone!  It’s Russo’s dad.  Russo is taking a break recovering.  He’s had one heck of a week.  I got hurt in an accident last Friday night, and Russo did too.  He injured his muzzle, splitting his upper lip in two, all the way up to his nose.  We both ended up in the hospital.  While I was in the hospital, Russo stayed with one of his uncles until I got back, and when I did, he was SO glad to see me!  When I got back from the hospital, it was Russo’s turn to go the hospital to have his lip repaired.  He was really loopy when he got back from the anesthesia, so he slept a lot when he returned.  But by the next day, he was back to his old self. He doesn’t like the cone of shame, but he’s adjusting.

This poor dog has been through so much.  Yet, he is still as sweet as can be.  He still has some battles to fight as his finishes his heartworm treatment, but he is a fighter, and I know he will be just fine.

I know Russo’s vet bills aren’t cheap, so if anyone would like to donate to HOPE to help my boy, we all here at the prison would sure appreciate it.   The HOPE program is so dedicated–they never give up on any dog.  Russo is a testament to that.  He is worth every penny–all of our dogs are.  Thank you for your support!

06/17/2022 Hey people, what’s up? It’s your boy, Russo.  I’ve got something I need to relay to you all.  When I was sentenced to prison, I only got 6-13 weeks.  I’ve done all my programs.  I haven’t gotten into any trouble.  I’ve gone through some Behavior Modification Training.  I will make someone a GREAT companion!  All I need is a home plan.  I’ve thought a few times that I would have had one by now, but they’ve all fallen through.  I am so much more than when I came to prison, I’m a different dog!  All I need is a chance to prove it.  With my dad and HOPE as my guides, I’ve worked really hard to change my ways and I’ve learned lots of new things.

When I came to the prison I really only knew sit.  Now I know over 40 different cues!  I learn fast and I will be dedicated to my future family!  All you have to do is give me a chance to show you.  I’ve been here for 22 weeks now, and I’m hoping that my future family is reading this and wanting to adopt me soon!

06/10/2022  What’s up peeps?  It’s me, Russo!  I had a great week!  I finished round one of my heartworm treatment and am feeling great!  I even got to go on an outing to Benny’s Pet Depot with some of my HOPE friends for a meet and greet event with the public.   It was fun, but I was so glad to see my dad when I got back!   We had some guests on the cell block this week and I did some tricks for them, but then I laid down on the cement floor because it felt so nice and cool.  I really don’t like this hot weather!  That’s all from me for this week.  See ya next week!

06/03/2022   Russo had a very chill week.  It has been very hot and Russo LOVES the air conditioning.  If there is a spot of shade when we are outside, he will find it and lay right down.  He seems to like to lay in the dirt as opposed to the grass, probably because it is cooler.  We’re hoping to get a doggie pool soon.  If we do, I know Russo will be the first one in!

05/27/2022    Russo is clearly one of the BEST dogs.  He NEEDS his forever home!  Come on, people!

This week, Russo decided to sleep on the floor next to my bed in his stack of blankets.  However, around 11 pm, I felt my blanket being pulled off and when I opened my eyes, it was Russo, slowly pulling my blanket off onto HIS bed, hoping he would not wake me up!  So, I decided to share my blanket with him, and he went right back to sleep.

Russo does so many things that make me smile and laugh.  He is truly a GREAT DOG!

05/20/2022  Hi everyone!  It’s me, Russo.  Not much to tell you this week.  I’m still on cell restriction due to my ongoing Heartworm treatment.  I still get to go outside to potty and lay in the sun and shade, but I don’t get to play with my doggie friends the way I want to.  My dad plays with me in the cell, but I sure do miss being able to run and play outside.  I got a new football, which I love, but I can’t run and chase after it like I want to.

I did get to meet Courage and that went well.  I’m doing great with all my commands and training, too.  But I sure will be glad when this Heartworm treatment is over!!

I am still waiting for my forever home and the chance to give someone tons of kisses!

05/13/2022  Hi everyone!  My heartworm treatment is going well, but it’s not much fun.  I’m not allowed to be very active, so I can’t play with my friends.  It’s a real bummer.  But I have to tell you something that happened yesterday.  I did my dad and the HOPE program proud!  Some very important visitors came to the cell block, and I showed off for them.  I was so good and did allot of my tricks for them.  Would you like to know what I did?  Of course you would!!  I looked my dad right in the eye and said “let’s do this!”  He told me “front” and I did.  Then “heel” and “give me five.”  Next was “sit,” then “paw,” then “sit pretty,” then “give me ten,” then “down,” then give “paw.”  Then I played dead even though I wasn’t.  Then I rolled over and sat.  Then I stood and touched, then target, and then to end it, dad told me “up,” patted his chest, and I gave him a hug.  Hey, I told you I showed off!  Everyone was so proud of me!  I got lots of pets and love!


