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professional Dog trainer Hope Cogen and a yellow labrador puppy

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)!  Hope is an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator.

Hope has an 18-year-old son, Ari, who lives in Los Angeles and is pursuing a career in film and photography.  She shares her home with her 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. Spartacus recently became a tripawd.  

dog trainer Emily Casteel and her dog hiking


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Emily Casteel is a lifelong animal lover that is excited to be a new addition to High Hopes!  Emily is a recent graduate from the Animal Behavior College and also holds a Bachelor's Degree in Sustainable Food and Farming from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  

Emily spent almost two years working at a local animal shelter in Roanoke before joining the team at High Hopes Dog Training.  Emily is passionate about helping dogs and their families live happily together.  She has a Fear Free certification and uses positive reinforcement methods to keep dog families harmonious and prevent dogs from ending up in shelters.  The bond people have with dogs is so rewarding, and Emily loves helping people retain that bond while also developing and maintaining a working relationship with their dogs.


Emily currently resides in Roanoke with her husband and dog, Harley, a six-year-old "super mutt".  Harley loves to cuddle and go for hikes when the weather is nice.  She is a power chewer and vigilantly keeps birds out of the yard.

Dog trainer Sandy Evans with her dogs


A former Roanoke resident, Sandy now lives in North Carolina.  She does all of her administrative work virtually, and she also works virtually as a trainer.  She can help anyone, anywhere train their dog via Zoom!  Sandy has been working with High Hopes Dog Training since 2016.  She started by enrolling her newly rescued dog in the Beginner Obedience class and continued with Intermediate and Advanced Obedience classes.  Sandy's work with her 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 daily.

Sandy has a love of big black hairy dogs, particularly Newfoundlands and Bernese Mountain Dogs. She believes in providing enrichment to her dogs, while having them provide enjoyment to the community. While teaching in Roanoke City Schools, her last Newfoundland, Sadie, attended school with her and acted as an emotional support for both students and teachers.

Currently, she shares her home with Tripp, a 10yr old rescue Bernese, and Gibbs, a Newfoundland puppy.

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