Dog ‘graduates’ from Edinburgh Napier University

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A STUDENT who graduated today has said his degree would have been impossible without his best friend - a dog.

Both Jack Proctor, 34, and his cocker spaniel, Fudge, dressed in their honorary robes to receive their parchments BDes(Hons) in Design and Digital Arts at Edinburgh Napier University.

He’s been my best friend for six years and he put in as much work as I did so it felt only right for him to be here

Jack Proctor

The six-year-old dog starred in Jack’s introductory video and course work, and featured prominently in his dissertation, which got an A grade.

To mark Fudge’s supporting role in Jack’s academic journey, the dog joined him at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh wearing bespoke robes made by Jack’s wife.

Fudge soaked up the attention from fellow graduates while he stopped for pictures outside the venue where he had a university scroll attached to his red collar.

Jack from Coatbridge in Lanarkshire, admitted that he was nervous about collecting his scroll but was glad his “best four legged friend” was there to keep the attention off himself.

He said: “It’s great and means a lot. He’s been my best friend for six years and he put in as much work as I did so it felt only right for him to be here.

“I had a few pre-match nerves but he didn’t. He’s a natural, I’m the side-kick.

“I was very nervous in front of camera and just to have Fudge there to take the focus off me so I could sink into the background which was okay.

“It started off way back when we were first asked to make introductory videos and I was a bit camera shy so I kind of chickened out and I got fudge to do it in a humorous manner. And it went down quite well and got a few laughs in class.

“From then on he made cameo roles in videos throughout my studies. For my honours dissertation I thought for one of my research things I would try and make some videos.

“I thought because Fudge had helped me this far he may as well help me with that. Then we made some videos and then they went viral so this is much his graduation as much as mine.

“It’s fantastic. It’s been a great journey. I’ve had a great experience through university with a class full of inspiring and creative people, it’s really helped me get to where I am today.”

Jack and Fudge delighted web surfers during last year’s Ice Bucket Challenge craze when technical trickery was used to show Jack being hoodwinked into getting a soaking by his four-legged friend.

But their video collaborations go back to his very first day at the university, when Jack’s class were asked to make introduction videos.

Fudge was given the lead role in Jack’s film and the laughs which followed encouraged him to keep putting his pet in the spotlight.

Fudge featured in a series of videos for Jack’s dissertation on how designers can optimise the shareability of their work.

Comedy special effects were used to show the dog regularly outsmarting hapless humans.

He also took lead and cameo roles in Jack’s course assignment videos including The Dog Dice, where Fudge plays Snakes and Ladders and the Soi Dog Foundation.

Jack said: “Our Ice Bucket Challenge video was our most successful, with millions of views on Facebook and 250,000 on Youtube, but other videos we had made have had view counts ranging from 30,000 to 300,000, and have appeared on news video sites.

“We are very much a partnership so it just seemed right that Fudge should share my big day with me.”

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