ANNAPOLIS, Md.—Governor Larry Hogan recently welcomed the newest member of the state of Maryland’s partnership with America’s VetDogs to the State House in Annapolis. Named as a surprise tribute to the state’s commitment to helping wounded veterans, ‘Hogan’ is currently being trained by incarcerated individuals at the Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown as part of an innovative partnership between America’s VetDogs and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS). The newest VetDog-in-training will learn more than 100 commands in order to one day work as a service dog for a disabled veteran.
“This is an incredible program, and I have been so inspired by the stories of trainers and veterans who have formed a strong bond with these service dogs,” said Governor Hogan. “I am humbled by this honor, but more importantly, we are proud that Maryland has become the top state in the program.”
Governor Hogan visited the DPSCS VetDogs program at Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland last year, where he met with some of the trainers and puppies. After hearing the inspiring testimony of Al Moore—a Marine who says his VetDog saved his life—the governor directed DPSCS to immediately expand the initiative in order to reduce the backlog of veterans waiting for VetDogs.
“Maryland is one of our greatest programs, and for the first time ever, we are naming a dog after a sitting governor,” said America’s VetDogs President and CEO John Miller. “This is in honor of the governor’s contributions to the legacy of the program.”
Since the governor’s visit, the state’s correctional facilities have trained a total of 21 dogs. Thirty-two dogs are currently in training, making the State of Maryland the top-producing VetDog prison system in the nation. DPSCS has increased the number of correctional facilities training VetDogs from three to five, and a sixth facility is currently in the pipeline.
In addition to ‘Hogan’ the VetDog, the governor was also joined at the State House by DPSCS Secretary Robert Green, America’s VetDogs CEO John Miller, and Officer Mark Clevenger, who oversees the VetDogs program at the Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown.