Saying Goodbye to Griffin
Updated: Mar 11, 2022
Looking out at the Turquoise waters of Chalk Sound I am trying hard not to cry. Griffin is failing. I wonder if he waited until we left on purpose. He isn’t eating. His breathing is labored. I agonize about how to manage this from so far away. I can’t bear to put him down without being there and I also can’t bear that he is suffering. Rees picks up a roast chicken which seems to help and for the moment at least Griffin is eating. But that doesn’t change the fact that he needs to be released from this world and allowed to rest. I do the best I can, contacting his vet, who is not available, and four other practices until I find someone who can come on Sunday, the earliest I can get back being Saturday afternoon. I have spent an insane amount of time on hold with Jet Blue, since their online itinerary change site isn’t working. Last night I waited 52 minutes to talk to someone to find out my options. I am at 50 minutes already today trying to make the change. It is maddening that this is how industry works. Whatever happened to reasonable customer service? Next I will need to reschedule my COVID test and hope for the best. This situation brings home for me just how horrendous and heartbreaking COVID has been for those with sick relatives whom they were not allowed to comfort in person. I have a new sense of just how painful that would feel, to be denied access to your loved one who may be dying. I feel sick thinking about it.
While I wait for Jet blue to pick up, I think about Grif. He came from Indiana, a rescue with a soulful face and sad eyes. Mostly lab, who we picked up from a trailer filled with puppies in Connecticut fourteen years ago. From the beginning he was a character. Not your typical lab other than his insatiable love of food. When we got him home the first thing he did was run away, hiding in the furthest corner of our yard until we could coax him out. He was a chewer right from the start and in short order destroyed all our kitchen baseboards, 6 dining room chairs, and every rug on the first floor. He liked to stray, and was never one to gaze adoringly at his humans, but preferred an independent existence. Despite all that he became a steadfast and true companion especially to Rees, who was nine when we got him, and to Isabelle who has been his sister dog for her entire life and likes nothing better than spooning with him or snuggling up and laying her head on his hindquarters. I don’t know how she will handle the loss. She has taken up a position next to him on an adjoining dog bed since he got sick, and in the past week rarely leaves his side.
Still waiting for JetBlue after 53 minutes and to pass the time here are some of my favorite Griffin memories.
The time he peed on a man’s leg at the dog park.
When he ate an entire package of Halloween Rees’s peanut butter cups,
and also the time he ate a loaf of uncooked yeast bread dough sitting on the counter, and also the time he ate my parents frozen pork chops when they were dog sitting, for which they have never forgiven him.
The time he chewed through Rees’s swim team back pack to get at the snacks hidden inside, delicately creating a hole, pulling out the baggy and consuming the contents without eating the plastic bag.
All the times he stole Callie’s cat treats, unscrewed the cap, ate all the treats and left the empty jar in the back of the crate so we wouldn’t know.
How much he loves snow. Rolling and rolling and rolling. And Christmas. His excitement gazing up at the stocking and then finally getting the gifts, the squeaky toy to destroy, treats, enjoying each one.
The way he didn’t like to have his head patted but loved being scratched on the butt and behind the ears.
How much he loves his crate, disappearing into the dark interior where he is nearly invisible. It’s where he goes when he knows he’s getting a bath, or going to the vets, and becomes impossible to get out. I remember having to actually disassemble the crate to get him out.
And how could we forget the time we were at a swim meet in New Hampshire staying at the Day’s Inn and he had explosive diarrhea in the hotel room. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough, and never went back.
At last, Jet Blue has answered, flights changed, and plans made. I need to get back to my Griffin and give him all the love I can for the little time he has left. Thank you for being part of our family for fourteen years sweet dog. We love everything about you and will miss you more than I can say.