BLUEFIELD, VA (WOAY) – Bluefield College is excited to receive their first ever therapy dog trainee. Hazel the white Labrador is just nine weeks old and comes from Texas.
Hazel is owned by Dr. Jessica Sharp, the Dean of Nursing at Bluefield College. It was Dr. Sharp’s idea to train Hazel as a therapy dog as an added service to the students.
“She’s going to be our emotional support dog for the college,” Sharp said. “For students, faculty, staff and every one of us.”
Hazel is named after Brig. Gen. Dr. Hazel Johnson-Brown, the first Black chief of the Army Corps and first Black female brigadier general. After her retirement, she was a professor of nursing at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and then George Mason University in Virginia. And Sharp was a student of Johnson-Brown while she attended George Mason University.
According to Sharp, Hazel is expected to bring a ray of sunshine to the campus and help students in need.
“Everyone needs a little support. I have been amazed at the people that come to my office and say can I see Hazel. It brings a smile to people’s faces when they see a dog. It’s amazing.”
Hazel is not a fully-fledged therapy dog just yet. She needs to complete four different training courses in six-week increments. After that, she’ll be ready to support the students of Bluefield College.