Founder, Executive Director and
Kyria Henry was raised with her father’s German Shepherds, and successfully convinced her family to “cross-over” to the Golden Retriever breed, receiving her first puppy when she was 10 years old.
Since that time, Kyria has been enveloped in the world of dog training, dabbling in disciplines such as advanced obedience, agility, rally, behavior modification, and scent work; but her true love and expertise is Assistance Dogs.
Kyria founded paws4people in 1999. During middle school, high school, and college, Kyria worked with her certified Therapeutic Facility and Educational Facility Dogs in nursing homes, hospitals, and special education classrooms. Kyria graduated from West Virginia University summa cum laude from the Honors College with Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Religious Studies, and Speech Pathology and Audiology, with a specialization in Disability Studies. She then attended Bergin University of Canine Studies, earning a certification in Service Dog Education. While managing multiple Assistance Dog Training Programs, Kyria completed a Master’s Degree from Liberty University in Human Services-Marriage and Family Counseling, during which she assisted in the development of cutting-edge utilization of Psychiatric Medical Alert Assistance Dogs as adjunct therapeutic interventions within Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure Therapy techniques.
Kyria was a 2010 Glamour Magainze Woman of the Year finalist; the winner of the 2011 IKEA Life Improvement contest; the winner of WILMA Magazine’s Women to Watch in 2014; the National Points of Light award in 2015; and the 2017 Coastal Entrepreneur Award – Non-profit in 2017.
Kyria serves as Executive Director of paws4people. She is the Program Director and Instructor of the University of North Carolina Wilmington Assistance Dog Training Program, the first and only comprehensive Assistance Dog academic certificate program at a state university. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry.
Most importantly, she is mom to her Ambassador Assistance Dog, WYATT, and her Scent Detection Facility Dog In-Training, HOBBS.