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Seven New Locations Announced For Therapy Dogs In W.Va. Schools

Therapy dog with a red jacket on in a school classroom.
Christy Lang Photography
/
Adobe Stock
A therapy dog in a classroom.

Therapy dogs are coming to seven more West Virginia schools as part of the state’s "Friends With Paws" program.

Schools included are:

  • Pineville Elementary School in Wyoming County
  • Moorefield Elementary School in Hardy County
  • Spring Mills High School in Berkeley County
  • Wayne Elementary School in Wayne County
  • Lenore Elementary School in Mingo County
  • Greenbrier East High School in Greenbrier County
  • Green Bank Elementary-Middle School in Pocahontas County

The program is organized through Gov. Jim Justice’s office, the West Virginia Department of Education and the nonprofit Communities in Schools. Therapy dogs provide comfort to those affected by certain psychological conditions like depression and anxiety. First Lady Cathy Justice champions the program.
“I think it will be so beneficial to the kids and just make them just want to come to school every day,” she said Thursday during a briefing. “And that's what we want to do: make them feel good about themselves, come to school every day and just know that they’ll be such a big part in their life.”

The program began last March as a way to provide comfort to at-risk students, with the original goal to have 10 therapy dog placements by the end of the year. Of that number, three dogs were placed earlier this year at Welch Elementary School, Lewis County High School and Buckhannon Academy Elementary School.

"Friends With Paws" also plans to place ten more dogs in schools next year.

Eastern Panhandle Reporter, ssnyder@wvpublic.org, 304-449-4653

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