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JoAnna Lou
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Canine High School Graduate
Service pups walks in a Michigan high school's graduation

At Freedom Christian High School in Hudsonville, Michigan, 35 students walked for graduation this year, joined by one very special service dog.

High school senior Desi has cerebral palsy and was home schooled until she got Walton, four years ago. The Golden Retriever's main job is to help Desi walk and steady her if he senses she's about to fall. Desi doesn't know how she functioned before Walton, but he now gives her the independence that other kids take for granted.

Desi gives Walton all the credit for helping her get through high school and wanted to honor him with his own cap and gown. During the graduation ceremony, both of their names were called and Walton even carried Desi's diploma in his mouth.

“I think it was a great thing for everybody else to see that he really is part of me and my accomplishments are essentially his,” says Desi. After all, he did attend all of the required classes!

Desi hasn't decided on post-graduation plans, but would love to work at an animal shelter or rescue organization. I wish this wonderful team much luck in whatever Desi decides to pursue next!

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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