DURBAN – Universities across the globe have taken to the trend of online graduations for their 2020 graduates due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a university in the United States of America decided to honour their furry attendant with his own honorary doctorate.
Moose an 8-year-old Labrador retriever, who is a therapy dog at the Cook Counselling Centre, received his honorary doctorate in veterinary medicine on May 15. He has been attending Virginia Tech’s College of Veterinary Medicine since 2014 and is one of the university’s four therapy animals and ambassadors for mental health awareness.
Moose has helped thousands of students to cope with mental health issues like anxiety and trauma. According to Moose’s owner Trent Davis, a licensed counsellor, Moose has assisted in more than 7 500 counselling sessions. Davis launched the animal-assisted therapy program to help students with a different form of comfort.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the students are unable to visit Moose and the other therapy animals. However, Davis assured that the centre offers 1-hour therapy sessions, 3 days a week during office hours.
Davis told CNN: "Some humans haven't had the best experience with other humans or even other dogs. In both those cases, Moose provides a very safe and comforting force in the room. These students see Moose as someone who's going to accept them. They don't worry about him judging them."