Colton High students get a new “Pal”

Local certified therapy dog visits Wellness Center as part of CHS’ Kindness Week


Annaleigha Hernandez

Students at CHS enjoyed spending time with Pal, a certified therapy dog.

Colton, CA—Today, a certificated therapy dog named Pal visited the students of Colton High School at the Wellness Center during lunch time.

This event came about as a collaboration between Colton’s PBIS committee and Evelin Villa, Director of the Wellness Center.

Meet Pal, a certified therapy dog. (J. Dollins)

Since this week is Kindness Week at CHS, the opportunity to invite Pal and his owner was just something they couldn’t pass on. Bringing a certified therapy dog on campus was a means to show a personal side of kindness. “It also involves taking care of yourself. That’s why we invited Pal.” said Villa. 

The PBIS team discovered Pal through their research into therapy dogs, which led them to reach out to the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, an organization that certifies dogs for emotional support.

The reaction from the students was great. Pal was spoiled with all the hugs and pets he got from the students. The students’ reactions were priceless, they all rushed to get their phones and take selfies with Pal. As they surrounded him, the bulldog wasn’t bothered one bit. 

“He loves all the attention he gets and doesn’t have a problem with nothing and he can handle a lot of stuff,” said Katherine Grey, Pal’s owner.

Grey is the owner and the handler for Pal. Out of her pure, wonderful heart she brings happiness and helps others, even though being a therapy dog handler isn’t her job. 

Grey has always been around dogs since she was a kid, which led to her choosing this path as a therapy dog handler. She loves being around people, as well, and making them comfortable and happy. 

A therapy dog is very different from a service dog. “A service dog works for the person holding the leash; a therapy dog works for everyone around them,” said Grey.

Katherine Grey is Pal’s owner. They spend time volunteering at local hospitals, nursing homes, and elementary schools. (Annaleigha Hernandez)

To have a therapy dog, the dog has to have a friendly temperament and has to be very well-trained. They also have to love people and enjoy company.

Pal has been training since he was four months old. He graduated from all of his obedience training at eight months, but he had to be a year old before earning his therapy dog certification.

He has been trained for many different scenarios and situations, such as maintaining self-control in noisy environments, or avoiding distractions by large objects like wheelchairs and crutches. That is very important because therapy dogs are always near a lot of people, and there’s always something new going on to draw their attention. 

Pal and Katherine spend a lot of time volunteering at Kaiser Medical Center in Fontana most of the time. Sometimes they go to nursing homes and elementary schools, but Kaiser is their main spot.

After all the work supporting people’s emotional needs, Pal needs rest just like everyone else. When he goes home, he rests and becomes a pet. 

However, once it’s time to work, he is ready to go. Once he has his therapy leash on, he knows he’s working, ready to brighten faces and days.