Famous wiener dogs Woody and Chloe visit Danville

Published 12:04 pm Thursday, November 9, 2017

Close to 300 elementary-schoolers from school systems in Boyle County got to meet two of the most famous — and adventurous — dogs in Kentucky Wednesday, when Woody and Chloe the wiener dogs visited Danville’s newly renovated water treatment plant.

Leigh Anne Florence holds Woody while she talks to students.

Woody and his sister, Chloe, are the stars of the educational serial story “Dog Paddling Across the Bluegrass,” currently being printed in newspapers around the state, including The Advocate-Messenger, which organized Wednesday’s event.

For around 13 years, Woody and Chloe’s “mom,” Leigh Anne Florence, has been writing her award-winning serial stories about her pups’ fictional adventures, using newspapers to distribute the educational stories to students at schools around the state.

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Florence and her husband, Ron, brought the real-life Woody and Chloe to Danville’s water treatment plant Wednesday and gave multiple student groups an hour-long presentation. Students from Woodlawn, Perryville, Junction City and Hogsett elementary schools; and Danville Christian Academy attended.

A student holds out a treat for Woody to eat.

Florence answered questions about her dogs; quizzed students about Kentucky facts; and let the students show Woody and Chloe some love. She was careful not to reveal any spoilers for the students, who still have a couple chapters left to read in “Dog Paddling Across the Bluegrass.”

The current Woody and Chloe are actually the “second generation” of famous wiener dogs — the original pair have retired from traveling around the state, Florence said.

One student asked Florence about how she writes about Woody and Chloe as if they’re “children, but with paws.”

Florence and Woody pose with a class of students for a group photo.

“That is very observant,” Florence said. “I do look at them as people, especially as I’m writing about them.”

Another student asked why she decided to write stories about dogs.

“It all started just because they’re my pets,” she said. “I thought, ‘you know what, we could tell stories that kids could relate to that weren’t in the voice of kids but in the voice of dogs.”

Florence said her ideas for writing about her dogs were rejected many times before they succeeded. According to Woody’s website, thewoodybooks.com, there are eight Woody books published in addition to the serial story, which this year is sponsored by the Kentucky Press Association.

Students get a chance to pet Woody.

Florence said Woody and Chloe have traveled with her and Ron to visit 117 of Kentucky’s 120 counties, and they have a goal of visiting all 120.

Writing “Dog Paddling Across the Bluegrass” took around seven months of research in order to include as much information about Kentucky as possible, Florence said. As part of the research, she and her husband visited Boyle County to see Herrington Lake.

The series tells the story of what happens when Woody sets a goal to compete in a fishing competition. The competition is happening in Marshall County, in far western Kentucky, but Woody’s boat is in Pike County, in eastern Kentucky. So, Woody and Chloe set out to cross the state, and learn about its waterways along the way.

Water plant employee Charlie Lawson talks to students about three storage tanks for chemicals used to treat water.

Tying into the theme of water education, students got to tour the recently renovated Danville Water Treatment Plant and learn how water is taken in from Herrington Lake and treated for use.

The second-to-last chapter of Woody and Chloe’s adventure prints Monday in The Advocate-Messenger. Florence’s serial stories are made possible thanks to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Kentucky Press Association and Newspapers in Education.


See more photos from the event and order prints here.

Woody’s website is thewoodybooks.com

Woody is on Twitter as @woodykywiener

Woody is on Facebook at Facebook.com/woodykywiener