New therapy dog joins elementary school in Charleston

Axelle is a 15-month-old black lab. He is the new school therapy dog at Mary C. Snow Elementary in Charleston. (WCHS/WVAH)

It was the first day of school for one classmate at Mary C. Snow Elementary School in Charleston.

Axelle, a 15-month-old black Labrador retriever, met staff and students for the first time Monday morning.

He is a therapy dog but also a successor.

The school previously had a professional therapy dog named Paca.

"(Axelle will provide) emotional support needs for my special needs students just to go around and spread the joy like Paca used to do when she was here,” said Walter Tucker, Axelle’s handler and the music teacher at Mary C. Snow.

Some students are already getting attached to Axelle.

"I love the dog super, super much. I wish I had that dog at my house,” said Masyn Wines, who is a student at Mary C. Snow.

Axelle went through a weeklong intensive training course in Kansas where he learned more than 20 commands.

The students were all smiles and giggles when they got to see his tricks.

"Mr. Tucker threw the ball, and he passed it to him. It was pretty cool," said Jadynn Trigg, who is a student at Mary C. Snow.

When Wines was asked about Axelle’s tricks, he said, “It's cool when I have a dog because school dogs - epic, and home dogs – epic. They got tricks of their own."

Students learned a secret wave to do in the hallway when they see Axelle.

Tucker said it's important so Axelle doesn't get distracted while going to work.

"It's a secret wave, and you have to do it to the dog because it's the wave you have to do so the dog knows you're saying goodbye,” Wines said.

The hope is that Axelle will spread joy throughout the school, and so far it looks like he is off to a good start.

"He's super soft, and I loved him super much,” Wines said.

Axelle lives with his handler, Walter Tucker.

He will be going to the school each day with him to provide emotional support for staff and students.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off