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About the ABEL Leash Ceremonies

Each ABEL facility hosts a ceremony at the close of each training period for guests of EENP and NC Department of Adult Corrections (DAC) to celebrate the incoming and outgoing dogs as well as the accomplishments of the training period. These ceremonies are held three times a year, approximately one month before EENP's public graduation ceremonies.

At each ceremony,

  • for pups moving into training in ABEL, EENP community trainers pass their dogs' leashes to the ABEL trainers to mark their pups' transition into advanced training in ABEL;
  • for pups graduating from training to be considered for placement with an EENP client, ABEL trainers pass their dogs' leashes to an EENP client or client representative;
  • ABEL trainers give demonstrations of the training process and the dogs' skills, usually in the form of short skits;
  • one ABEL trainer gives a speech about his experience in the program; and
  • after the ceremony, guests can sit down with the ABEL trainers to talk and enjoy light food and drink provided by NC DAC

The leash ceremonies are a special opportunity for EENP's community to personally witness the professionalism and commitment of the ABEL trainers. The attendance of EENP's guests, most coming from over an hour away, is a truly invaluable show of support for the ABEL trainers and the work they do, and they often mention how much it means to them. We hope you can join us for a ceremony!

Ceremony Dates and Details

Warren Correctional Institute (WCI)

Manson, NC

  • Thursday, September 28, 2023 from 1-3 pm (arrive 11:30 am to 12:30 pm depending on training and blue card options)
  • RSVP and record check form due by Wed 9/13 at noon.
  • Unfortunately, minors are not able to attend ceremonies at Warren.
  • Guests may only attend ONE leash ceremony every 12 months at Warren without taking additional training ("blue card" or "PREA" training). That training is approximately 1 hour long and is usually offered before leash ceremonies for guests who wish to attend more than one ceremony at Warren in a 12-month period. The RSVP form will help you determine if you need training or not in order to attend.

Caswell Correctional Center (CCC)

Blanch, NC

  • Tuesday, October 3, 2023 from 1-3:30 pm (arrival 12:00-12:30 pm)
  • RSVP by Fri 9/29 at noon (no forms needed).
  • Caswell is likely to limit attendance at the ceremony in which case we will use RSVP date as a primary screen.
  • Minors may be able to attend the ceremony at Caswell if accompanied by their parent or guardian.
  • Currently, guests may attend all three leash ceremonies at Caswell each year without taking additional volunteer training from NC DAC. This policy may change at any time.

Orange Correctional Center (OCC)

Hillsborough, NC

  • Wednesday, October 25, 2023, time TBD
  • We have limited space for guests at our second leash ceremony at Orange CC. If you would like to attend, please let us know your interest when you fill out this form. Details will go out later to those who have expressed interest.
Tentative Dates for 2024 Leash Ceremonies

We expect to have leash ceremonies on the following dates in 2024 if you would like to pencil them in on your calendar. These dates are subject to change.

  • WCI: Thursdays - Jan 25, May 23, Sep 26
  • CCC: Tuesdays - Jan 30, May 28, Oct 1
  • OCC: Wednesdays - Feb 14, Jun 19, Oct 23

Want to Attend?

Fill out the form below to RSVP. You can also access the RSVP form directly at this link if you are having difficulty with the embedded form below.

If you need to submit an authorization form for a background check for a ceremony, please RSVP and then check your email (sender "Maria Ikenberry") for the link to submit the form online. After you sign and submit it, you'll need to call our office at 919-408-7292 to provide your social security and drivers license numbers over the phone (do not leave this information on voicemail).

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