Binghamton University Student Graduates with Service Dog by her Side

Bonnie Pierce. [Clapping and cheering] I can’t even explain how brutally difficult this was for me. And, I feel like this is the biggest accomplishment of my life. And, I have many accomplishments. I’m a veteran. I have children. I’ve been married for 25 years. I have sisters and brothers. And, a huge family. I mean all of those things, give you those relationships; all working and you know, being in the service. Those are all accomplishments, that I rank this the highest. Ah. What makes me different is I’m a non-traditional student, in that I’m much older than the average student. I’m old enough to be their mother. Ah. I’m also different in that I have a disability. I have epilepsy that caused brain damage, also. And, ah, I think it requires a lot of extra work and determination to get through a university setting. C’mon buddy. My service dog. His name is Choco latte. He’s a seizure response dog. He knows before anyone else that I am going to have a seizure. He also, because I have difficulties with direction . . . He leads me to my classes and knows where I’m supposed to be and seems to know, even at what time. And, he’s just been wonderful. One time I got lost in the stacks of Bartle Library. And, he brought me back down to the main door. I mean, he’s just a fabulous guy. I ripped out the article in today’s paper. Good luck to the future, alright? Thank you! Thank you! I don’t know what to, um, anticipate. I just know that my family is going to be in the crowd, sitting. And, this is for them. I’m a graduate, whether or not I walk. This is for them. This is my thanks to them, to say “You helped me. You inspired me.” You, kept me going. There were times I wanted to quit. If it wasn’t for my family, I wouldn’t have continued. This is for them. Uh. I got accepted to Duke University. I’m still pinching myself. I mean, I’m just ordinary dorky, me and . . . I just can’t imagine that or how it happened, but I’m going, and . . . what do you do from there? [Laugh] You know, really. Like what’s better than that? I really can’t imagine what’s better and the opportunity to work on things important for our mankind and public health. And, research in epidemiology. What a gift!

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2 Responses

  1. Anthony Dacko says:

    Thank you for telling your story this is helping more people deal with seizures and the wonderful work the service dogs bring to people with seizures.

  2. Moxie & Alyssa D says:

    First, congratulations!!! Second, I enjoyed watching you graduate with your service dog! I recently graduated with mine, Moxie, as valedictorian from university. Moxie wore a cap and gown and everything too lol…
    If you're interested, the following link is an article about it…. I would love to know more about your program and your dog if you're ever interested 😊

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