Therapy Dog Awarded a Doctorate


Manage episode 266381565 series 2530089
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An eight-year-old therapy dog at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) was bestowed an honorary doctorate in veterinary medicine. Moose, a Labrador retriever, has been with the university since 2014. He is one of the four therapy dogs at the university’s counseling center. Trent Davis, a licensed counselor and Moose’s owner, said that his dog has helped thousands of students overcome their mental health issues and aided in over 7,500 counseling sessions. Moose has also been part of over 500 outreach events at Virginia Tech and helped raise awareness for mental health. The canine’s honorary degree comes after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer last February. Davis said that the university did not want to wait any longer to honor Moose’s service knowing that his illness may cut his life short. Moose is currently undergoing chemotherapy at the university’s veterinary hospital. According to Davis, they have been seeing positive results, and the dog remains his usual cheerful self. Before being awarded the honorary degree, Moose received the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Hero Award back in 2019 because of his contribution to mental health awareness. The award recognizes animals that have performed or continue to perform heroic service for humans. Davis hopes that Moose’s legacy will highlight the support and assistance he gave to students. Davis also wishes that through Moose, people will be encouraged to try animal-assisted therapy and the stigma attached to mental illness will be lessened.

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