Cash Money deserves his own honorary degree


Beloved campus therapy dog. Cash Money, has students at USM rallying for him to receive his degree.

Not all superheroes wear capes and masks. Sometimes a superhero is a four-legged fur baby. You know him, and I know him. His name is Cash Money. Cash Money has been a local celebrity at USM since February 2020. Cash is a certified therapy dog who brings smiles to everyone he encounters. Melanie Lowery, Cash’s owner had dreamed of working with a therapy animal. She found a breeder who shared her same passion for therapy animals.

“In fact, Cash’s mom is a therapy dog for Leboneur Children’s Hospital in Memphis. Since the breeder was experienced with therapy animals, she eventually matched us with a puppy whose personality would hopefully be a good fit for us and what we wanted to do,” said Lowery. Cash exceeded those expectations when he came to Lowery in September 2020. Cash’s training included basic obedience classes at Pet Smart as well as a therapy dog training class. He has a certification through Pet Partners. However, aside from all of his training and certifications, the students and those within the community have been the best form of training Cash.

“Besides the classes, the students at USM were one of the most valuable parts of his training. They helped us practice every behavior that was on his test until we had the confidence that he would pass. He passed his therapy dog certification in Feb 2022, and it was the students’ achievement as much as it was mine and Cash’s,” said Lowery. “Along with USM, Cash visits several facilities in our community including Forrest General, Brookdale, Asbury House, The Claiborne and ARC of South MS.

It seems like every visit we have encounters that touch my heart. Our memory care patients are really special to us as many of these residents are animal lovers and Cash helps fill that void. It’s precious to watch them smile when they share memories of their own pets. I feel Cash has helped them remember these experiences from their past.

Here at USM, we see so many students that may be a little stressed or having a bad day. When I ask them how their day is going often, they will say, “It’s better now because Cash is here.” They may not think much of that statement but every time I hear it, it lets me know that this is where we need to be.” Therapy dogs are proven to have mental health benefits. According to, research has proven that therapy animals can decrease anxiety, help with intense emotions and help with moods.

Cash has been proven to check all those boxes and plus some. With that being said, Cash Money deserves an honorary degree. He has touched the lives of so many people both on and off campus, including Joe Paul. “The first time we met Dr. Paul he greeted Cash with open arms, he just immediately began loving and petting Cash. And, of course, Cash was all about it. Dr. Paul is a true dog lover.

It didn’t even faze him that Cash was trying to lick his face and give him a kiss. I believe he definitely recognizes the positive impact therapy animals have made around campus, and I am truly grateful for a president who supports Cash and also his buddy Blaze being here at USM,” said Lowery. What do you say, Joe Paul? Cash Money deserves an honorary degree for his dedicated service to our USM family.