05/06/2022  Russo got his stitches out from his surgery and seems as good as new.  Both of the lesions were cancerous, but the vet got clear margins so no cancer was remaining–Russo has a great prognosis!  He started heartworm treatment today, which is all oral medications until July.  Then in July and August, Russo will received three injections to also kill the worms.  The bad part about the treatment is that Russo will not be able to run and play for the next several months, only slow walks outside. So we’ve prepared with a lot of toys and treats for him to chew on to keep him busy.

Russo continues to love Nova ad Pixie.  I know he will miss playing with them during his treatment.  It would be great if a foster home would step up to keep Russo during his heartworm treatment.  A much quieter environment would be much better for Russo.  Plus, he is such a GREAT dog!  I can’t believe no one has adopted hm yet!

04/29/2022 Russo is recovering well from his surgery and is feeling better every day.  Thankfully, he seems to be back to his old self!  This week we’ve been working on training in the day room when he saw one of the COs making rounds and securing doors.  Russo decided he could do a better job, so we went along with the CO!  They walked to every cell and Russo would stick his head in and if it was empty he’d back out and look at the CO like, “this is empty, go ahead and shut this one.”  I was laughing, other inmates were laughing and asking what I was teaching him.  This was all Russo!  When we went to the other side of block they were playing Bingo and when someone yelled, “BINGO!” Russo started barking at him like, “keep the noise down” and everyone was laughing.  He’s such a big ham!

We learned that Russo does like to guard high value things, like a rawhide chew.  We ended up taking it away and giving him his ball and other toys, which he’s completely fine with, but that chew was too special for him!

Russo also attended the Denim, Diamonds & Dogs Gala for HOPE Friday evening.  He was a little nervous with all the people and the music but eventually got comfortable!  He’s COMPLETELY ready for a home of his own!!!

04/22/2022  Russo had surgery today to remove some lumps and bumps!  Since last week Russo was doing really well, even with the addition of Courage.  Russo just looks at him like “who the heck are you?”  He also got to play a lot with Nova since the weather is finally getting nice!  Russo was playing fetch in the one yard, and Nova was in the other yard with her handler when these sparrows landed on the fence and then the birds starting fighting.  At first Nova and Russo just watched, but once Nova started barking at them, Russo joined in too because he seems to follow Nova’s lead!  The best part about it was that Russo never dropped his ball once!!!  He really likes his orange ball!

Russo also went around on visits around the prison.  He’s such a curious boy because in every office he had to investigate every nook and cranny!  Russo is so ready for a home where he can relax all day, play fetch with his person and orange ball and never have a care in the world!

04/15/2022  Hi everyone!  I had a great week!  I went on a field trip with my dad and two of the counselors to visit one of the other cell blocks.  I showed everyone how well-behaved I am and even showed them some of the tricks I can do.  Then, later in the week, some really important people came to visit the cell block where my dad and I live.  Pixie and I got to come out to say hello to everyone.  We were really well-behaved.  I made my dad so proud.  I did something a little ornery this week–I stole Pixie’s orange ball.  I couldn’t help it–it reminded me of the orange football that I used to have that Luna stole from me.  Pixie left it outside so I claimed it.  It’s like having my old football back!  Now, it’s my favorite toy.  Turn about is fair play, right?!

04/08/2022  Are you as sick of this wet weather as I am?  All this wet stuff is hampering my ability to play in the play yard.  It’s so darn wet out there I can’t stand it.  My dad and I did not go on any long walks while it was raining, and I really missed the long walks.  I did get to play in the yard with my big blue ball before the rain started.  I love chasing the ball around the yard and throwing it in the air with my nose.  The new girl on the block, Pixie, traded me in for my arch nemesis, Kane, so now I just ignore her when she walks by me.  Well, at least I still have Nova.  :0)  Hopefully, the sun will come back soon and I’ll have more to report next week.  Have a great weekend everyone!

