Stephanie Henkel, Global Animal
Bridget Evans and her service dog named Hero received a resounding applause as they crossed the podium to accept her master’s degree from the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
The pair attended the commencement ceremony in matching royal blue caps and gowns in honor of their accomplishments together.
During their time at the university, the six-year-old chocolate lab helped Evans maneuver through campus, and thanks to Hero’s help, the two never missed a class.
Evans, who lives with a condition called spina bifida, has made an incredibly positive impact at the U of I Urbana-Champaign campus with the start of her Illini Service Dog Program.
In 2010, Evans launched the program to provide opportunities for college students to train service dogs for people with disabilities. The goal of the compassionate project is to supply the trained canines to people at no charge.
Pictures of the duo on their graduation day have gone viral, and comments have been overwhelmingly positive. Evans even chimed in herself, discussing Hero’s knowledge of over 40 commands to assist her and how she could not have gone to school without him.
The amazing pair has touched the hearts of many with their unmistakable spirit, and undoubtedly, the twosome have very bright futures ahead of them.