Service dog aided his owner in grad school, prompting the university to grant him a degree

Service dogs provide invaluable support to those in need, offering medical assistance and emotional companionship. They are not only loyal pets but also devoted companions during challenging times.

Recognizing the unwavering dedication of one service dog, a university decided to bestow a remarkable honor upon him.

Brittany Hawley, hailing from Wilson, North Carolina, relies on a wheelchair due to complex regional pain syndrome. Through the paws4prisons program, she was matched with a service dog named Griffin a few years ago.

When Brittany met Griffin, she instantly knew he was the perfect match. Despite other dogs being apprehensive around her wheelchair, Griffin fearlessly leaped into her lap, showering her with affection.

As Brittany embarked on her master’s degree in occupational therapy at Clarkson University, Griffin proved to be an invaluable companion. He attended all of Brittany’s classes, assisting her with tasks like opening doors and fetching supplies. Beyond that, he provided comfort during moments of anxiety and depression, fostering her independence and sociability.

Brittany and Griffin thrived together at Clarkson University, culminating in Brittany’s graduation in late 2018. Acknowledging Griffin’s vital role in her success, Brittany was determined to celebrate their achievement together.

From the beginning, Brittany expressed her desire for Griffin to graduate alongside her. Astonishingly, the university agreed, granting Griffin an honorary degree for his “extraordinary contributions to student success.”

With pride, Clarkson University recognized Griffin’s remarkable efforts, unwavering commitment, and diligent dedication to Brittany’s wellbeing and academic journey.

Both Brittany and Griffin pursued their graduate degree in Occupational Therapy together, attending the same classes, lectures, and faculty appointments. Their bond elevated Griffin to an esteemed member of the Clarkson Golden Knights family.

Following graduation, Brittany continues to pursue her dream of becoming an occupational therapist, aspiring to support veterans and military personnel. Throughout her journey, her loyal service dog, Griffin, will remain faithfully by her side.

“No matter where my career takes me, he will be there with me every single day,” Brittany expressed, highlighting their unbreakable bond.