School used to be a struggle for Te-onno White, and then the 5th grader met Paca, a therapy dog. Paca helps Te-onno with the stress of his day and gives him confidence.
“If I need to calm down my teacher says that I can come into the library and pet and read to Paca until she falls asleep,” said White.
Paca spends her day in the library with librarian Debbie Cannada, who was inspired by a similar program she found out about in New York. Cannada raised the money and traveled across country for training to bring Paca to her school.
Paca came from a facility in Kansas called C.A.R.E.S that specializes in training therapy dogs, assistance dogs and search and rescue dogs. Paca received some of her training from an inmate through a partnership with the Ellsworth Correctional Facility in Kansas.
Paca has been an important part of the school since it opened a few years ago. The black Labrador Retriever has a way of finding the people who need her comfort the most.
“She will minister to those people who are in need, literally by forcing you to pet her,” said Cannada. “Many of the children in this school live in a neighborhood where there is crisis and turmoil and they see and experience that every day. And she is just one more way that we can love kids.”