Millions of students graduate from high school or college each year. And over in Baltimore, at least one member of the 2019’s graduating class is a dog.
Earlier this week, a golden retriever named Chief donned a custom cap and gown to accept his diploma alongside owner and fellow University of Maryland-Baltimore graduate, Erica Haschet.
But this popular pooch, who also moonlights as USBC’s mascot, wasn’t just walking for moral support (though he offers plenty of that, too). The 2-year-old dog is also Haschert’s official service dog.
“He has helped me so much to get to this point. It’s only fitting he gets to walk with me,” Haschert told 11 News.
Haschert found Chief when he was a puppy, when she decided to seek a qualified canine to help manage chronic pain and some mental health issues. Now Chief helps Haschert with everything from managing her heart rate to waking up for class in the morning.
“He knows my every move before I even think it sometimes,” Haschert said of her trusty companion. “I joke, he’s my tattletale on my body, so he lets me know before stuff happens before usually any of the medical devices can pick it up, which is incredible.”
Nor is this freshly-certified duo wasting any time entering the workforce. The pair already have jobs lined up at the Department of Defense, where Hashert will apply her new degree in mechanical engineering. (Chief, per usual, will offer unwavering assistance and support).
“I’m just super looking forward to starting my next chapter in my life with him by my side until he wants to stop working,” Haschert said.
J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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