Four-legged Companion Honored with Diploma at Owner’s Graduation for Unwavering Dedication

Brittany Hawley, a 25-year-old woman from North Carolina, was diagnosed with a chronic neurological disease during her teenage years which confined her to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Shortly after, she applied for a service dog to assist her with her daily routines, and that’s how she and Griffin became inseparable. Hawley met Griffin through a program called ‘paws4prison’ that teaches inmates in West Virginia prisons to train high-level assistance dogs. Hawley sharedaout her chance meeting with Griffin on USA Today, stating that the inmates allow many dogs to come up to you and let the dog choose you. Some dogs were scared of the wheelchair, but Griffin jumped right into her lap and licked her across the face.

Recently, Hawley received her master’s degree in occupational therapy from Clarkson University. It was a double celebration for her as Griffin was also bestowed with an honorary diploma for his tireless service during the years Hawley was studying.

Griffin was highly involved in assisting Hawley with various tasks. He accompanied her to classes, fetched her cellphone, and actively participated in community activities, social groups, and research projects alongside her. He even supported her during her internship at Fort Bragg. When the 4-year-old golden retriever received his award, the board of trustees recognized his “extraordinary effort, steadfast commitment, and diligent dedication to the well-being and student success” that contributed to Hawley’s achievement. “I pushed for him to graduate from Day One. He did everything I did,” Hawley proudly stated. Together, they helped soldiers with physical immobility and psycho-social disorders. Patients became so accustomed to Griffin that whenever they mentioned Hawley as their therapist, they included Griffin as their co-therapist.

Griffin helps with most of Hawley’s physical tasks on a daily basis, such as opening doors, turning on lights, and bringing her things she points at with a laser pointer. Hawley is thankful for the comfort Griffin provides when she is anxious or depressed due to the constant terrible pain she experiences. A service dog is any dog trained with highly intelligible skills to assist and provide comfort to people with disability, mental condition, or any sort of condition that qualifies the service of the trained dog.

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