Moose, the therapy dog, has been honored for his years of service at Virginia Tech. The Labrador Retriever received an honorary doctorate degree along with the graduating class of 2020 at the University.
The 8-year-old doggy has “been working at Virginia Tech in the Cook Counseling Center (as well as at the veterinary college) since late 2013 – 6.5 years now.”
Licensed Professional Counselor, and Moose’s owner, Trent Davis talked to The Koala. He said, “Moose was originally bred and trained at Guiding Eyes for the Blind in New York to be a guide dog for a sight-impaired person”.
However, he was released because of a medical condition. Davis then adopted Moose and made him a therapy dog instead.
Moose helps the students at Virginia Tech who suffer from anxiety and trauma. Davis also said, “He [Moose] has a perfect personality for therapy work – so calm and collected and gentle. The student response to Moose and the rest of the therapy dog team (now four dogs) has been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic.”
On May 15 Moose was awarded an honorary degree for his incredibly long service,. The veterinary college felt that Moose’s service to the students and staff there has been invaluable and wanted to acknowledge this in a significant way.
“Moose has been a part of this year’s graduating class of veterinarians since they entered vet school four years ago. From orientation to vet school, the white coat ceremony and the intervening years until graduation.”
However, in February Moose, the therapy dog, was diagnosed with prostatic carcinoma. He has since undergone a full protocol of advanced radiation treatments. And will be continuing with chemotherapy for another couple of months. His owner Davis also mentioned that Moose will be on strong anti-inflammatory medication for the rest of his life.
However, the loyal dog has not let his health affect his work. He has continued to work throughout his treatments. Moose works individually and in groups with students.
Davis also added, “Moose’s greatest contribution may be ultimately in helping to reduce the stigma often associated with mental illness and seeking mental health care.”