Service dog dons cap and gown for high school graduation

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HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WXMI) — A West Michigan high school senior is preparing for graduation with a very important companion by her side. Their story has even made it to the Huffington Post.

Desi, who attends Freedom Christian High School in Hudsonville says if it wasn’t for her service six-year-old dog Walton, a golden retriever, she wouldn’t be graduating. It is why she wanted to do something for him on the big day.

That is when she got the idea to get Walton his own gown and have him walk at graduation with her. “I was like you know what I’m graduating really but Walton has done as much work as I have ya know, getting me through the day, helping me survive in school so he should graduate to.”

Desi has cerebral palsy and as she got older things got harder, she wanted more independence and that’s where Walton comes in.

“His biggest job is helping me walk and keeping me up right. Basically my balance is really bad. If I’m about to fall which I do a lot, he can sense that and he will make himself hard as rock, he rights me before I can fall,” Desi said.

Before getting Walton Desi was home schooled, “there was no way I could make it through a day walking, I have no stamina. Without him I really couldn’t have been able to do this at all.”

She’s only had Walton for four years but the bond they’ve built doesn’t show it. “It seems like such a long time, I don’t even know what I did before I had him, I don’t even know how I functioned,” she said.

Desi’s mom Laurel says she couldn’t be more proud of Desi and how hard she has worked to get to this day. “It makes a statement I think to the community that ya know anything can happen, you can accomplish anything and we can see that, Desi has done that,” she said.

Desi says shes not sure whats next for her and Walton but she would like to work at an animal shelter or rescue because not only does she love animals but that way Walton can fit right in.

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