One student’s story of her graduation has gone viral. While she earned her master’s degree, her dog graduated from the university as well! In the story, a golden retriever named Griffin is the service dog of 25-year-old Brittany Hawley. Hawley has used a wheelchair since she learned that she has reflex sympathetic dyst*op*y sy-ndr-ome as a teenager.
When Hawley was set to graduate from her degree in 2018, she figured that without the help of Griffin, she wouldn’t have been able to finish her master’s degree. So it was only fitting, she thought, that Griffin would be hon-ored for his help too. After reaching out to her university, they not only decided to award Griffin an honorary degree but they made him part of the ceremony too! Needl-ess to say, Griffin’s inclusion in the ceremony delig*ted everyone there. Hawley received her master’s degree from New York state’s Clarkson University in occupational therapy.
At the graduation ceremony, both Hawley and Griffin received their diplomas. This good boy was even honored with a speech. A representative from the school’s board shared that Griffin demonstrated steadfast commitment, extraordinary eff-ort, and diligent dedication to Hawley’s success. After the ceremony, Hawley shared a moving post about her and Griffin’s journey together on social media. In it, she detailed how they moved to New York together and the loyal ways in which Griffin helped her. This story is incredibly sweet and animal lovers all over will be able to understand the closen-ess between Hawley and Griffin, but especially anyone who has a service dog.
According to a post by Hawley on social media, the service dog stood by his owner’s side during every class, exam and study session. Griffin sure got an education as he completed his own learning right alongside Hawley. On a daily basis, Griffin gets his owner’s phone, turns the lights on, opens doors, and reaches items that are ha*d to get. He’s also there to comfort Hawley, helping her with depression and anxiety. When Hawley wanted to recognize Griffin’s hard work, she asked Clarkson University to award the dog a diploma. Hawley explained that she would never be able to participate in anything without her dog.
She wanted Griffin to graduate alongside her as he did everything she did. As Hawley prepared to receive her degree, the dog walked right next to her, donning a cap and gown, ready to graduate. As one of Clarkson’s first four-legged students, Griffin’s presence at the graduation melted hearts and wowed students and faculty. The fluffy golden retriever eagerly took his honorary diploma, carrying it in his mouth. Posing for several graduation pictures, Griffin and Hawley were the stars of graduation. Speaking with the Washington Post, Hawley explained.
She explained to the news outlet that she got Griffin through “Paws4prisons,” which teaches inmates at West Virginia prisons to train high-level assistance dogs. Explaining how Griffin chose her, Hawley explained.