Express & Star

Queen’s University becomes first in UK to recognise role of pets

Some 25 furry friends took part in a special graduation following this summer’s main tranche of ceremonies.

A miniature schnauzer in graduation costume sitting on ceremonial red carpet

The Queen’s University Belfast has become the first in the UK to recognise the support role of pets in educational attainment.

Some 25 animals took part in a special graduation ceremony following the university’s main tranche of graduations this summer.

Queen’s has asserted the gesture is based on research that shows the important degree of support animals can provide as study buddies.

Dogs, cats and a hamster took to the red carpet for the unofficial and informal ceremony at the university’s famous Lanyon Buildings on Tuesday night, accepting an honorary “dog-torate cat-ificate” in either “Pawlitical Sciences, Barkitecture, Furensic Pawthology or Barketing”

A hamster in a pink plastic cage being held over a ceremonial red carpet
Dwarf hamster Peaches takes part in a special graduation ceremony for pets at the Queen’s University Belfast (Queens University/PA)

They were recognised for their role supporting their humans through their time at Queen’s.

The university said research has shown that time spent with pets can improve concentration levels and lower stress, two things that are particularly important when studying.

Queen’s graduate Michael Murphy was delighted to see his 13-year-old Jack Russell Rico honoured.

“I’m delighted to see Rico and the support he gave me throughout my studies being recognised and celebrated by the university, and it’s exciting to be a part of history at the UK’s first pet graduation ceremony of its kind,” he said.

“Despite being a mature student in dog years, Rico is still full of beans and has been a great comfort during my studies. I am delighted to see his efforts recognised and to have another Queen’s graduate in the family.”

Another Queen’s graduate, Louise McCarthy, said her five-year-old dachshund Milo was the best study buddy.

“I am so pleased that Milo got to be a part of my big day through this opportunity,” she said.

“He has been the best study buddy throughout my Queen’s experience. This is an excellent opportunity to show him how much his support has meant to me in such a fun way.”

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