First Lady Justice announces newest Friends With Paws therapy dog for Pendleton County Middle, High School


First Lady Justice announces newest Friends With Paws therapy dog for Pendleton County Middle/High School
FRANKLIN, WV — First Lady Cathy Justice announced the state’s next therapy dog through the Friends With Paws program for Pendleton County Middle/High School.

The dog introduced is named Penny. She is a Yellow Labrador.

“Penny is going to be an amazing addition to Pendleton County Middle/High School”, First Lady Justice said. “This is a great community here in Franklin and Penny will be ready to greet each student every morning. Penny from Pendleton will be beloved!”
The Friends With Paws program places certified therapy dogs in several schools across the state, providing companionship and comfort for students in need of a boost. Since April 2022, 17 Friends With Paws therapy dogs have been placed across the state.

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.

Students and staff had the chance to greet Penny during an assembly at the school on Monday.

“Penny will join our educational community as a compassionate resource to provide comfort and emotional support for our students, fostering a positive and nurturing environment. Pendleton County Schools extends its sincerest gratitude to First Lady Justice for bringing Penny to our school,” Principal Tim Johnson said. 

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.
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
  • Kylo, a male Black Labrador, at Lenore PK-8 School, Mingo County
  • Winnie, a female Apricot and White Labradoodle, at Wayne Elementary School, Wayne County
  • Kasha, a female Yellow Labrador, at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, Pocahontas County
  • Marshal, a male Cream Labradoodle, at Hinton Area Elementary School, Summers County
  • Louie, a male Yellow Labrador, at Bridgeview Elementary School, Kanawha County
  • Oakley, a male Apricot and Cream Labradoodle, at Oakvale Elementary School, Mercer County
  • Ruby, a female Golden Retriever, at Greenbrier East High School, Greenbrier County.
  • Malfoy, a male Yellow Labrador, at Chapmanville Intermediate School, Logan County.
  • Tora, a female Yellow Labrador, at Elkins High School, Randolph County
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.

A 2019 study published by the National Institute of Health found that a dog’s presence in the classroom promotes positive mood and provides significant anti-stress effects on the body.

In addition, research shows that the simple act of petting animals releases an automatic relaxation response. Therapy animals lower anxiety and help people relax, provide comfort, reduce loneliness, and increase mental stimulation. They are also shown to lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health, reduce the amount of medications some people need, help control breathing in those with anxiety, and diminish overall physical pain, among other profound benefits.

Contact Information

Jordan Damron,; CJ Harvey,


Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

Governor's Mansion:

Flag Status

American Flag Full Staff
State Flag Full Staff

Banner Images Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce

Site Map