Do you have a memory of a special dog in that lost his or her battle with canine cancer? If so, please email us your story and a photo and we will post it here.
13 years ago this past Monday, I met you for the first time.
You weren’t the prettiest pup. In fact, you were kind of funny lookin’ with a too-small head, a wide body and stumpy legs. I joked at the time to John (who took great offense) that we had just paid $800 for a Bassett Hound/Lab mix.
We hadn’t planned on getting a dog that day as we had simply gone to talk to a breeder who had some pups who’d be ready to take home in a few weeks. My heart wasn’t in it, I admit, as I had hoped that we’d be rescuing a dog. But we had recently lost our dear friend Amos, and you were supposed to be a belated birthday gift to John from his dad. So I grudgingly agreed to go along that day and just look, with hopes that I would convince them to adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue.
As we spoke to the breeder about the litter of puppies, she asked us if we’d be interested in an older puppy she needed to find a home for. “Sure,” we said, and she went to get you and explained that you were supposed to go to some guy who was moving to the Philippines but he hadn’t gotten the paperwork in order and she was quickly losing her patience as you had been waiting for 2 months for him to make the arrangements. At 4 months old it was time you found a home.
You walked in the room that day, shy at first, but then you spied a tennis ball on the floor. Your face lit up and you went straight for the ball and then walked directly to John and placed it in his lap. You looked up at him and asked, “Are you gonna throw that or what?” and he melted into the chair.
As they say, the rest is history.
A bright spirit entered our lives that day and we would never be the same. Last Saturday, we set your spirit free.
Gryphon changed my life in so many ways. He taught me patience, as he was one of the most challenging dogs I’ve ever had. He made me laugh every day and filled my heart with joy with his unstoppable love and zest for life. He inspired many to have faith and hope, including a little girl who faced her own battle with cancer.
He brought so many amazing people into my life and viewed every person he met as a potential friend and playmate. We called him The Mayor because he worked the crowd and had to say hello to everyone who crossed his path. He even loved to go to the vet because it meant he got to be the center of attention. He had a heart larger than his body with a personality to match, and he was the toughest dog I have ever known.
Two years ago we triumphed over cancer. Five weeks ago we learned that he would have to fight it again. Ironically it wasn't his original cancer that returned-it was lymphoma this time. But never in a million years did I doubt that he would win, that the chemotherapy would work, and that we would at least have a few more months together.
Last Friday he had a pretty good day but by late that night he was unable to stand or walk. In his usual fashion, and in a testament to his strength and “true Grit,” he rallied a little on Saturday morning and was able to enjoy the company around him. But the last thing we wanted to do was to make him linger for our sake, so we decided to let him go. We said goodbye at home, where he was surrounded by people he loved.
He was simply a very special boy and his passing has left a tremendous void in my life. Setting him free of his discomfort was a relief but learning how to live without him is the hardest part.
I hope you all continue to share his story-a story of a little black Lab who never met a stranger and who showed the world the importance of living in the moment and making the best out of every situation. The story of a survivor.
He lived life at full throttle and never made any apologies for it.
I love you, Gritty. I will miss you every minute of every day.