PHS Welcomes Willow!
Posted on 09/18/2019
willow the service dog in a classroom The field of animal therapy continues to expand and gain popularity as a healing modality, and Plainville High School is one of many schools, country-wide, that integrates a therapy dog within the high school building. In May, Plainville High School said goodbye to Duke, the school’s second therapy dog, who accompanied Physical Education and Health Teacher, Sarah Centore, in several classes over the past three years.
This year, Centore introduced new therapy dog in training, “Willow,” who will spread positive energy and happiness throughout the building. Willow is a one-year old “chocolate lab” who was found wandering the streets in a local community, with no tags, collar, or microchip. She was available for adoption in June after no one claimed her, and has proven to be a very friendly, loveable, and energetic pup.
Different from service animals that are working animals trained to perform tasks related to a person’s disability, therapy dogs provide comfort, companionship and emotional support to those they interact with. In the past, the high school’s therapy dogs have been part of the Integrated Physical Education classes, teaching students about pet care responsibility, improving students’ social skills and enhancing physical activity time. Many students over the years have benefited from the companionship of the therapy dogs, through one on one time with the dogs, or in group settings throughout the school year. The therapy dogs have also been particularly helpful for students in coping with stressful situations over the years.
“Each of my therapy dogs has had a unique personality, but I’m excited to have Willow in the building because she’s very affectionate and loving. She loves people and attention, and her youthful enthusiasm helps lift the spirits of students and staff members,” noted Centore.
"The addition of Willow at PHS is a benefit for our students, faculty, and community. It is one of the many things that makes PHS unique and a great place to learn and work,” commented Plainville High School Principal, Carl Johnson.
You can follow Willow on Instagram at: @willow_the_school_dog