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Service dog got his owner through grad school, so the university gave him his own degree

Service dogs may be excellent companions for those in need. They can not only give medical and mental assistance, but they also make wonderful, loyal pets that will be by your side when you need them the most.

So, after one devoted service dog remained at his owner’s side throughout graduate school, the institution thought he deserved a big award.

Brittany Hawley, of Wilson, North Carolina, is a wheelchair user who suffers from complicated regional pain syndrome. She was an ideal candidate for a service dog, and she acquired one a few years ago via the paws4prisons program.

When Brittany saw Griffin, she knew he was the one: “Some dogs were afraid of the wheelchair,” she told AP. “Griffin leapt into my lap and licked the side of my face.”

Griffin entered her life just as she was ready to embark on an exciting new adventure: earning her master’s degree in occupational therapy at Clarkson University.

The dog demonstrated his usefulness by attending all of Brittany’s lessons and assisting her with tasks such as unlocking doors and getting supplies. He was also a helpful buddy through times of worry and melancholy.

“With him, I felt more autonomous, more sociable, and more outgoing,” Brittany told CBS News.

Brittany and Griffin continued to prosper at Clarkson, and Brittany graduated in late 2018.

But she realized she couldn’t have done it without the assistance of her service dog… She realized she couldn’t rejoice without him.

“We relocated to New York together, started and finished school together,” Brittany explained.

She didn’t only want him at her side; she wanted him to obtain his own degree as well.

“I pushed from the beginning because I want Griffin to graduate with me.”

Surprisingly, the institution agreed, and Griffin was given the opportunity to come across the stage and earn his own honorary degree for “exceptional contributions to student success.”

“The Board of Trustees acknowledged Griffin for his remarkable work, steady devotion, and thorough attention to his owner Brittany’s well-being and student achievement,” Clarkson stated in a statement.

“The two pursued a graduate degree in Occupational Therapy 100% together, attending all of the same classes, lectures, and faculty appointments… firmly establishing Griffin as an equal part of the Clarkson Golden Knights family.”

Brittany pursued her passion of becoming an occupational therapist after graduation, wanting to work with veterans and military personnel.

Of course, she’ll have her devoted service dog at her side.

“He’ll be with me every single day if I find a job,” Brittany stated.

What a lovely tribute to this devoted service dog! He most certainly earned that degree!

It just goes to illustrate how powerful assistance dogs can be. Spread the word about this wonderful tale!

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