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Sheriff's Office

Posted on: August 21, 2023

LCSO Launches Service Puppy Program at the Adult Detention Center in Partnership with Heeling House

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Loudoun County, VA (August 21, 2023) – The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) is proud to announce the launch of our Service Puppy Program on behalf of inmates at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center (ADC).  The program is a unique collaboration between the LCSO and Heeling House, Inc., a local non-profit.

Today the first two puppies were delivered to the ADC, and LCSO will be asking the community to choose names for them from among those pre-selected by Heeling House.

The Service Puppy Program recognizes the potential for life-changing outcomes that a bond between humans and animals can facilitate. Through this program, inmate handlers who are part of the ADC’s Changing Habits and Nurturing Community Engagements (C.H.A.N.C.E.) program will have the opportunity to train and care for service puppies on-site, enabling them to develop new skills and an enhanced sense of personal responsibility.  In turn, the puppies will receive obedience training in a nurturing environment that prepares them for their future roles as service animals on behalf of children and others.

Program highlights include the following:

  •  Inmate Rehabilitation: The program offers selected inmates a chance to develop life skills such as patience, empathy, responsibility, and teamwork.
  • Puppy Training: Service puppies will receive comprehensive training, including basic commands, socialization with people, and exposure to various environments. 
  • Therapeutic Benefits: Positive interactions with animals are proven to have therapeutic benefits, including reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.  The interaction between inmates and the puppies is intended to promote emotional healing and personal growth, contributing to a more positive correctional environment.
  • Employment Benefits: Inmates who successfully complete the program may gain skills that enhance their employability upon release. 

“I’m excited to bring another innovative program to our ADC to promote the rehabilitation and wellness of our inmates,” said Sheriff Mike Chapman.  “This program will also provide a variety of much-needed services to our community,” he added.

Community members will be given the opportunity to vote on the following names beginning this afternoon on the LCSO Facebook page, with the results to be announced on August 23, 2023, and provided to the ADC and Heeling House.

  • Golden Lab (3-month-old female):  Ginger, Shirley, or Sierra
  • Black Lab (5-month-old female):  Moxie, Cocoa, or Cola

The Loudoun County Adult Detention Center is dedicated to fostering rehabilitation, personal growth, and positive change among its inmates.

The C.H.A.N.C.E. program seeks to help interested inmates prepare for life after incarceration. Inmates participate in class curriculum that includes Anger Management, Impact of Crime, Peer Relationships, Financial Literacy, Social Values, Self-Control, and Seeking Employment.  The program also provides optional programs such as Art, Culinary Arts, Computer Skills, Music, and Health and Wellness.   

Heeling House, Inc., is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, based in Sterling, VA.  Its mission is to improve the lives of children with special needs using animal-assisted interactions.  The Service Dog Program trains and places Psychiatric, Autism, and Mobility Service Dogs for individuals with special needs. Please visit HeelingHouse.org to learn more.

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