Alisha Yocum

On March 19, the chairs in the Thurmont Town Meeting were filling up quickly, but not by who you may expect.

In attendance at the meeting were several four-legged friends, who were there to help the volunteers from Wags for Hope and the Thurmont Police Department announce their new partnership.

Wags for Hope is a local non-profit that provides volunteers with their pets to bring joy to the lives of others. During the meeting, Meghan Padhi, co-president of the organization, gave a brief presentation about the organization to the Thurmont Commissioners. During the presentation, she announced that they would now be partnering with the Thurmont Police Department and will use their dogs to bring stress-relief to the community through attending outreach events, visiting the police department staff, and helping in cases where community members, especially children, have experienced trauma.

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird expressed that when Kristi Woods, a Town of Thurmont employee and volunteer at Wags for Hope, brought her dog to visit him in the hospital, it really made a difference.

You may have already seen Wags for Hope volunteers and their furry friends around town, as they often visit schools and have a partnership with Frederick County Public Libraries, where children are able to read to the dogs, inspiring them to learn to read because an animal is non-judgmental and reading then becomes fun for them. The goal behind the R.E.A.D.® Program is to improve literacy skills and give children a positive association with reading.

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