Dogs are known to be smart. And now, someone from their pack, a 4-year-old golden retriever named Griffin, can say that he has an official proof of his intelligence. How? He earned himself a diploma!

When Brittany Hawley, Griffin’s owner, was a teenager, it was detected that she has reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (CRPS/RSD). This caused her to suffer from swelling, prolonged and severe pain, as well as skin color and skin temperature changes.

Because Brittany suffers from chronic pain and uses wheelchair, Griffin is there to perform some tasks for her. This includes turning the lights on, opening of the doors, fetching the items that she points at using her laser pointer. Most importantly, Griffin helps alleviate his owner’s anxiety and depression.


Griffin is always with Brittany, even when she goes to class at the Clarkson University in Potsdam. This is the university where Brittany took her master’s degree in occupational therapy.

Brittany said that Griffin did everything that she did in the school. They even worked together during the internship at Fort Bragg. There, they both helped soldiers that have psycho-social disorders as well as those with difficulties in mobility.

Therefore, as Brittany received her diploma during the December Recognition Ceremony, Griffin was presented with his own honorary diploma too. The university’s board of trustees said that Griffin showed an extraordinary effort and diligent dedication, which helped in Brittany’s success.

Griffin is a service dog from paws4people. This is a nonprofit organization that teaches West Virginia prison inmates to train dogs to give assistance to people with disabilities.

They allow dogs to come and choose their owner. When Brittany and Griffin met, the dog immediately jumped to her lap and licked her face, indicating that he already chose her.

Currently, Brittany is reviewing for her board exams and as she applies for a job, Brittany says that Griffin will be part of the package too.


Courtesy: ClarksonUPhotos



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