Service Dog Receives Honorary Diploma as Handler Graduates College AP Photo/Steve Jacobs
AP Photo/Steve Jacobs

It was a very exciting day for this adorable good boy, who is now considered a full-on masters graduate thanks his owner! Griffin, a 4-year-old golden retriever from North Carolina, received an honorary diploma for his “extraordinary effort, steadfast commitment and diligent dedication to the well being and student success” of his handler, Brittany Hawley.

Hawley received her master’s degree from Clarkson University in occupational therapy. The 25-year-old uses a wheelchair and has chronic pain, which is why she decided to get a service dog to help her daily. Since day one, Griffin has been doing a wide range of physical task for her including turning on lights, grabbing her phone when needed, opening doors, and bringing her items she indicates with a laser pointer.

His most important task? The pup provides her moral support after suffering from severe pain that causes anxiety and depression. Hawley adopted Griffin through “paws4prisons,” a program that teaches inmates at West Virginia prisons to train and place high-level assistance dogs. The inmates allow dogs to come up to you and let the dog choose their owner. The two were instantly a match after according to Hawley, Griffin immediately jumped up on her wheelchair when they met.

When she began her master’s degree, Griffin would accompany her to class and went with her when she needed to go to her internship. Both Hawley and Griffin worked at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where they helped soldiers with mobility impairment as well as psychosocial disorders. Hawley stated having the pupper with her not only helped her, but it also helped her patients since brushing a dog can help improve patients range of motion, and stroking him helps ease anxiety.

Service Dog Graduates With Master's Degree Alongside Owner
AP Photo/Steve Jacobs

Now that they both have graduated with masters degrees, Hawley stated that when she applies for jobs, the duo will be a package deal! I have to say that never in my life would I have thought a dog could graduate from a University, so this to me is amazing. He even had his very own certificate and his own cap! I love heartwarming stories!


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Silke  Jasso About the author:
Silke Jasso is a bilingual editor, writer, producer, and journalist specialized in online media. Born in Laredo Texas, her previous works include LareDOS Newspaper where she was an editor and writer and Entravision Communications where she was a Co-Anchor and Multi-Media Journalist for Fox39 News and Univision 27.
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