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Virginia Tech therapy dog honored as 'Animal Hero'

Virginia Veterinary Medical Association recognizes 7-year-old lab Moose

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BLACKSBURG, Va. – A Virginia Tech therapy dog has received a big honor, named the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association's 2019 Animal Hero.

Seven-year-old yellow lab Moose has been a therapy dog in Virginia Tech's Cook Counseling Center for the past five years, sitting in on more than 5,000 counseling sessions and completing countless hours of community outreach.

"He’s worked steadfastly and really relentlessly for the last five years full-time," said Trent Davis, Moose’s handler. "He doesn't talk so everything you say is completely confidential with him. Most of all, Moose is helping reduce some of the stigma around mental health.”

Moose is one of three therapy dogs at Virginia Tech, which has now become the go-to place in the country for information on developing an animal-assisted therapy program.

"I know that I see students light up when they see them. I know that the staff lights up when they see them. I know that they brighten our day and help relieve stress," said Rami Steinruck, Cook Counseling Center psychology intern.

"To see him bless other people's lives like he has mine, it means the world to me. I'm very, very grateful for him," Davis said.

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