Friday 30 September 2016

'Pawesome' day for student and dog

Published 07/07/2015 | 06:36

Edinburgh Napier University student Jack Proctor with his dog Fudge as he collects his degree
Edinburgh Napier University student Jack Proctor with his dog Fudge as he collects his degree
Fudge helped Mr Proctor pass his degree by starring in several videos

A student and his dog donned graduation robes today after the pet helped his owner complete his university degree.

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Jack Proctor, 34, joined forces with cocker spaniel Fudge to complete a series of assignments as he studied for his BDes (Hons) in design and digital arts at Edinburgh Napier University.

The six-year-old dog starred in Jack's introductory video and course work, and featured prominently in his dissertation.

To mark Fudge's supporting role in his owner's academic journey, the dog joined Mr Proctor outside the Usher Hall ahead of the graduation ceremony wearing bespoke robes made by Mr Proctor's wife.

Mr Proctor, of Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, said: "I know it seems eccentric, but Fudge has been part of my journey through uni since day one, so it just feels like a nice way to mark the journey's end.

"He was such a fundamental part of my dissertation that I even mentioned him in the acknowledgement section."

He added: "It's as much his degree as it is mine. He put in a lot of work and was really well behaved. He went above and beyond so it's really nice to have him with me."

He said his pet performs well for the camera, especially if there is a treat involved.

Fudge shot to fame during last year's ice bucket challenge when he featured in a video in which Mr Proctor used technical trickery to show himself getting soaked by the dog.

The video garnered millions of views on Facebook and 250,000 on YouTube.

Their video collaborations go back to Mr Proctor's very first day at university, when his class were asked to make introduction videos and he gave Fudge the lead role in his own.

The cocker spaniel also featured in a series of videos for Mr Proctor's dissertation on how designers can optimise the share-ability of their work.

Comedy special effects were used in the videos to show Fudge regularly outsmarting hapless humans.

Mr Proctor now hopes to use his degree to find work in the fields of advertising or social media.

Later, four design students received their university degrees from Edinburgh Napier at a ceremony watched by their twin sisters.

Denise Allan, Rachel Napier, Katherine Gibson and Jane Riley discovered they were all twins when they met on their course.

Today's graduation ceremony at the city's Usher Hall saw all eight sisters get together for the first time.

Denise, of East Calder in West Lothian, said: "It's so unusual for four twins to end up studying together in relatively small classes. Before I came to university I didn't know any twins.

"I find it really easy to talk to other twins because we all share something very special in common."

Rachel, from Gorebridge in Midlothian, said: "I found it very daunting going to uni without my twin by my side as I had always had her there to support me.

"When I found out there were other twins on the same course, it was such a relief as I knew I would have other twins looking out for me. As it turns out I have become best friends with Denise, and it often feels I have gained a second twin.

"I think there's something special about the bond between twins that only people who are twins can fully understand."

Denise, Rachel, Katherine and Jane graduated in design and digital arts, product design, interior and spatial design, and product design respectively.

Also picking up an award today was acclaimed novelist Louise Welsh, who received an honorary degree from Edinburgh Napier.

The award-winning writer - who has also turned her hand to short stories, drama and even opera - joined hundreds of students at the city's Usher Hall to receive her Honorary Doctorate of Arts.

Welsh's 2002 debut The Cutting Room won her a big following, and she followed it up with works such as The Bullet Trick, The Girl on the Stairs and Death is a Welcome Guest.

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