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About New Leash on Life training program in Rutherford County, N.C. 

Heart of the Foothills Animal Rescue began overseeing the New Leash on Life program in 2021. The Spindale program was started in 2006 by Cheri McAlister. Every 8 weeks, four dogs are sent to live at the prison with the inmate trainers where they go through an eight week training course to learn basic manners, commands, socialization, tricks, and some techniques for service and therapy training. 


How are dogs selected to participate in the program? 

Heart of the Foothills is a 501c3 non-profit animal rescue. We rescue dogs from the county shelter and from owners who are in need of surrendering their pets. Dogs entering the program are selected from the ones in the care of HFAR to increase their chances of adoption. 


How do you adopt a NLOL dog?

Apply to adopt a New Leash on Life dog by filling out the online adoption application at OR apply in person at HFAR rescue center, located at 380 U.S. HWY 221 North, Rutherfordton, N.C. 


What are the fees for adopting a NLOL dog? 

Heart of the Foothills charges $250.00 adoption fee for fully vetted puppies and $150.00 for dogs over six months of age. There is an additional $100.00 fee for dogs who complete the 8 week training course. The $100.00 training fee goes back into the program to cover a portion of  the supplies needed to complete the course. 


Graduation information: 

Graduation is Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at noon and reoccurs every 8 weeks. If you are interested in meeting a dog that is currently enrolled in the program, please email us at 


Want to make a donation? 

Click the donate button below.

Mail or stop in at 380 U.S. HWY 221 North, Rutherfordton, N.C. 28139 

PayPal address:

Call us at (828)287-7338 to donate over the phone. 

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