Sign In

Therapy Dog Gets Honorary Doctorate

May 20, 2020

An 8-year-old therapy dog named Moose was among the graduates at this year’s virtual commencement ceremony at Virginia Tech — and this good boy has a lot to celebrate.

Moose, who came to Virginia Tech in 2014, received an honorary doctorate in veterinary medicine on Friday, the university said. He is one of four dogs who work at the school’s Cook Counseling Center, serving as working therapy animals and ambassadors for mental health awareness. The Labrador retriever has aided in more than 7,500 counseling sessions and over 500 outreach events in his six years at Virginia Tech, according to his owner Trent Davis, the coordinator of animal-assisted therapy and a counselor at the center.

Recently, Moose has faced a challenging few months after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer just a week after his birthday in February.

The pup began radiation, chemotherapy and other therapies at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, a joint venture of Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland at College Park.

Moose continues to receive chemotherapy and has been given a “pawsitive” prognosis, the school said.

He has since has returned to work with canine colleagues Derek, Carson and Wagner, whose humans are all staff members at the counseling center, helping to reduce the stigma often associated with mental illness.

In 2019, the fluffy pup was honored with the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Hero Award, an honor given to an animal that has performed “a heroic act of service or provides daily outstanding service for humans.”

“Moose loves you if you’re super smart, and he loves you if you got an F. He loves you if you’ve been in the hospital, and he loves you if you’re a sports star,” Davis said of the honor. “Moose doesn’t care if you have a mental health concern. He doesn’t care if you got an A or a B or if you didn’t get into college … That’s got a magic to it.”

When Moose isn’t working, he enjoys swimming, playing a classic game of tug of war, and most of all, eating.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Izzy The Therapy Dog

    There is something different strolling the halls of schools in Moody this year and she’s soft, gentle and loves kids. Her name is Izzy and she is a two-year-old Goldendoodle, turned therapy dog. Her owner, Sgt. Ron Richardson, with the Moody Police Department, saw a video of a therapy dog being used in Cullman County […]

    Read more

    Animal Advocate

    Penny, a spaniel mix who works as a canine advocate for domestic violence victims through Crisis Center North, is nearing retirement. She was adopted from Action for Animals in Derry Township and attends court dates with victims to provide emotional support. But before she retires, she has one more job. She needs to train an […]

    Read more

    Dog Chow Campaign

    In honor of National Service Dog Awareness Month, Purina Dog Chow is launching its third annual “Service Dog Salute” campaign. A service dog can be life-changing in helping veterans with PTSD and other post-combat challenges. Unfortunately, due to the cost and time it takes to train a service dog, less than 1% of veterans in […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog In School

    A Derry primary school this week welcomed a new member of staff – its very own therapy dog. Joy will be used to provide comfort and reassurance to pupils at St Oliver Plunkett Primary School after studies have shown that therapy dogs have a positive impact on children’s mood and behaviour. St Oliver Plunkett is […]

    Read more

    Polices Therapy Dog

    The Great Barrington police department is holding a swearing in ceremony Friday for its new therapy dog, Officer Beko. Beko is a 16-week old black lab and works with Officer Kris Balestro. Beko’s training, certification and care are funded by donations from the local community. Officer Beko is the first therapy dog to join a […]

    Read more

    BarkBox Launching Essentials

    If your dog loves to monitor your work when you’re cooking, generally gets underfoot the entire time and sees “taste tester” as their official title, these new dog toys may be essential in your kitchen. Starting Oct. 1, Bed, Bath & Beyond is introducing a new line, specifically tailored to your dog’s kitchen needs. In […]

    Read more