Like most universities, Virginia Tech’s College of Veterinary Medicine celebrated the class of 2020 with an online commencement ceremony. But unlike other schools, they included one very good boy in the graduating class: A Dog named Moose.
The Labrador retriever, an 8-year-old therapy dog at the Cook Counseling Center, received an honorary doctorate in veterinary medicine on Friday.
Moose, who has been with Virginia Tech since 2014, is one of the school’s four therapy animals and ambassadors for mental health awareness.
Along with attending football games, club events, and new student orientations, Moose also helps students cope with anxiety, trauma and other mental health issues. The fluffy pup has helped thousands of students and assisted in more than 7,500 counseling sessions, according to his owner, licensed counselor Trent Davis.
Moose has helped out in counseling sessions with thousands of students, his owner, Trent Davis who is a licensed counselor explained that therapy dogs chiefly aid in sessions by providing extra comfort and a sense of security. In his words:
[Dogs] provide a source of comfort and grounding. For a lot of humans, unfortunately, other humans haven’t always been the best to them in their lives, so dogs can be a little bit safer.
In February, Moose was diagnosed with prostate cancer and has been undergoing treatment managed by the College of Veterinary Medicine, according to a Virginia Tech press release.
However, he is doing well and has since returned to work with fellow therapy dogs Derek, Carson, and Wagner.
Outside of this therapy career, Moose loves swimming, playing tug-of-war, and eating. He was also honored as the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association’s “animal hero” of 2019.
Moose was raised at New York’s Guiding Eyes for the Blind, but a minor medical condition prevented him from becoming a guide dog. He was then adopted by Davis and ultimately became a therapy dog.