SA man and his canine buddy gr

SA man and his canine buddy graduate together

Quadriplegic Heinrich Willaims graduated from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University last week with a national diploma in engineering, but he wasn’t alone when he received the accolade.

SA man and his canine buddy gr

Williams’ study buddy, Viking, a four-year-old Golden Retriever mix, attended all of his lectures and exams as a service dog and wore full graduation attire, specially designed my Croft, Magill and Watson at the ceremony.

Williams, a C6 quadriplegic – he has full use of his head and neck, with limited use of his biceps, wrists, and fingers – had to adapt to life in a wheelchair after contracting a bacterial infection, resulting in an abscess pressing against his spinal cord.

When Williams (45) was struggling to find work, his friend suggested he register at NMMU, after working as an aircraft electrician with the SA Air Force for 20 years.

Although his first year back at university was difficult, Williams, along with his study buddy, Viking, met the challenges he faced and came out tops. Williams says of Viking’s ‘graduation’, “He deserves to graduate with me; he was present in all my classes.”