Service Dog Picks Up Diploma for Deceased Student at ISU Commencement

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Plenty of tears were shed Saturday at the spring commencement ceremonies for Idaho State University, as a service dog made his way across the stage to accept a diploma for his late master. Cletus, the service dog, was there to stand in for his companion Joshua Kelly who died from complications related to epilepsy. Kelly, 38, died in February just shy of picking up his ISU degree.


This morning's Idaho State Journal reports that Kelly was honored with a posthumous degree.


Cletus was a regular fixture, along with Kelly, on the ISU campus as they walked two miles each morning to catch a 6:30 a.m. bus to make their way to a full day of classes at the Pocatello campus. Cletus would also assist his master when Kelly suffered grand mal seizures, with Cletus barking for attention and help.


“During that last semester, he was having a difficult time with his memory because of the seizures, which made it especially hard for math classes. He had brain surgery, nerve stimulations, and he was on medications, but nothing stopped the seizures," Lyne Kelly, Joshua's mother told the Journal.


The Journal also reports that Joshua Kelly was an organ donor, with his kidney going to a recipient in need.


"He believed in doing whatever we can do to improve someone else’s life and family.” Terrell Kelly, Joshua's father, told the Journal.



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