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HSU physical therapy students train new pup after ‘graduating’ Greer

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Remember the dog who graduated from Hardin-Simmons University (HSU) physical therapy program in December? Well, since Greer’s graduation, a new pup has been roaming the halls of HSU in his place.

Meet Dio. Some HSU students told KTAB/KRBC that his name stands for protectiveand they make sure that it bears this name.

“She’s going to have such a positive impact on their lives,” encouraged Dr. Janelle O’Connell, Dean of Professor in HSU’s Department of Health Professions and Physical Therapy (PT).

Since graduating, Greer has been in professional training with Canine Companions, where the pros will decide where she can best help someone in need.

Deciding to take another dog for the PT program, a freshman PT student vouched for the move.

“There’s an aspect where you wonder whether or not you can do this,” student Cameron Matocha explained.

Matocha has been able to get to know Greer since August, including: “To have this whole process to be able to train another dog to Greer’s level is going to be quite an experience.”

Students will be assigned a shift to look after Dion, which involves either bringing her to class with them or, sometimes, driving her home.

“It’s definitely a full day when you have her, but knowing that you’re training her, and she’s not just there, makes it a lot easier,” said fellow student Weston Hickman. freshman in PT.

Hickman told KTAB/KRBC that puppy face was worth it and even helped him deal with stress at times.

“You just walked out, and that’s it,” Hickman shook his head. “Just smile.”

Dr. O’Connell said Dion’s presence is an important part of her students’ education, as she got to see how it helped the class that just graduated.

“They made a commitment,” insisted Dr O’Connell. “They have fulfilled their commitment and understand the impact a dog can have on someone’s life.”

Although Greer’s departure is bittersweet, O’Connell said she knows she will do great things.

“She will learn how to turn the lights on and off, she will get out of bed and hold a toothbrush for a quadriplegic so he can brush his teeth,” Dr O’Connell added.

Dion will be with HSU’s PT department for 14-16 months and will learn approximately 40 commands.

On Wednesday, the department will host a going away party for Greer, who has already completed those tasks.


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