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The Student News Site of Wheeling Park High School

The Park Press

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Meet PARKer

Meet+PARKer

The Counseling Department just got a little bigger and a whole lot furrier. Meet Parker, Wheeling Park High School’s new therapy dog. Parker is a 10-month-old Golden Retriever who will come to school five days a week and live with Assistant Principal, Mrs. Richards, after school and on weekends.

“He is a total puppy. He is a very well-behaved puppy, but he has a lot of energy. I love his little rambunctious streak that you can kind of see,” said Mrs. Richards.

Parker was trained and given to the school through the Friends with Paws program headed by First Lady Cathy Justice. Since December 2023, the program has placed 19 dogs in schools throughout West Virginia. The Friends with Paws program strives to place therapy dogs in schools to provide an extra level of comfort and care for students who are suffering from mental health issues, struggling with trauma, or just need someone to talk to, who will show them nothing but love.

“Parker is going to be an outlet for students. We have so many students who don’t actually like to talk about their feelings. He’s gonna be a therapeutic support and you won’t have to speak to him and he can just snuggle you,” said Mrs. Unique.

As the Communities in Schools Liason, Mrs. Unique plans to utilize Parker as another resource to support students and increase positivity in the school. Similarly, Mental Health Counselor, Dr. Maloney, plans to use Parker to help those with anxiety.

Students will be able to visit Parker with any one of the eight “Parker’s People” who include, Mrs. Dailer, Mrs. Richards, Mrs. Unique, Dr. Maloney, Mrs. Jones, Ms. Kuca, Ms. Rice, and Mr. Leggett.

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