Working dogs are the stars of 2017 commencement season

Why celebrate graduation with mere humans when your dog can join in on the fun? One college grad made sure his canine had the perfect way to honor his achievement.

Josh Bernal recently left his college days at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley behind, complete with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science, according to Mashable. The publication reported that his friend, Ashley, handed over an outfit for his chihuahua, Attila, as a graduation present.

Bernal even posted photos on Twitter this past weekend.

This dog is all dressed up for graduation

“At first it was hard to keep the cap on her because the strap was a little too loose, but she’s used to me putting her in outfits so she was a good sport,” Bernal told Mashable.

But even Attila eventually sought freedom from her graduate robe. Check out this video Bernal tweeted a few days later.

Working dogs on a path to greatness

Just like Attila, these dogs get high scores in the cuteness department, but come with an added reason to remember their stories — they do inspiring work.

These canines are all ears

Dexter. Reggie. Ellie. Noche.

These are some of the dogs that American University students address while practicing presentations through the Audience Dog Program, according to The Washington Post.

The Washington, D.C. school’s Kogod Center for Business Communications lets students recite speeches and presentations to dogs to during 30-minute appointments, in an effort to make the situation less intimidating. This year, many practiced for the undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies.

Caron Martinez, director of the Kogod Center, explained the program’s benefits.

“We know that practice is key in developing verbal fluency and ease. And if we can motivate students to practice by having dogs as an audience, we can also help our students become confident and talented business communicators,” Martinez said.

Check out the program’s Instagram account to see a flood of adorable working dogs at American.

(Full disclosure: I’m an American University graduate.)

A pit bull on the New York police force

Meet Kiah, New York’s “first official ‘pit bull’ police dog.”

Brad Croft, operations director for UniversalK9, first saw her during an introduction to a pack of owner-less shelter dogs, according to CBS News.

The media outlet describes the company as one that “that trains dogs as well as members of police and SWAT teams to become a successful K-9 Unit without the high costs.”

She was reportedly abused before Croft came along, but after training with the company for eight weeks, she went on to work with an officer in the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department as a narcotics and missing persons detection dog.

Kiah was named a 2016 Humane Award Winner by the ASPCA— she took home the 2016 ASPCA Public Service Award “for her service to the city and shattering stereotypes.”

Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the organization, commented on the award recipients a press release at the time of the announcement.

“These awards recognize not just the heroism of particular animals, individuals, and organizations, but the incredible bond between people and their animals…That connection between people and pets is so strong that when you commit to helping one, you’re almost certainly helping the other. The accomplishments of these honorees demonstrate how much can be achieved when we recognize and support those ties,” Bershadker said.

Years from now, these dogs are sure to be remembered not only for being adorable, but also for their commitment to serving others.