Hope Cogen


A client once said to Hope, “It’s amazing how you think like a dog! It’s like you know exactly what they are thinking.” Hope loves dogs. She understands them. She loves to teach dogs and their humans how to understand one another. The passion for her work is evident. She says it is the work of her heart and soul.

Hope did not have dogs as a child. Her journey with dogs started when she was in her early twenties. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, Hope moved to Florida and became an elementary school teacher. Soon after that, she adopted her first dog, Shadow, a one year old mixed breed. Six months later, she found a five month old stray Doberman Pinscher mix whom she kept and named Pupper. Shadow and Pupper opened up a whole new world for Hope, and she instantly became obsessed with dogs! The more Hope worked with her own dogs, the more she realized that she wanted to make dog training her career, so she gradually transitioned from teaching children to teaching dogs. As she started her own dog training business, Hope found that her students (both the dogs and their humans) were motivated and challenged by her style of training and teaching. The dogs were becoming well-mannered family members, and the humans were becoming educated, compassionate dog parents. Over two decades later, Hope now promises that both will enjoy the learning process as they benefit from their newly formed partnership. With Hope’s guidance, people learn how to train their own dogs and quickly realize that there is “Hope” for every dog (and every dog owner)!

Now residing in Roanoke, Virginia, Hope shares her home with her teenage son, Ari, and their rescued pitbull mix, Spartacus. Spartacus is a Canine Good Citizen, and he helps Hope with her clients’ dogs who are not well socialized, leash reactive, or just need a good role model. Hope and Spartacus also visit schools to teach children about dog safety while doing their best to debunk the negative stereotypes of pitbull-type dogs. 

Candice King


Candice has been a trainer with High Hopes Dog Training since 2014. Candice then began her journey with High Hopes as a client, so she has experience from both the student and teacher perspective. Candice has two dogs of her own:  Mazy and Piper, both rescued dogs and High Hopes Dog Training graduates. Mazy, a Boxer/Bulldog mix, has her Canine Good Citizen certification and loves teaching humans the importance of dog safety. Piper, a Pitbull mix, graduated from Beginner and Intermediate Obedience classes, but she would prefer to be lounging on the couch. 

Candice’s passion for training is contagious, and she inspires clients to be the best dog parents they can be!  She makes every session positive, fun, and effective while magically spreading her calm energy.  Her degree in Psychology along with 12 years of work experience in the mental health field uniquely qualifies her to not only train dogs but their humans as well.

Mindy Conley


Mindy has been working with High Hopes Dog Training since 2019. She began as a client after adopting Luke, an American Staffordshire Terrier, from the Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection in Roanoke. After a few private lessons, Mindy and Luke attended the Canine Good Citizen class where Luke received his CGC certification. They then completed High Hopes Dog Training’s Therapy Dog classes. Now Luke works with Mindy as a High Hopes helper dog. He has helped many dogs in the Roanoke Valley improve their social skills and leash manners.

Prior to joining the High Hopes team, Mindy spent her career working in public mental health services. She was a therapist for many years then moved into supervisory and management positions related to Virginia’s state-run mental health hospitals.

Sandy Evans

Administrative Assistant

Sandy has been working with High Hopes Dog Training since 2016. She started out by enrolling her newly rescued dog in Beginner Obedience class and continued with Intermediate and Advanced Obedience classes.  Sandy’s work with her own dog was so impressive, she was asked to join the High Hopes Dog Training team!  Now Sandy’s exceptional organizational skills as Administrative Assistant keep High Hopes running smoothly on a daily basis.  

Sandy is a retired Roanoke City School teacher. For 33 years, her job has been centered around working with low-income students. She has enjoyed introducing the children to new experiences and pushing them to succeed regardless of their background experiences.

That gift has carried over to her canine family. Sandy, her husband, and her son rescue Bernese Mountain Dogs and Newfoundlands who have been mistreated or neglected. They currently have a Berner named Tripp and a Newfie named Sadie. Sadie earned her Canine Good Citizen certification and is working towards becoming a Certified Therapy Dog. She provides emotional support to autistic children and to those struggling to read. Tripp, being an adolescent goofball, is still in training.