POCAHONTAS, WV (WVNS) – Green Bank Elementary-Middle School hosted a “Pup Rally” to celebrate the arrival of Kasha — a Yellow Labrador and the state’s next therapy dog through the Friends With Paws Communities In Schools program.

Yesterday, December 1, 2022, marked Kasha the therapy dog’s first day with the school. Green Bank Elementary-Middle School has been ready for Kasha’s arrival, and First Lady Cathy Justice was there to accompany her arrival to the school.

“Everyone at Green Bank has been waiting for her arrival for a long time, and I know Kasha will be a great benefit to the students!”

First Lady Cathy Justice

First announced in March, 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. The Friends With Paws program places certified therapy dogs in CIS schools across the state, providing companionship and comfort for students in need.

Therapy dogs are put in schools in CIS counties where students are heavily 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 outlet for students to address trauma and other social-emotional issues.

Dogs placed earlier this year 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

The seven new schools receiving therapy dogs in the fall are:

  • Pineville Elementary School, Wyoming County, will receive a male Yellow Labrador named River.
  • Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, Pocahontas County, will receive a female Yellow Labrador named Kasha.
  • Greenbrier East High School, Greenbrier County, will receive a male Cream/White Labradoodle named Marshal.
  • Moorefield Elementary School, Hardy County, will receive a male Black Labrador named Shadow.
  • Spring Mills High School, Berkeley County, will receive a male Yellow Labrador named Jet.
  • Wayne Elementary School, Wayne County, will receive a female Apricot Labradoodle named Emily.
  • Lenore Elementary School, Mingo County, will receive a male Black Labrador named Kylo.

In 2023, Friends With Paws also plans to place ten additional dogs in CIS schools in West Virginia.