Dressed in a miniature graduation gown, Lunar walked across the stage with her owner, Theo O’Donnell, to cheers and applause before collecting a certificate and an animal-friendly treat.
The award recognised Lunar’s contribution to the Writtle Pet Behaviour Clinic. The successful initiative provides students with practical experience while supporting the University College’s dedication to animal welfare.
Lunar, who is a 4.5-year-old German Wirehaired pointer and Labrador cross, joined Theo in his goal to rehabilitate reactive dogs. She also took part in presentations he delivered to fellow students regarding her training.
Theo said: “I was delighted to see Lunar receive an award and to receive one of my own. Writtle has welcomed us with open arms and helped us succeed. There is a sense of community which is unmatched by any other educational institutions we have been to.”
Lunar and Theo plan to continue with their education and undertake a Master’s degree. Theo hopes to become an animal behaviourist with a recognised professional organisation.
Debbie Emmerson, lecturer in animal science and manager of the Writtle Pet Behaviour clinic, said: “Theo has been an exemplary student during his time at Writtle, in both his academic achievements as well as his dedication to the wider University community and experience.
“Lunar has supported him throughout the entire course, always being perfectly behaved in lessons and entertaining those around with her antics and very enthusiastic cuddles during break times. She has also assisted in the pet behaviour clinic working as a calm ‘stooge’ dog during the rehabilitation of reactive dogs, as well as helping to socialise and model good behaviour to staff puppies being trained for future use in lessons. I was overjoyed to see them both graduate, and whilst they will be much missed here at Writtle, we know Theo has a very bright future ahead, with Lunar at his side.”
Writtle University College has been educating students for 130 years. Its beautiful countryside campus is set in the heart of the Essex countryside and offers a wide range of university courses including animal science, animal management, equine, canine therapy and veterinary physiotherapy.