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I'm a Bear – Q&A with Banjo, the Dog

Kayla Minton and her dog Banjo sit on a bench.

Kayla Minton, ’23 and her dog Banjo.

May 23, 2024

Kayla Minton, ’23, graduated last fall with her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Computer Information Systems. During her college experience, her constant companion was her service dog (and proclaimed ‘son’) Banjo, who is half American Akita, a quarter German Shepherd, a quarter Belgian Malinois and 100% a good boy. 

Banjo took UNC’s fall graduation ceremonies by storm alongside Minton, in his dog-sized cap and gown. 

“Since Banjo does literally everything with me, including going to all the same classes I did, he deserved to walk for graduation with me,” said Minton. 

We took a deep dive, and now present … a Q&A with Banjo: 

What was your favorite class?

I loved it whenever we had class in the computer labs since under the desk was the perfect napping spot where I could still be close to Mom [Minton].

Where is your favorite spot on campus?

My favorite spot on campus is the student lounge area in Kepner Hall, it’s almost as good as napping in the computer labs.

Are the squirrels on campus friends or foes?

The squirrels are friends, the rabbits are friends, the birds are friends — everyone’s a friend!

What are your after-graduation goals?

Right now, we haven’t been leaving the house as much as we used to, but Mom says we have to get a job soon so that she can “bring home the bacon,” whatever that means. 

How can more dogs get their degree?

You have to really work for it because, man was it RUFF! Sometimes Mom even made me carry her laptop and books for class. It was hard work, but worth it!

What was your go-to study snack?

I loved it whenever Mom or one of her friends had Chipotle for lunch. I was always welcome to snack on the leftover tortilla chips. Mom also always carried some beef jerky for us to snack on between classes or when she wanted to reward me for being a good boy. And I’m always a good boy! 

Thank you, Banjo, for your time, great answers and for teaching us how fellow dogs can be graduates of UNC!

—Kayla Minton, ’23 and Banjo, as told to Brenna Rhiness

Banjo the dog.