College In Florida Honors the Companion Animals of Students With …

Everyone needs a bit of help from a friend now and then.

The 27 animals “graduating” from Florida’s Eckerd College were truly a vital and friendly part of their owners’ school experience.

For the past five years, the college has officially honored the companion animals of their graduating seniors with their own ceremony.

This year alone: the scaly, furry and prickly class of 2017 included 10 dogs, nine cats, three rats, a snake, a guinea pig, a desert tortoise, a parakeet and a hedgehog.

During the May 9 ceremony, each of the animals, a few of whom were wearing caps and gowns, were individually called to the stage, where they were met with cheers from attending students, staff, and family.

Once on stage, each graduate received an Eckerd College ID tag and also a certificate from the school’s president Donald Eastman.

“This really is one of my favorite events at Eckerd College,” said Eastman in a statement. “[This event] tells you more about what sort of place this is than any other,” the president said.

Eckerd College has an extensive history of showing respect to pets and the role they play in our lives. Eckerd was the first school in America to accept on-campus pets, understanding that they truly do improve student life on campus.

Since starting the separate ceremony back in 2013, over 190 animals have ‘graduated’ from Eckerd College.