Loyal Service Dog Gets Diploma Alongside Graduating Companion In Wheelchair

December 19, 2018

By Meredith Ganzman

Britney Hawley says her service dog, Griffin, deserves to graduate just as much as she does -- and he’s doing just that.

Hawley is getting her master’s degree in occupational therapy from Clarkson University in upstate New York.

And her golden retriever just received an honorary diploma right alongside her, during the university's "December Recognition Ceremony."

The 25-year-old student, who has chronic pain and gets around in a wheelchair, credits her success in the program to Griffin. She says he helps her open doors, turn on lights and get items she points to with a laser. He is also a comfort when her chronic pain causes anxiety and depression.

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Griffin comes from a program called "paws4prisons," in which inmates in West Virginia Prisons train these kinds of service dogs.

During her time at Clarkson, Britney and Griffin did an internship together working with soldiers at Fort Bragg. And when it’s time to look for jobs, Britney will be applying for two. The grad-to-be says she and Griffin are a package deal.