8-year-old Dog Gets Honorary Degree for providing medical counseling
8-year-old Labrador retriever has worked as a therapy dog at Virginia Tech’s Cook Counseling Center since 2014. Now, his years of service to students are being celebrated with an honorary degree from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, which is operated by Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland at College Park. Moose was granted the degree at a virtual commencement ceremony on Friday.
“Born and raised at Guiding Eyes for the Blind in New York, Moose was adopted by Dr. Trent Davis, a counselor and coordinator of the university’s Animal-Assisted Therapy program. Named the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association’s 2019 animal hero for his service, Moose helps reduce the stigma often associated with mental illness and…[has] participated in more than 7500 individual and group counseling sessions and have completed countless hours of outreach.”
Virginia Techtold ABC Newsthat therapy dogs provide comfort and a sense of security during individual counseling sessions, helping those suffering. “[Dogs] provide a source of comfort and grounding,” he said. “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. However, he is doing well and has since returned to work with fellow therapy dogs Derek, Carson and Wagner.