People who need them can get a lot of help from their service dogs. Not only can they help you physically and emotionally, but they also make great, loyal pets that will be there for you when you need them the most. So, when one service dog stuck with his owner through graduate school, the university thought he deserved a big award. Brittany Hawley, who lives in Wilson, North Carolina, and has complex regional pain syndrome, uses a wheelchair. She was the perfect person for a service dog, and through the paws4prisons program, she got one a few years ago.
When she met a dog named Griffin, she knew he was the one. Brittany told AP that some dogs were afraid of the wheelchair. “Griffin jumped right into my lap and licked me all over the face.” Griffin came into her life right before starting an exciting new adventure: going to Clarkson University to get her master’s degree in occupational therapy. Brittany’s dog was able to go to all of her classes and help her by opening doors and getting the things she needed.
He was also a friend who helped me feel better when worried or sad. Brittany told CBS News, “I felt more independent, social, and outgoing when I was with him.” Brittany and Griffin did well at Clarkson, and Brittany was ready to graduate by 2018. But she knew she couldn’t have done it without her service dog, and she couldn’t celebrate without him. Brittany said, “We moved to New York together, started school together, and graduated together.” She wanted him to be with her, but she also wanted him to have his own degree. “Right from the start, I tried to get Griffin to go to college with me.
Surprisingly, the university agreed, and Griffin got to walk across the stage and accept his own honorary degree for “extraordinary contributions to student success.” “The Board of Trustees recognized that Griffin has shown extraordinary effort, consistent commitment, and careful dedication to his owner Brittany’s well-being and student success,” Clarkson said. “The two worked together to get a master’s degree in occupational therapy. They went to all the same classes, lectures, and appointments with faculty…
Griffin is now a full-fledged member of the Clarkson Golden Knights family.” Brittany didn’t give up on her dream of becoming an occupational therapist after she graduated. She wanted to work with veterans and other military people. She’ll also have her loyal service dog with her at all times. Brittany said, “When I get a job, he will be with me every day.” What a great reward for this dog’s hard work! He really did deserve that degree!