A fetching, furry, very good boy walked across the stage Monday to receive a diploma alongside his companion, NPR and other outlets reported.
Six-year-old Justin, a service dog for new graduate Grace Mariani, received his “dogree” at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
As Mariani made her way across the stage in a motorized wheelchair, Justin walked alongside her, wagging his tail.
Justin was sporting a “Canine Companions” zippered harness and a Seton Hall University bandana emblazoned with his name and “class of 2023.”
The heartwarming moment was caught on video and shared by Seton Hall on its social media channels. To date, the YouTube version has garnered more than 91,000 views.
The video shows Seton Hall University’s president Dr. Joseph E. Nyre, clad in academic regalia, leaning down toward Justin to allow the clever Labrador-golden retriever mix to sniff out the ribbon-tied tube.
Justin looked back at Mariani before gently taking it in the document in his mouth, briefly turning toward the camera.
As he did, the whole audience erupted in cheers. Mariani was grinning ear to ear. Dr. Nyre raised his arms in a triumphant gesture and applauded the pair.
Justin was awarded the degree for attending all of Mariani’s Seton Hall classes with her, the university wrote in its description of the video.
“When Grace was matched with Canine Companions service dog Justin, she said her dream was to go away to college and become a teacher,” said Jeanine Konopelski of Canine Companions for Independence in an email to WPVI.
Justin learned more than 45 tasks to help Mariani, Konopelski also told the outlet.
Grace Mariani of Mahwah, New Jersey, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education, graduating magna cum laude. She plans to teach in elementary school alongside Justin.
Watch the heartwarming moment service dog Justin receives his “diploma” alongside Seton Hall University graduate Grace Mariani in the video below.
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