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WCHS welcomes Maverick, a therapy dog with Genoa Township Police Department

WCHS welcomes Maverick, a therapy dog with Genoa Township Police Department

The newest addition to Westerville Central High School joined the Warhawk community on Tuesday.

Maverick, a one-year-old English Labrador Retriever, joined his handler, School Resource Officer Joe Graham and high school administrators in welcoming students during morning arrival and greeting them during lunch. He will be dedicated to WCHS, supporting and offering comfort to students and staff during the school day.

“One of the most important things we try to do at Central is to provide a safe and welcoming environment,” Principal Dawn Sayre said. “Maverick is just another part of that process; We’re excited to have him as our newest Warkhawk.”

WCHS students and staff have been awaiting Maverick’s first day of school since Genoa Township Police started the process of bringing a therapy dog to the building two years ago. Once approved by the district, Graham acquired Maverick when he was several weeks old, working with him on his obedience and therapy dog training. 

On Monday, the Board of Education approved an addendum to the School Resource Officer MOU with Genoa Township Police, adding a therapy dog to WCHS — and clearing the way for Maverick to join his fellow Warhawks at school. 

Genoa Township Police has developed a K-9 unit over the years where dogs have been trained in patrol functions, building searches, criminal apprehension, and drug detection. Chief Stephen Gammill decided to add a therapy dog to the K-9 Program in an effort to enhance the department’s connection with the schools and community. The department’s first therapy dog, Rocky, joins his handler School Resource Officer Jason Berner at Genoa Middle School.

“A lot of people’s hard work has come to life,” Sayre said.

Maverick will spend the coming days getting acclimated to the sights, sounds and smells of his new surroundings. In addition to morning arrivals, he will be on hand during lunch and afternoon dismissal. Eventually, Graham and Sayre will work with teachers and staff to coordinate class visits and support students’ needs while making sure they feel comfortable and safe.

  • Westerville Central High School
  • Westerville City Schools

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