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Chief happiness officer recognized by state senator

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(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) State senator Tony Luetkemeyer recognized Noyes Home for Children's new "chief happiness officer" Thursday evening.

A French Bulldog named "Newt" took on that title and serves as a companion animal for the children seeking refuge from crisis at Noyes.

It's not often that a state representative pays a visit to St. Joseph, but after hearing Newt's story, Missouri state senator Luetkemeyer knew he had to do something special.

"I was just reading some of the local news here in St. Joe and I saw the story; my wife and I actually read it together one morning whenever we were at the kitchen table, and we are big lovers, and so I just felt this was a great way to welcome him to the community on behalf of the Missouri legislature, and so a resolution seemed to be very fitting to welcome him to St. Joe,” Luetkemeyer said. 

The award was well deserved as Newt takes his job as "chief happiness officer'' at Noyes Home for Children very seriously.

"What he's able to do when a child is really struggling, without saying, obviously, any words, he can just come in and be that calm presence and give them unconditional love and attention, and I think it's phenomenal what pets can do anywhere, in any  home, but especially in a home where they're already in a really tough situation. He can bring a level of comfort that it can take a long time for a human to be able to establish,” Noyes Executive Director Chelsea Howlett said. 

That level of comfort Newt provides to the children at Noyes is exactly what Senator Luetkemeyer feels a place like this needs.

"Kids who are in foster homes often times they come out of broken families and there may be a lot of stress and a lot of trauma in their life, and so a dog really brings that peace and comfort to people, anybody that's a dog owner I think would tell you that and so having a dog at the Noyes Home to bring peace and comfort to these kids, I think that's just a great thing,” Luetkemeyer said. 

Although Newt is still a fairly new addition, the way he interacts with the kids and how he makes them feel has been life changing for the home.

"It's the joy, the almost instantaneous joy for almost all of the kids. We had emergency placements of a brother and sister just this past week, and it was very abrupt, it was unplanned, they had no idea what was happening, and they were able to come to Noyes Home and instantly bond with this pup who doesn't know their story, but just knows they need love and connection,” Howlett said. 

Noyes is always accepting donations for Newt as well as the home in general.

For more information on how to support the organization click the link below. 


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