By Luke Kenton
This adorable service dog received its own honourary cap at her owner’s graduation – a thank you for helping her through university as she battled mental health issues.
Casey Bruno, 22, says she’s suffered from anxiety and depression for as long as she can remember, but when a Dalmatian pup named Paisley came into her life two years ago, “everything changed,” she said.
Crediting meeting her best friends and boyfriend thanks to Paisley, Casey also managed to graduate from the University of Central Florida on August 3rd – an achievement she admits would’ve never been possible if not for her doting sidekick.
Spending 90 percent of her day by Casey’s side, Paisley would attend lectures and seminars alongside her owner – and she proved to be quite the hit among her classmates.
Trained to sense an incoming anxiety attack or read her owner’s mood, the two-year-old puppy nuzzles into Casey side instinctively, acting as an instant source of comfort to calm her down.
Owing her “entire college experience” to Paisley, Casey decided to pay thanks to her beloved Dalmatian by making Paisley her very own graduation cap – which the pair donned during an adorable photoshoot.
With the university even issuing Paisley her very own doggy diploma via Twitter, Casey insists it’s the least she deserves.
Veterinary medicine graduate Casey, from Orlando, Florida, recalled: “If I didn’t have her [Paisley], I don’t know where I’d be – honestly.
“Since she’s been with me through all of this, I came up with the idea for her to have her own cap.
“I knew I wanted a paw print on mine to associate with me wanting to be a vet, so I thought it would be cute to have a handprint on hers.
“It represented how I was dedicated to her and her dedication to me throughout college.
“I would owe pretty much my [whole] graduation to Paisely.
“She’s broadened my horizons and allowed me to do thing I never thought I’d be able to do.
“She’s definitely given me my entire college experience and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.
“You can’t be mad, sad, or frustrated when she’s right next to you because she’s such a happy dog – she’s so in touch with other people’s emotions.
“Anxiety is a big issue for a lot of people, and having a service dog has let me open up to people and realize things can get better, and that I can do anything I put my mind to.”