04/01/2022   I’m feeling a little sad this week.  One of my uncles has disappeared.  I’m pretty sure he left the prison for good.  I overheard my dad saying that he got paroled.  I saw him packing up his stuff, so I made sure to say good-bye before he left.  I covered his face in kisses to let him know how much I’ll miss him.  He used to take me outside when my dad was at work.  I sure hope that I am the next one to break out of this joint.  I am SO READY to find my forever home!  If you knew me, you’d definitely apply to adopt me!  Is there anyone willing to get to know me and accept all the love I have to give?

03/25/2022   What I week I’ve had!  I got a new girlfriend–her name is Pixie!  Pixie joined HOPE last week, and boy is she a looker!  Man, was Nova mad at me when she caught me playing with Pixie.   That’s okay, though, because I made it up to her.  I’m such a player!  Hey, the ladies adore me, what can I say?!   Now I have two ladies to juggle, and on top of that, my dad has been working my tail off.  I’ve learned three, yes, three, new “tricks” on top of my busy schedule.  I’ve learned how to roll over, play dead, and weave through my dad’s legs.  This is on top of learning to ignore my arch nemesis, Kane!  My dad and I are working on some other stuff, but I don’t have it mastered quite yet, so I’ll keep those in my back pocket until I do.  Well, it’s almost playtime, so I’m going to sign off for now.  I’ll see you all next week!  By the way, I am really getting tired of prison life, so I am hoping someone out there will see what a wonderful dog I am and adopt me really soon!

03/18/2022  I hope you all are enjoying the warmer weather like I am!  I have been outside a lot playing with Nova, playing fetch, taking long walks, and just chilling in the shade and mud.  I hate to admit it, but I love mud baths.  I love to roll around in the cool mud and cover myself from head to toe.  Then, I love the nice, warm baths my dad gives me to get me all cleaned up!   This week, I learned how to give a “High 5.”  It’s kinda cool.  Other than that, things are status quo.  I really love my dad, but I am ready to break out of these prison walls and find my forever home.  I need to spread my wings and fly!  Just think of all the cool things we could do together if you’d just give me a chance.  I promise, I’m worth it!

03/11/2022  Hi everyone!  I honestly didn’t think I would be writing to you this week because I really thought I was going to get adopted!  They say that everything happens for a reason, so I guess it was not meant to be.  I just know someone is out there that wants all my love!  My dad thought I was getting adopted too, so he write a 12-page letter to my potential adopters.  But now that I’m still here, that letter will be even longer when I do find my forever home because I’ve learned a few more tricks!  I’ll share two fo them with you, as for the others, you’ll have to adopt me and find out!  I learned to roll over and crawl.  I totally look like a real soldier when i have my tactical harness on and I low crawl cross the floor!  This week Nova and I played a game of “pig,” like “horse” in basketball.  She beat me.  I’m pretty sure she cheated, though.  I was  pretty tired that day.  All excuses aside, she beat me fair and square.  I am going to keep practicing, and I’ll get her next time.  Besides, she’s my girlfriend and everyone knows the secret to a happy marriage is don’t anger your woman!  Well, it’s time for my supper–see you next week!

03/04/2022  I have some news to report.  It may be interpreted as bad; it may be interpreted as good.  It’s all a matter of perception.  We all thought Russo was going to get adopted by a wonderful family, but they changed their mind, through no fault of Russo’s.  Now that may considered to be bad news, BUT it can also be considered good news because now, Russo is available for someone else to adopt and love! Russo is the best dog, and so smart!  When he first came to the prison, he only knew how to sit and shake.  Now, after just seven weeks, he knows over 30 commands!  He is such a fast learner!  I’m so proud of him.  Russo has been and continues to be a pure joy to work with.  Don’t be intimidated by Russo’s size (91 lbs.)–he is very well-mannered and gentle.  He doesn’t jump up on you unless you ask him to.  Then he will put his paws on your chest or shoulders and give you a big hug!  Russo just wants to be loved.  NOW, you can have that opportunity!  Will YOU give Russo a chance to show you what a loving companion he is?

02/25/2022  Russo continues to do so well with his obedience training.  He is definitely ready for his forever home!  He did something this week than he had never done before–he buried one of his toys in the exercise yard!  Thankfully, I saw him do it so I was able to retrieve the toy.  I took it inside and washed it off then gave it back to him.  He then proceeded to totally rip it apart!  He made me laugh!  Russo is a GREAT dog and ready for his happily ever after!

