Virginia Tech’s College of Veterinary Medicine recently held their 2020 commencement ceremony. Unlike the past commencement exercises, this year was a special once because a dog joined the batch and earned the title “doctor.”
Dr. Moose, an eight-year-old Labrador retriever, becomes an honorary doctorate awardee. His owner, Trent Davis, is a licensed counselor at the Cook Counseling Center for a decade. He launched the animal-assisted therapy program to help students cope with the help of animals. Together with dogs Derek and Wagner, he worked as a therapy dog in the Cook Counseling Center since 2014.
One should never underestimate his credentials – Dr. Moose served thousands of students and assisted in 7500 counseling sessions. Besides being one of the ambassadors for health awareness, Moose is also busy attending school events such as football games, student orientations, and other club events.
With all the work he’s done in the past five years, one would agree that he earned his degree. Apart from the recognition he received this year, Moose also earned the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Hero Award in 2019.
Without a doubt, the students love all of the four therapy dogs of Cook Counseling Center. But according to Davis, Moose stands out because he has made an impact in breaking down the stigma on mental health care. It was easier for students to come up to him because they know that a dog will never judge them. And for Davis, this is crucial since there is a high rate of suicide in this profession.
Life hasn’t been easy on Dr. Moose either. This year, just after his birthday, Moose was diagnosed with prostate cancer after Davis noticed blood in Moose’s urine. He still goes to radiation treatments, but apart from that, the pup is still is happy and doing well.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, students have more difficulty arranging for therapy sessions. But the Cook Counseling Center now offers virtual sessions to the students for an hour, thrice a week, apart from the in-person meetings for students with crisis and emergency cases.
Dr. Moose is just like any regular dog who likes to play on the beach and play tug-of-war when he’s not working.
Watch Dr. Moose’s story here:
Source: Pets Ya – Stories via YouTube