Students at Mary C. Snow Elementary School on Charleston's West Side got to meet the school's new therapy dog Monday. Two years ago, the students said goodbye to their beloved friend Paca, who had been one of the state’s first therapy dogs to work at a school. Paca had to leave because her owner, the school’s librarian, took a job out of state.
Now, two years later, Paca’s successor has arrived. His name is Axelle.
On Monday morning, the dog's handler, music teacher Walter Tucker, introduced Axelle to students for the first time. The dog smiled, wagged his tail, and even licked some faces on his first day of work.
Axelle has been trained to specialize in helping children cope with emotional stress and trauma, and to encourage students to enjoy learning. He’ll be working with all of the students, but especially with special needs students.
The students, teachers, community members, and even students in neighboring Lincoln County, helped raise thousands of dollars to purchase Axelle from a training facility in Kansas. It was the same facility where Paca came from, and they are also the same breed and color, a black English Labrador.