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By Behindwoods News Bureau | Dec 20, 2018 06:35 PM
service dog awarded honorary diploma on owner graduation ceremony

A college in upstate New York presented a service dog with an honorary degree when his owner received her master's degree over at her graduation ceremony.

Whenever Brittany Hawley went to class, her loyal service dog Griffin was there. If she needed her cell phone, Griffin would fetch it. Even when she assisted patients as part of an internship, Griffin was there helping out as well.

She took Griffin everywhere as she worked toward her master's degree in occupational therapy at Clarkson University in Potsdam. When she finally received her degree over the weekend, Griffin was by her side in a cap and gown to receive one of his own.

"I pushed for him to graduate from Day One. He did everything I did." The school's board of trustees honoured the 4-year-old golden retriever during a recognition ceremony, saying he demonstrated “extraordinary effort, steadfast commitment and diligent dedication to the well-being and student success” of Hawley.

Hawley said Griffin does a wide range of tasks for her, including opening doors, turning on lights, and helping her access her items out of her reach. He also provides comfort for Hawley, whose pain has caused anxiety and depression.


CBS News reports that Brittany was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) at 16, and has been wheelchair-bound since. Griffin has served as her mobility dog for two and a half years and helps her by fetching items, opening doors, turning on lights and, if she falls, by getting a person or a phone to help.