Dog helps girl with epilepsy complete high school


LUBBOCK, Texas - LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - Much like other young yellow Labradors, Shawnee of Idalou craves time with her owner, loves playing fetch and cringes when anyone comes near her with nail clippers. But unlike her furry, four-legged counterparts, Shawnee has a high school diploma. As a service dog, Shawnee attended classes at Roosevelt High School for three years with her owner, Jessica Hayes, who has epilepsy. Though Shawnee wasn't always attentive - Hayes said she was known to snore loudly while napping at Hayes' feet - the dog became the honorary 58th member of the senior class, joining them on field trips and in group pictures. Shawnee, 4, and Hayes, 19, donned caps and gowns Friday and walked across the stage together to get their tassels turned and receive their diplomas. Shawnee's came with a treat and a certificate for "outstanding service, loyalty and companionship" to Hayes. Hayes said she knew Shawnee would join her on stage, but the diploma and tassel were a surprise orchestrated by staff members and Hayes' best friend Alyssa Davis - one Shawnee tried to rush by shaking her head so hard the tassel turned itself before the appropriate time. "She couldn't wait," Hayes joked to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.