Gov. Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice announced the next seven therapy dogs that will be placed in schools across West Virginia as a part of the First Lady’s Friends With Paws initiative.

The addition of the seven dogs to Friends With Paws will bring the total number of therapy dogs placed in West Virginia through the program to nineteen.

“These therapy dogs will bring friendship, love, and support to their schools,” First Lady Justice said. “I look forward to welcoming each one and seeing the amazing work that they do for our students.”  

“You know me, I’m very in tune with what a dog can bring to all of us,” Gov. Justice said. “Babydog has done it, and I know there are a bunch of new therapy dogs that will be doing good stuff, too. I am so excited to see how these dogs will positively impact students around our state. We are going to continue helping our students and communities by providing them with the resources they need to succeed.”

Meadow, a female Yellow Labrador, will be placed at Washington Lands Elementary School in Marshall County.

First announced in March 2022, 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.

The Friends With Paws Program is a partnership between the Governor’s Office, West Virginia Communities In Schools (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.