Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan welcomes service dog to State House

Governor Larry Hogan welcomed the newest member of the state of Maryland’s partnership with VetDogs to the State House, named Hogan.
Photo credit Courtesy Photo

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).

Podcast Episode
Eye on Veterans
MOVIE TO WATCH: “MVP” w/ Nate Boyer, Spec Forces and Seattle Seahawk vet
Listen Now
Now Playing
Now Playing

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.

Dogs in the program learn commands like opening drawers and doors, retrieving food from the refrigerator, turning lights off and on and guiding a wheelchair down a narrow hallway. When they complete the initial training, they are returned to VetDogs headquarters in New York, where they receive more specialized training prior to being placed with a disabled veteran.

According to a press release, when Gov. Hogan, who is term-limited and leaves office in January, toured Western Correctional Institute last year, where the state program started, he was so moved by the story veteran Al Moore shared that he directed the Department of Public Safety and Corrections to expand it.

“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.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo