Virginia Tech awarded an honorary doctorate to a therapy dog at 2020 graduation ceremony. Like most universities, they conducted the ceremony online because of the coronavirus pandemic. During the virtual ceremony, the 8-year-old Moose Davis was given a doctorate on veterinary medicine for his service as a therapy dog. After all, Moose spent his career serving and supporting the university community as a therapy animal. In addition, Moose also serves as an ambassador for mental health awareness.
Moose was born and raised at Guiding Eyes for the Blind in New York. It was here, during his formal training, that he was diagnosed with a minor medical condition and was put up for adoption. Dr Trent Davis who was working as a counselor at Cook Counseling center adopted Moose and took cared of him.
At Virginia Tech, Dr Trent Davis set up the animal-assisted therapy program. He set up the program to help the veterinary student. And Moose has been there as a therapy dog since his first arrival at 2014. He has spent 6 years as an ambassador for mental health awareness. He has helped students cope with anxiety, trauma and other mental health issues. Above all, Moose has aided 7,500 counseling sessions and over 500 outreach events.
“The students here talk a lot about how Moose has broken down the stigma around mental health care on campus,” Trent Davis, told CNN. “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.”
Unfortunately, Moose has been facing health problems. Recently, the Labrador Retriever was diagnosed with prostate cancer. This news came just a week after his birthday (his 64th, in human years). Currently, he is receiving chemotherapy, radiation, and other therapies. Providers at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine are managing his treatment.
Derek, Carson and Wagner were his colleagues at Cook Counseling Center. They were all therapy dog at the center.
Moose enjoys swimming, and playing tug-of-war during his free time. Above all, he love eating.
Virginia Veterinary Medical Association’s named Moose as 2019’s Animal Hero for his devoted service. Now, he has an Honorary Doctorate Degree to his name.