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Therapy Dogs in Schools - National Humane Education Society

Paws Up! The therapy dog program, Friends With Paws, is placing therapy dogs in schools in West Virginia.

September 14, 2022

Friends With Paws is the first statewide therapy dog program in West Virginia, thanks to Governor Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice.  This program announced on March 25, 2022, collaborates with West Virginia Communities In Schools, and the West Virginia Department of Education. The initial goal of the program was to place ten therapy dogs in West Virginia schools in 2022, according to a recent press release. The three therapy dogs placed in the program now belong to the schools and became part of the community.

Therapy dogs will be placed in schools that are affected by poverty, substance abuse, or other at-risk situations. Schools in these types of situations are in greater need of this wonderful resource. The provided therapy dogs can be an aid and a healthy outlet when dealing with such circumstances. Therapy dogs are trained to provide comfort and support to people dealing with a wide variety of issues such as anxiety, depression, stress, loneliness, and social barriers. Research supports that the simple act of petting animals releases an automatic relaxation response.

On August 18, 2022, it was announced in a press release that the goal of placing ten therapy dogs into schools would be reached this fall, with the placement of seven more therapy dogs into schools. In March, therapy dogs were placed in McDowell County, Upshur County, and Lewis County. This fall, therapy dogs will be placed in Wyoming County, Hardy County, Berkeley County, Wayne County, Mingo County, Pocahontas County, and Greenbrier County.  Friends With Paws has a goal of placing ten more therapy dogs by the end of 2023.

Do you support Friends With Paws? Thank Governor Jim Justice!

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