Pioneering Paws: Service Dog Makes History by ‘Graduating’ with a Master’s Degree, Uplifting Hearts Everywhere

When it comes to companionship, service dog Noodle is an expert. She’s stuck loyally by her mom, Jacklyn’s, side since 2020, constantly monitoring her for medical emergencies.

The intelligent yellow Lab completed a series of training courses to qualify for the role, but when Jacklyn applied for a master’s degree a few years ago, Noodle’s life became even more studious.

Noodle was happy to go to college with her mom every day. But she had no idea that, in doing so, she would make history multiple times.

“She was the first and only dog to walk for Purdue University’s graduation this year,” Jacklyn told The Dodo.

Noodle loved accompanying her mom to class. The sweet girl usually slept by Jacklyn’s feet while their professor’s voice rang out throughout the room. When she wasn’t napping, Noodle smiled her way through each lecture and supported her mom through every homework assignment.

Studying for a masters in business administration was tough work, but Noodle knew just how to help her mom get through it all. Things got even better when the duo accepted an internship at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Noodle was a Disney World expert by the time she and Jacklyn arrived for their internship program in 2022. The two had visited the theme park often, and Noodle was already known for her adorable interactions with the park’s cast members. This time, Noodle and Jacklyn became cast members themselves.

Just like with Purdue University’s graduation ceremony, Noodle became the first canine Imagineer in Florida, as reported by Disney Parks Blogs. And she took her historic role very seriously.

You can watch Noodle work hard here:

Over the following year, Jacklyn worked as a professional intern in the Imagineering department. In between assignments and projects, Jacklyn and Noodle made sure to explore the parks. Whether they spent the day in the office or roaming around the Magic Kingdom, Noodle always had a blast by her mom’s side.

As much as she loved being an intern, the sweet girl couldn’t wait to accompany her mom to graduation.

Noodle and Jacklyn eventually completed their internship at Disney World and returned to Indiana to receive their diploma. Even though Jacklyn did most of the logistical work on her own, she couldn’t help but feel that Noodle played a huge role in their success. So, when decorating her cap for graduation, Jacklyn came up with the perfect way to honor her trusted companion.

Jacklyn’s cap read, “I used my Noodle,” while her dog’s cap read, “Hi, my name is Noodle.” Then, she completed Noodle’s cap with a special adornment.

“She got her very own tassel from the university,” Jacklyn said.

Noodle walked proudly in Purdue University’s graduation ceremony, wearing a fitted black gown and her aptly labeled cap. When it was over, the accomplished girl celebrated the best way she knew how.

“She enjoyed sticks after the ceremony,” Jacklyn said.

Jacklyn and Noodle are now enjoying their life together post-graduation, reminiscing often on their experience as grad students. Their time at Purdue University was fun, but they’re already looking forward to a future filled with new experiences.

Sia

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