Disabled Student's Service Dog Attends Graduation in Cap and Gown

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The collective heart of the Internet melted this week when photos surfaced of a disabled college graduate with her service dog, both wearing a cap and gown.

The dog, Hero, delighted graduates at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's commencement ceremony when he appeared in full academic regalia. A Reddit user posted a photo of Hero and his owner, Bridget Evans, at their graduation ceremony. The Redditor wrote, "One of the graduates today had her service dog with her who was also in a cap and gown."

Evans saw the photo and identified herself, sharing another photo of herself and Hero in their academic dress.

Evans, who uses a wheelchair, offered more information about Hero, saying he knows more than 40 commands to assist her. "He loves to retrieve objects for me, like envelopes, pens, my crutches, etc. He also turns off the lights, opens doors, and he pulls me in my wheelchair up ramps! I couldn't have gone to college without him," Evans said. She added that Hero enjoyed the ceremony and all the attention he received, pausing for pictures with other graduates "every 10 feet."

Evans said she and Hero both earned their master's degrees. She is the founder of Illini Service Dogs, a service-dog program based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2010. The service allows college students to train service dogs from puppyhood to placement, and offers the dogs free of charge to people with disabilities.

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Cora Robertson-Dunca

Congrats!!!!to both of you he is a Hero

May 18 2013 at 1:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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