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‘Puppy therapy’ brings smiles to students

Three adorable 12-week-old yellow lab puppies visited the School of Social Work on Feb. 29, from the UNC Peer Assisted Wellness Support (PAWS) shelter-to-pet program at the Puppy Development Center at Penny Lane. The program is based within the UNC Department of Psychiatry’s Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health.

The puppies are future service dogs. They visit schools, hospitals, retirement homes and other community venues, which contributes to their training goals. Following their time at the Center, the puppies go to a women’s correctional facility in West Virginia where inmates help train them to become service dogs that will be matched to veterans.

This visit was organized by the School of Social Work students’ self-care caucus. For more information about the Puppy Development Center or to schedule a visit, contact Sunny Westerman at