LENORE, WV (LOOTPRESS)- First Lady Cathy Justice visited Lenore PK-8 School for a “Pup Rally” to celebrate the arrival of the state’s next therapy dog through the Friends With Paws Communities In Schools (CIS) program.
The dog introduced at today’s event is named Kylo. He is a Black Lab.
“Kylo is going to be a great therapy dog for Lenore PK-8,” First Lady Justice said. “He scored the highest score possible in the therapy dog disposition text, and I have no doubt that he will exceed expectations in his new home in Mingo County. I look forward to Kylo making many new friends, and I can’t wait to hear the success stories that will come from these relationships.”
First announced in March, the Friends With Paws program places certified therapy dogs in various CIS schools across the state, providing companionship and comfort for students in need of a boost.
Therapy dogs are specially trained to provide comfort and support to people in various tense environments. They can help people feel at ease, improve their mood, relieve anxiety, and remove social barriers. Therapy dogs are highly trained and certified to show their ability to work in stressful environments, ignore distractions, and provide therapy to people with diverse backgrounds and circumstances.
Following today’s ceremony, students and staff had the chance to greet Kylo.
“Everyone at Lenore PK-8 has been very excited about Kylo’s arrival,” Lenore PK-8 Principal Chris Harris said. “Kylo will be able to help so many children in need of an extra friend who’s there for them unconditionally. I anticipate seeing many positive impacts that Kylo will have on the students at our school.”
The Friends With Paws program is a partnership between the Governor’s Office, West Virginia CIS Nonprofit, and the West Virginia Department of Education. Therapy dogs are placed in schools within CIS counties where students are disproportionately affected by poverty, substance misuse, or other at-risk situations, and are in the greatest need of a support animal. The dogs serve as a healthy and friendly outlet for these students to address trauma and other social-emotional issues.
Schools that previously received therapy dogs through the Friends With Paws program include:
- Coal, a male Black Labrador, at Welch Elementary, McDowell County
- Foster, a male Golden Labradoodle, at Buckhannon Academy Elementary, Upshur County
- Jasper, a female Yellow Labrador, at Lewis County High School, Lewis County
- River, a male Yellow Labrador, at Pineville Elementary School, Wyoming County
- Shadow, a male Black Labrador, at Moorefield Elementary School, Hardy County
- Jet, a male Yellow Labrador, at Spring Mills High School, Berkeley County
In December, Wayne Elementary School in Wayne County will receive a female Apricot Labradoodle named Winnie and Green Bank Elementary-Middle School will receive a female Yellow Lab named Kasha.
Friends With Paws is currently working on placing ten dogs in CIS schools in West Virginia. In 2023, Friends With Paws plans to add additional dogs in CIS schools.
The therapy dogs will belong to each individual school and will become part of the community.
More information about Friends With Paws can be found in Communities In Schools: Friends With Paws, a documentary produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Click HERE to view the documentary.