Earlier this year, the Richmond SPCA took into our care a sweet, elderly dog who came to be known as Grizz. It was the end of January, and it was apparent that this would be the first winter in his 14 years that Grizz would spend indoors, protected from the elements.
While awaiting a home in our adoption center, our staff tried everything to make Grizz comfortable in what had to be a very foreign environment for him, but no matter how many soft, plush beds he was given, this golden retriever mix would not sit or lie down. Fortunately, it did not take long for Grizz to find the loving home where he would relax and build confidence. Less than a month after we took him into our care, his profile on our website caught the eye of Patricia Reed and Sharon Brown.
Patty and Sharon, along with their Basset hound/Labrador mix Dexter, came to our Robins-Starr Humane Center the evening of February 21, and it was an instant match. While visiting the dog who would become a member of their family, they said to our adoption counselor how much they wanted to give a home to an elder dog to spend his “twilight years.”
Recently we received the sad news from Sharon that their beloved companion, who they’d renamed Griffin, had passed away on June 5. Though their time together was brief, he became family.
That love is evident in the photos Sharon shared and in her details of their life with Griffin:
During his time with us he became a part of our family. He and his canine brother Dexter enjoyed hanging out in the back yard, going for car rides (especially to Grandma and Grandpa's house on Gwynn's Island where the food bowl is always full), evening walks around the neighborhood and visits to PetSmart. He loved sleeping on his doggie bed by our bed at night. He was a sweet boy and we miss him greatly. One of our favorite memories is driving down the road with Griff's head out the passenger window behind the driver's seat. He LOVED that. And people would drive by us and wave at him.
We knew he was 14 years old when we adopted him but we still hoped to have a year or two with him. Even though we had only three and a half months, all of that time is cherished. We wouldn't trade one moment because we learned about unconditional love from Griff. He was a wonderful teacher. We remember the smile and excitement from him when it was time to go for a walk or a ride, the way he allowed us to kiss the heart on his forehead every day, the way he would lay his head on our laps while we prayed, the wonderful kitchen helper he was while we fixed meals and did dishes. We wish everyone could see him walking down the road, his ears flopping and his tail wagging. He got us off the couch and into our neighborhood. People driving by would slow down to comment on what a lovely dog he was. He was more interested in the walk and being with us, greeting everyone with a smile.
If we could talk to people interested in adopting a pet we would tell them to consider an older pet. Griff was incredibly stressed and anxious when we met him. It took a couple of hours but later that evening he finally laid down and went to sleep. He blossomed as he felt he was a member of a family. We are so glad to give him that feeling of love during the last months of his life. We hope everyone will give equal consideration to the senior pets just looking for a loving home during the twilight of their lives. The adopters will receive more love than they will ever be able to give to these wonderful pets.
Tabitha Frizzell Hanes is the director of advancement for the Richmond SPCA. To read her biography or that of our other bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our comment guidelines. Please note that our comment policy requires a first and last name to be used as your screen name.