Guide dog gets an honorary degree for accompanying his owner to class: now that she gets to graduate, so does he
Guide dogs have an important role in society. Most people might think of them as animals who assist the physically disabled with everyday tasks, but they are much more precious than that. Given dogs are considered man's best friend, guide dogs also offer their owners lots of affection and emotional support. When you think about it, they help their owners through every moment of their lives, including the most difficult moments, and the happiest.
via AP News
Brittany Hawley, a resident of Wilson, North Carolina, suffers from a rare condition called complex regional pain syndrome. The condition causes extreme pain and swelling in Brittany's lower limbs, which is why she gets around best with a wheelchair. Her condition also made her the perfect candidate for a guide dog and thankfully received a few years ago through a program called Paws4prisons. When Brittany met Griffin for the first time, she knew that he was made especially for her. Brittany stated, "A few of the dogs were afraid of my wheelchair, but Griffin jumped right on top of me and began licking my face."
Griffin entered Brittany's world when she was about to start a new chapter in her life: obtain a master's degree in Occupationla Therapy. For anyone who has obtained a master's degree, they know just how much pressure grad school can be. Many graduate students suffer from anxiety and depression and so having a constant supportive figure in their life can really make the difference in their experience. Griffin was that figure in Brittany's life. He attended every class with her, and also offered her emotional support when she was feeling axious or under pressure.
By 2018, Brittany successfully completed all her coursework and was ready to graduate. Although it's customary to walk down the aisle alone, Brittany knew attending her graduation ceremony without Griffin was not an option: he had attended every class with her and so it only made sense that he would accompany her down the aisle when she received her degree. Already well aware of who Griffin was, Brittany's university, Clarkson University, decided that he, too, deserved to receive a degree. In a letter to the graduating student body, the university stated, "The founding committee of this university recognizes Griffin for his constant commitment and dedication to helping his owner, Brittany Hawley, achieve her accademic ambitions. The two of them together have succeeded in obtaining a degree in Occupational Therapy, attending all the necessary classes, lessons, and departmental meetings... it is our pleasure to welcome Griffin as a member of the Clarkson Golden Knights family."
Now that she has a master's degree in occupational therapy, Brittany is hoping to work with veterans and other former military members. She also doesn't hide the fact that she plans on taking Griffin with her to work with her. She stated, "Everytime I find a new job, he'll be right there with me every single day."
Brittany and Griffin's story is a prime example of how when two individuals come together, they can achieve anything. Clearly, Griffin deserved receiving his honorary degree from Clarkson University, and we couldn't be happier for him! Congrats to both Brittany and Griffin on their academic achievement!