History of BARK & About Us


BARK (Bandit’s Adoption and Rescue of K-9’s) was founded in 2001 in honor of Bandit, a neglected dog who was rescued in 1987.

Located on a farm-like setting in Ashland, Virginia, the BARK kennels served as a safe-haven for abused and neglected dogs rescued from the metro Richmond area in Virginia.  A dedicated team of volunteers perform the essential daily tasks of kennel care (walking and cleaning kennels), canine intake, medical review, application processing, record management, and community outreach.

Sadly, the Kennels have closed down. But the legacy of BARK continues with new ownership in serving the Dog community.


Jesse Hopping

Picture of Jesse Hopping from Barkva.org

I’m Jesse, and I’m the main writer at BarkVA.org! My love for dogs began with Max, a red Boston Terrier. He was my first dog at just 3 years old, and the most loyal pal any little girl could have had. 

I’ll never forget running around in the summer heat with my furry buddy at my heels. We did everything together, and that mostly consisted of exploring outside from sun-up to sundown. At a young age, I genuinely understood the meaning behind “man’s best friend”.

Ever since Max, I’ve raised and fostered dozens of dogs, and my devotion to these sweet creatures has grown exponentially. 

I’ve dedicated my time and heart to shelter dogs, working to get them into happy homes, or bringing them into my own when they had nowhere to go. My volunteer work was mainly through Richmond VA SPCA and surrounding shelters.

BarkVA was once a native Virginia dog shelter and when I heard it was no longer going to continue operations, taking on BarkVA’s site was my way of continuing its legacy and sharing my love of dogs with like minds. 

Beyond putting in the work at home to take care of my pack, my goal is to share valuable knowledge, products, skills, and advice with readers so that they can have the best relationship possible with their pets.

You can expect to discover researched and tested dog products, dog advice, and dog tips, tricks, and facts on my corner of the internet! Thanks for stopping by BarkVA, it’s PAWsome that you’re here!

I have

Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and have graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in English

Feel free to connect with Me via Linkedin or email me at [email protected]!


Max: Max was a red Boston Terrier, and Jesse’s first dog. He was gifted to her by her parents at just 3 years old. Max was Jesse’s favorite dog growing up and remained so right up to the end of his life. He was and still is the reason behind her love for dogs, and especially Bostons.

Marleee the dog from Barkva.org is sitting on a mat outside a doorway

Marlee: Marlee is a Bernedoodle with the size and coloring of a Bernese and the super-sweetness of a Poodle. She loves being outdoors and is up for any adventure. She doesn’t pay any mind to her size and takes every opportunity to be the best lapdog out there. Marlee enjoys going to the groomer to get pampered and chewing on sticks.

Soda Pop is a dog from Barkva.org is looking cute with a sideways head tilt

Soda Pop: Soda is a 3-year-old tan Boston Terrier who has an obsession with tennis balls (just the yellow kind) and swimming. She knows how to sit, shake paws, and lay down on command. She loves everyone and everything she comes across, including skunks.

Mabel the dog from Barkva.org is sitting on a bed.

Mabel: Mabel is a 3-year-old Boston Terrier with the traditional “American Gentleman” coat. She’s the namesake of Jesse’s other childhood Boston, Daisy Maybelline, and the laziest of Jesse’s bunch. Her favorite activity is sleeping, but don’t let her snoring fool you – one shake of the treat jar and she’s up and running.

Tootsite Pop the dog from Barkva.org is standing beside a Christmas tree

Tootsie Pop: Soda’s partial namesake, Tootsie is a 5-year-old chocolate Boston Terrier. She’s the runt of the pack, but her small size doesn’t keep her back! She’s a fierce hunter and chases squirrels from morning till night. Her favorite toy is a rope horse and she likes to give hugs (seriously!)

Adopt From BARK

At this time, we are not fostering any dogs at the moment.

We very much would love for you to adopt a pet to save all dogs and give them the life they deserve.

The first step in the adoption process is to fill out an application online.

We would recommend going to Adopt a pet to search for the pet of your dreams (or two!)

BARK Behind Bars – A Correctional Companions Program

About BARK Behind Bars
We are proud to partner with the Lawrenceville Correctional Center in Lawrenceville, Virginia, Haynesville Correctional Center in Haynesville, VA, and Green Rock Correctional Center in Chatham, VA, Goochland Women’s Correctional Center and Nottoway Women’s Correctional Center for the BARK Behind Bars Correctional Companions Program. The BARK Behind Bars Program changes the lives of dogs and people. As a dog lover, you know first hand the effect a dog can have on a human’s physical, emotional and mental state. Working with BARK dogs gives prison inmates the opportunity for therapeutic rehabilitation while learning to love unconditionally. The dogs learn skills and behaviors that will help them find and remain in a forever home. It’s truly a second chance for all involved.

How the Program Works
Inmates are selected on the basis of their behavior while serving their sentences and their demonstrated desire to participate in the program. The dogs are selected for the program based on temperament, personality and who might greatly benefit from the daily individualized socialization, attention and affection.

Under the supervision of correctional staff members, inmates train and socialize the dogs in their care and maintain diaries on the dog’s progress.


What Do the Dogs Learn?
Dogs that graduate from the BARK Behind Bars program come to their forever home with valuable skills and training. Each dog is house trained, crate trained, taught basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, come, lay down and speak, and tricks such as roll over, bang! dead dog, pray, right paw & left paw. Just as important, they learn that humans are friends they can count on for leadership and love. Please check out the videos below for more information!

Program Update/Who are our Correctional Companions Dogs available for adoption?
Dogs with “Graduate” after their name on the website are recent graduates of the prison training program. Dogs with “Trainee” after their name on the website are currently enrolled in the program.

Would you like to Adopt a Correctional Companions Dog?
Each Correctional Companions dog needs a forever home to go to after graduation. 

At this time, we are not accepting any applications at the moment, but we would like to recommend other websites that are offering the service:


To promote the well being of unwanted, abandoned, and homeless dogs and cats through engagement with community partners in Central Virginia.


The Jessica Beath Clinic, wholly owned and operated by BARK, will provide high volume low cost sterilization services to the local animal shelters, humane organizations, and pet owners. Through its partnership with community organizations feral cats will be sterilized.

BARK Behind Bars educates prisoners on basic obedience training of dogs placed in their care. BARK will partner with local animal organizations to identify adoptable dogs to participate in our BARK Behind Bars program. These animals will be placed in our BARK Behind Bars program that educates prisoners on basic obedience training to dogs placed in their care.

Partnering with educational organizations and local veterinarians, BARK continues to develop its network of animal professionals. We focus on maximizing positive outcomes for companion animal adoption, provide “standard of care” sterilization, and increase its community outreach efforts to grow and excel in its mission.