Farewell Rose and Penny

The School-Based Facility Canines, Rose and Penny, have left LHS to find new homes.


Photo courtesy of Bella Jeffers

Regan Johnston and Emma Stauffer

After only a few weeks at our school as official School-Based Facility Canines, Rose and Penny had to leave. Rose left on August 29 and Penny left on August 30.

Now that the dogs have left, many students are wondering why they had to leave.

Spanish teacher Abra House, who was Penny’s handler, noticed that both Penny and Rose were showing signs of stress in the school environment. She described the dogs as being on edge and not knowing how to act around students.

Special education teacher Dannie Ravenscraft, who was Rose’s handler, explained that the reason for Penny and Rose’s behavior was that their specific breed, the Weimaraner, was not a great type of dog to put in a place with lots of people because it usually bonds with only one person.

Even though they cared for the dogs deeply, principal April Adams, House and Ravenscraft decided the best course of action would be to give Penny and Rose back to Warriors Best Friend, an organization that trains service dogs to help veterans, to be put up for adoption as normal dogs.

“Penny’s going to be a great dog for a family or person, she’s going to protect them and love them, but I think it was really hard for her to try to be family to 2,000 people,” House said.

Though many students and teachers were aware of the dogs, they may not know where they came from, or what their original purpose was.

Rose and Penny came from a dog-training service called Warriors Best Friend. Penny was the first dog that came to LHS last year with 2019 graduate Reggie Parks. Parks socialized her among students and at home as part of her training to be a service dog. After last semester, she was supposed to go back to Warriors Best Friend to be adopted, but Adams saw potential in the way Penny affected people at the school.

Photo of Penny courtesy of Bella Jeffers

Because of Penny’s positive influence on the school, Adams started what is known today as the School-Based Facility Canine Program to incorporate dogs into our school to create a more relaxed and stress-reduced environment.

“Canines can come in and help provide support not only in the overall school environment, but be an asset in reducing anxiety and be available to add a level of comfort to the environment,” Adams said.

After creating the program, Adams wanted to have another canine at LHS. Penny’s sister, Rose, would soon be added.

“Throughout the summer I worked with Warriors Best Friend on narrowing down which one of the sisters I would get,” Ravenscraft said. “They decided that Rose would be the best for me, my home and this school.”

At the beginning of this school year, Rose and Penny immediately started their roles as School-Based Facility Canines.

“Rose was a super asset to her classroom because students with severe anxiety were seeking out Rose to self soothe,” Adams said. “In Ms. House’s classroom, she had

developed her curriculum around Penny. A lot of the language that they were learning in their Spanish classes had to do with pet care, pet help and those kinds of things.”

Even though Rose and Penny have left, Adams isn’t giving up on the School-Based Facility Canine program.

“Joe Jeffers, who is the founder of Warriors Best Friend and his daughter, Bella Jeffers, who is the lead trainer, are scouting area shelters to find us a selection of four canines that we can start working with and see who will be the best fit for our school,” Adams said.

Though Rose and Penny are gone, the students they impacted will always remember them.

“Penny made me happier,” sophomore Sara Langston said. “I had something to look forward to when I came to school.”

When Langston found out Penny was leaving, she was dismayed.

“House told us Penny couldn’t stay here anymore. So the whole hour I was zoned out and really upset about it,” Langston said. “I hope that she does get a good home and I hope that she can stay in Liberty. I wish the best for her.”

Pancakes for Paws

This year, Be Kind and Unwind Club has taken over the responsibilities of Lumberjack club, serving pancakes every Friday morning. A portion of the money made through membership sales will go to benefit the future dogs coming to our school soon. Pancakes are free for the first Friday of every month. In order to eat pancakes every Friday morning, you must purchase a yearly membership for $10.

Photo by Charlene Nguyen