02/18/2022  Hi everyone!  Russo here!  I have had a great week!  I learned a new trick this week that no dog has ever learned in the history of the HOPE program!  I person I know and like will sit down at the table or on a crate and I go up to say hi.  My dad tells me to “back in the garage” and I turn around and walk backwards, put my butt between their legs, and sit down.  Then they rub my chest, and I love it!  I even give them my happy snarl!  But, it hasn’t been all fun this week, it’s been work too.  But, it doesn’t seem like work because my dad makes it so much fun!  We worked on “wait” and “stay.”  We also worked on trading treats and toys to help me with my resource guarding, and my dad said I did great!  My dad even let me jump up and give him a hug.  We also go for lots of walks, which I absolutely love.  I do miss my dad when he leaves for work, but I know he’s coming back now, which I didn’t know before.  I will wait to go outside until he comes back from work!   My dad says that I am ready for my forever home!  See ya next week!

02/11/2022  Hi everyone!  What’s up?  It’s your man, Russo, checking in.  I am doing great!  I am learning so much stuff that it’s hard to keep track of it all, and most of it I do without even thinking about it!  I am a “straight A” obedience student!  My dad started playing this new game with me where he will give a lot of different people treats, and I have to go say hi and find them.  I like that game but I wish EVERYONE had goodies to give me!  I’ve also showed my dad how much I love to play outside when it’s warmer, with my dad, one of my uncles, and the football.  My uncle let me get too close to the ball, and I tackled him and made him fumble.  LOL.  I like to jump up when we are playing, and I do it nicely when I give my dad a hug, which I do every day when he comes back from work.  Of course I give him kisses, too!  I am getting used to my dad going to work for a few hours each day and no longer bark when he is gone.  I know he’s coming back to me and when he returns, I show him how much I missed him.  Until next week. . .

02/04/2022  Hi people!  I’m back to tell you about my week!  It’s been cold and wet outside, and I don’t like the cold or getting my feet wet!  My dad had some doggie rain boots for my feet, but I really didn’t like them, so he has been covering my feet with socks when we go outside.   I spent some time this week playing with my girlfriend, Nova.  I really like her!  My dad tried to teach me a lot of new things this week.  He learned that I can be stubborn at times, but I did listen to what he was teaching me.  I really love interacting with the other handlers and playing with my toys.  Can’t wait till it’s warmer outside so I can romp and play in the grass with my toys and my dad!  See ya next week!

01/28/2022  HI!  Let me introduce myself.  My name is Russo and I am a three-year-old Great Dane/American Bulldog/Cane Corso mix.  What a combination, right?  I am 95 pounds of pure love!  I may look intimidating, and bark like I am if I’m protecting my dad or our house, but all I want is to be loved.  I love spending time with my dad and saying hello to people.  When I am around a lot of people, I like to carry my orange ball around in my mouth because it makes me feel safe, and if I do say so, makes me look so darn cute!  I love to go on walks with my dad, and he is teaching me not to pull on the leash so much.  I am getting better at that!  I even learned two commands when we walk.  If my dad says “Haw,” we turn to the left.  If he says “Gee,” we go right.  My dad is teaching me a whole bunch of other stuff, too.  We really have a great time together!  I don’t like it so much when he has to leave for work and puts me in my crate, so I bark. I don’t like being in the crate at all.  If dad just leaves me in his cell when he is gone, I am a really good boy.  I don’t chew or tear anything up and don’t have any accidents.  I just don’t like that darn crate!  I love to snuggle with my dad in bed.  I wait until he’s sleeping, then I steal his covers!  LOL.  All in all, I am adjusting well to the Big House.  My gal pal, Nova, arrived last week, and I was so glad to see her!  We were in boarding in the same kennel before we got here.  We can now play together again!  Well, I’m going to sign off.  I’m tried from today’s training.  I’m learning “Target,” which requires a lot of jumping up and down with my front paws.  I’ll write again next week!  WOOF!

01/21/2022  Russo has been in the prison just a week and has already made quite an impression.  He’s big and gorgeous!  He is learning very quickly, but gets his own ideas sometimes.  He loves to be by my side and is definitely a cuddlebug.  He already knew “sit” and “paw” when I got him, and he has already learned down, touch, look at me, heel, side, stay, and wait.  He is getting used to his new environment and watches everything around him.  He likes to bark at me if he feels that I am not giving him enough loving!  He likes to give kisses and hugs.  He also thinks that his food and your food are both his.  LOL.  He doesn’t like being in a crate, but we are working on that by crating him only for short periods, even when I am here, so he doesn’t see the crate as a big deal.  He much prefers female dogs, but prefers male humans.  He is a VERY cool dog, and I can’t wait to see how he grows in HOPE.



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