Bongo Graduates: WRAL-TV’s Monica Laliberte Shares Service Dog Training Journey

Monica Laliberte & Bongo

WRAL-TV’s Monica Laliberte with her husband, David, and daughter, Mariah, with Bongo at his graduation.

Earlier in February the WRAL staff bid farewell to a four-legged fixture in the newroom.  Bongo, the Retriever WRAL-TV Five On Your Side Executive Producer Monica Laliberte has been training as a service dog, left for college on Thursday, February 14, 2019.  Laliberte and her canine Valentine flew to Orlando where Bongo graduated and move on to the next phase of his training.

“Bongo is the eighth puppy my family has raised,” she explained.  “Still, this has been the most heart breaking “college turn-in” EVER for me (possibly worse than when my daughters left for college?). Maybe because it’s the first time in 20 years I did not have a dog waiting for me when I got home.  I just keep reminding myself of how happy HE looked being with the 34 other puppies that matriculated.  And if he makes it to graduation (fingers crossed), I know I’ll be thrilled to see how he’ll forever change the life of someone who needs him much more than I do!”

Laliberte has been training Bongo through Canine Companions for Independence since June 2017.  He came to her at 9-weeks of age to spend the next 20 months in her care.

Laliberte and other members of the WRAL team posted and shared about the end to Bongo’s Raleigh journey on social media.  Laliberte also shared their journey to the graduation, as well as the ceremony itself.  She gave the closing remarks at the ceremony (see the video links below).




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Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Monica Laliberte, WRAL-TV’s Amanda Lamb & WRAL-TV’s Debra Morgan for these capcom photos.

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