Williamson County Schools gets first therapy dog

Jan 17, 2023

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Williamson County school resource officers have a new tool working to help troubled kids and anxious students.

It’s a four footed pup who is now the school district’s first therapy dog.

The 18-month-old dog’s name is Biolo, or BOLO for short; he’s a Lagotto Romangnolo, an Italian truffle hunting dog.

Bolo has since been partnered with Sgt. Jacob Morley, a 14-year veteran of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office. On Monday afternoon, the duo came to Nashville K-9 in Franklin to train.

Sgt. Morley told News 2 this is his first experience as a K-9 handler.

“I feel like it will be a huge benefit, especially with special needs students, maybe students who are having a difficult day. I took him up to Edmondson Elementary this past Friday, and it was a huge positive interaction I had with him,” Morley said.

Ali Hemyari is the CEO of Nashville K-9 who trained Bolo.

“Our jobs as trainers are to compliment the natural genetics of the animal, so the dog was innately very calm perfect for this kind of work.”

Hemyari told News 2, he originally trained Bolo for a client with special needs children. That client moved and could not keep Bolo. So together, the client and Hemyari reached out to Williamson County Schools and the sheriff’s office to donate the therapy dog to the SRO program.

Bolo will go from school to school and provide comfort for students who might be stressed or need a little loving.

“Now a days, children face different pressures than we did growing up. They have cyber bullying going on and a social media component, and that layered with quizzes and exams and athletic stressors can really overwhelm kids. So the idea is if we can give these kids an outlet to vent some of that energy and let the dog take that one with love and therapy, I think that can be a real game changer for the school system,” Hemyari said.

Nashville K-9 said Bolo the therapy dog is valued at $40,000.

Hemyari said he expects teachers and school staff to benefit from Bolo’s presence as well.