Saturday, May 26, 2012

Griffin.


This morning I got a call from my dad.

"Honey, we're with Griffin."

My heart dropped. I knew just what he was going to say. I've been waiting to get this call. I've dreaded this call forever. Even when he was in perfect condition, I thought, "How could I ever live without you?"

"We have to put Griffin to sleep. He wasn't doing well this morning. He can't walk anymore. He cried for three hours because he couldn't get up the stairs. He's tired, honey."

I didn't respond. I just cried. My dad said he'd call me back. And I just sat there for an hour and cried. I had no words. I felt no other emotion but pure heartbreak. I honestly have never felt anything like it.

I will never forget the day my father brought Griffin home. I was ten years old, sitting in my living room with my sister and our neighbor, Marirose. My dad opened the door and walked in carrying this little white puff of cuteness. I did a double take. He was so tiny, he didn't look real. My father put him down, and he hopped over to us with his little paws. He was a Boxer, so they clipped his tail. He had nothing but a nub. Oh, that little nub. But they didn't clip his ears, they were floppy and felt like velvet. I was always thankful they didn't clip those adorable ears. He ran around the house so fast that he was almost impossible to catch. I kept getting afraid we'd lose him! He was only four weeks old. Normally, you're supposed to wait at least six weeks before taking them away from their mother. But, he was ours!


I wanted to name him Wishbone. Did I mention I was ten? My sister refused. She liked Griffin. I liked it, too. I always referred to him as "Griffin Margaret" when I'd yell at him. That's my middle name. And it was funny to yell out loud, and took away all the seriousness of being mad. For the first few weeks, Griffin couldn't sleep. He'd howl and cry at night and it was the worst sound in the world. I couldn't sleep because I felt so bad for him. Eventually, my mother put an alarm clock in his bed and he slept soundly through the night.

We taught Griffin tricks like "sit" and "lay down" and "gimme paw" and he would. My favorite was "gimme five" because he'd put up both paws. Even up until this year, I would give him a snack and get him all excited that he'd growl and groan and I'd still say "gimme five" and he'd let out a little annoyed groan, put up both his paws and I know it's impossible, but I'm pretty sure he rolled his eyes at me. We also got in the habit of calling snacks "chicken." No matter what we gave him, it was called "chicken." "Griffin, want some chicken?" was a very popular phrase in our house. And he'd always come running and barking within seconds.



Growing up, Griffin was always there. During recess in elementary school, my mom would walk up the street and all the kids would run over and pet him and he'd excitedly play back. When I danced outside in the backyard with my neighbors, he was always there, barking over the fence. Every sleepover I had, he was right in the middle of it. He'd bark when we got too loud, he'd lay on top of us, he'd give everyone kisses. He was like my annoying brother that all my girl friends just adored. 

I'll miss the way he licked you every single time he bit you. He never bit hard, but he always licked because he felt bad. I'll miss the times when I'd be the only one home in the morning and I'd wake up to scratching on my door or barking outside, just wanting someone to give him attention. I'll miss taking naps on the couch and him coming up next to me to dig his face in the blankets and find my face to give me a kiss. I'll miss the way he ran out as soon as he heard the door open and got excited to see me. He'd run at me smiling, wanting to get pet. I'll miss whenever I'd have to leave and he'd bark and bite at my feet. {He had separation anxiety... from getting him too early.} I'll miss sitting in the kitchen and him pressing his entire body up against me. I'll miss eating dinner with him under the table or sitting next to my mom, begging for food. And I'll even miss the way he'd bark whenever my mom vacuumed. God, I hated that. But God, I'll miss it.

Most of all, I'll miss petting his ears back and giving him a kiss in the space right between his eyes which he'd follow up with a kiss on my nose or cheek. He did that every time without fail. Up until the last time I saw him.

 {camouflaged.}

 Griffin would have been sixteen years old this September. He was with me for most of my life. Elementary school, middle school, high school, college and all the years after... there he was. And now he's not. And I'm dreading the day I go to my parents' house and he's not there. 

I will never have a dog like Griffin. There's NO dog in the world like him. He was part Boxer, part Chow, part we don't even know. He was the cutest, most handsome, most delightful dog I'd ever met. I'm so sad that he's not there anymore. That he's gone. I keep cringing, thinking about how scared and sad he must have been in that vet's office. But... he was starting to suffer. He couldn't walk anymore. His hind legs had gone out and he had lumps on his body. The last thing I want is for him to suffer and I'm glad he doesn't have to do it anymore. He had a long, happy life.

We were the luckiest family in the world.


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