Therapy Dog Receives Honorary Doctorate

While most graduation ceremonies have been moved to online during the pandemic, Virginia Tech’s commencement ceremony included a special honorary degree. The university bestowed an honorary doctorate degree on a university therapy dog named Moose.

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Moose is so happy to serve the Hokie Nation, sharing smiles, tail wags, and his calming presence. On Friday, he humbly accepted an honorary doctorate from @vamdvetmed. We often say that we will never know Moose’s full impact. He is beloved by so many. The story of his DOG-torate has been making a splash nationally and internationally, and we are thrilled to know that Moose’s story is bringing hope and smiles to people all over the world. Moose leads his junior colleagues, Wagner, Derek, and Carson as the therapy dog team continues to serve at VT. #utprosim . Congratulations, Dr. Moose! See links in bio. @virginia.tech @vtmdvetmed @studentsatvt @cookcounselingcenter @vtrecsports @hokiewellness @hokiesports @servicedogsva @guidingeyes @camilleschrier @the_hokiebird @vtgrowley #hokies @hokiepets @huffpost @goodmorningamerica @hodakotb @todayshow @latenightseth @fallontonight @theellenshow @colbertlateshow

A post shared by Moose, Derek, Wagner & Carson (@vttherapydogs) on

The 8-year old therapy dog is employed by the school’s Cook Counseling Center. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in veterinary medicine during the school’s virtual graduation ceremony.

Moose has been employed with the university since 2014, and is currently one of four therapy dogs and mental health ambassadors. This is not the first honor that has been awarded to Moose. In 2019, he received the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Hero Award.

“The students here talk a lot about how Moose has broken down the stigma around mental health care on campus. Veterinarians are unfortunately a very challenged population. They have high rates of suicide, and this profession can be quite disturbing. He has really helped the students and staff at Virginia Tech and has gotten a lot of recognition for that,” Moose’s owner Trent Davis said.

Amid coronavirus, Moose is battling his own health issues. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February one week after his birthday. Moose is still receiving chemotherapy treatments while continuing his work as a therapy dog. What a “pawfessional!”