New therapy dog at Falling Branch Elementary stealing hearts

Summer visits the school every Monday and Friday to interact with students

We first introduced you to 'Summer,' Falling Branch Elementary's therapy dog the week leading up to school starting

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – Students at Falling Branch Elementary School get quite the treat when Summer the therapy dog comes to school.

Summer took over as the school’s therapy dog for this school year. She and her owner, Nina, come to the building each Monday and Friday to meet with students and give the kids some extra love.

Summer’s name is also very special as she was named after the school’s librarian, Summer Cox-Chong.

“Teared up. It was very sweet, it was really moving to know that Nina and Lyle thought so much of me to name the next therapy dog after me. It was really sweet,” Cox-Chong said.

WSLS 10 introduced Summer when we heard about her up-and-coming job. She’s having to fill some pretty big paw prints as the former dog, Lyle, was loved so much by the school and the community.

In the new role, Summer starts her day by greeting more than 600 kids when they walk through the building. Then, she meets with some students individually to have them read to her or just lay on their laps.

First grader Marlee loves when Summer comes to school.

“I like to pet her,” Marlee said.

Not only is the dog all about loving the kids, but the students themselves are learning to be kind to one another because of Summer.

“Ugh ... Well a kid put it best right, they teach kindness. They teach us how to be respectful of each other ‘cause they’re only showing kindness to us and that’s what we show back to the dogs,” Cox-Chong said. “She can be a distraction but in the best way. Like usually it’s just to give her a hug and a pat and a love and they’re back to what they were doing.

Only a couple of months into her new job, Summer is doing fantastic.

While some kids will still call her Lyle, she has already filled those paw prints with those of her own.


About the Author:

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.