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  • Writer's pictureColleen Markley

Gryffin (Sir Godric Gryffindor Markley) May 7, 2011- March 31, 2022

Gryffin crossed over the rainbow bridge on Thursday, March 31, 2022, surrounded by his family and enveloped in love. He was a perfect gentle giant and will be missed by all who ever met him.

Gryffin’s Alpha was grateful to have him as her spirit animal, soul mate, and muse. He was often the subject of essays and blogs, earning many entries on his Alpha’s first website, YesItReallyHappened, including an entire category which she aptly named “Dogs and Poop.” One of her favorite stories was when she found Gryffin snout-deep in a 20-pound bag of birdseed, munching with great delight. He then spread his bounty across the yard for days as the birdseed meandered through the insides of his barrel-chested furry body. His family was both delighted and disgusted as they enjoyed watching hundreds of birds visit the yard and eating the recycled birdseed for weeks.

Despite being carefully fed the limited-ingredient diet his humans offered to avoid his chronic ear infections, Gryffin did his best to supplement his poultry-free and dairy-free diet with exotic add-ons. His younger self was not limited by things like eight-foot-high shelves, and he successfully pulled down his Alpha’s emergency go bag, unzipped it, and ingested 4000 calories and 200 grams of fat from the MREs and gluten free protein bars (as well as the Ziploc bags in his way). He counter-surfed with stealth and covertness that could have earned him a place in special ops military branches. Entire dinners would disappear from the counter while the Alpha called the humans down to join her at the table. Pulled pork, roasted chicken, full loaves of bread, entire cakes and boxes of cereal (including much of the box), not one but two entire pizzas - all prizes of his pillaging. When he ate a tray of corn on the cob, including the cobs, Gryffin provided a perfect metaphor for his Alpha to explain the intricate meanings of life to the two small humans: “This too shall pass.”

Gryffin taught his Alpha how to be a better person. Oftentimes it was provided as a daily lesson to remember what matters, and let other things go. His tail, the size of a janitor broom, was excellent at clearing coffee tables and end tables of anything on its surface, which might be part of the reason the Alpha needed to constantly replace broken drinking glasses. Gryffin’s tail was also a comforting fan in warm weather and a helpful dusting technique. It was often a drumbeat. Gryffin would slumber on his side and thwack the hardwood floor as his humans approached, excited even in his dreaming state for the love and attention coming his way. Gryffin was a passionate dog, and the more excited he got the more drool he produced. When he shook his head, the shoestring of drool would become a sticky airborne missile. On more than one occasion the drool would reach the ceiling, creating a stalactite of saliva, often with accompanying dog fur to highlight the magnificence of this feat. His Alpha learned to not try to keep up with the cleaning and instead embrace the chaos. That is life after all.

A true gentle giant, Gryffin loved meeting other dogs. Without prompting from his humans, he would lie down in the street when a small dog approached so that he could tell them he was friendly, and he’d lay patiently while they sniffed him or crawled on his back. This love and patience applied to the small humans too. Other times Gryffin was unaware that he weighed 120 pounds and would sit on the feet of people he met. This was a badge of honor, as he only did it for people he truly liked. His Alpha always thought he was a good judge of character, and that the foot trapping was his way of asking friends and family not to go anywhere, and just stay to pet his giant head and floppy velvet ears. Gryffin had a wonderful way of reminding others to be present in the moment and spend more time expressing love.

In his later years, Gryffin forgot many of the limiting beliefs his family had about not being allowed on the furniture, and they would find him in his Alpha’s favorite chair each morning. They loved him and tolerated his senility because he was sweet and cute and adorable every time he broke the dog rules. During his early years, Gryffin understood not being allowed on furniture. He followed this well most of the time, except for when the Alpha’s mate was traveling. Then he felt it his duty to keep his Alpha company. He’d jump up into her bed and put his head (or his butt) on the empty pillow and snuggle, leaving dog fur and drool as evidence. The Alpha thought Gryffin was the perfect boyfriend. He was loving, sweet, and kind, and always knew when she was sad. He gratefully accepted tears and snot in his beautiful velvet fur whenever she needed to cry. He was also an excellent security dog and possessed phenomenal skills in barking at the windows. Gryffin saved his family six days a week from murder by mailman.

Diagnosed last May with a cancerous lump in his mouth, Gryffin withstood two surgeries and recovered like a champ, despite his irritation at having double shaved front legs and looking like a poodle instead of a Bernese Mountain Dog. While he bested cancer, his year-long battle with Lar Par was valiant but increasingly difficult, affecting both his mobility and his breathing. He told his humans how grateful he was with his eyes with every western medicine and eastern treatment they tried - Chinese herbs, chiropractic, animal medical massage, and acupuncture. His soul was pure love and adoration, and his family would do anything for him.

Gryffin was predeceased by his furry brother, Nicky, who died ten months prior in June of 2021.

Gryffin was also known as Gryff, Gryffy, Gryffy Boy, G-dog, Mr G, Señor G, Gryff Daddy, Big Daddy, Fat Daddy, G-Daddy, G-Diddy, G-Love and Special Sauce, Sweet Puppy, Pupper, Tri-Bear, Bear Rug, Big Man, Love Bug, His Royal Highness, Mr. Jingles, and Gryff Graf and a Half Who is Not a Giraffe.

It was an honor to love and care for Gryffin, and his Alpha is grateful for whatever she did in a past life to deserve a dog with so much love in this life. So. Much. Love.

Should you be so inclined to honor Gryffin, or another pet in the world, please consider donating to a place that helps pets or vets. We bring our furry loved ones to veterinary professionals when we need help with for their physical and mental well-being. Meanwhile, veterinarians have one of the highest rates of suicide of any profession. If you are linked to a person on social media who works in veterinary medicine you may have noticed them changing their profile picture to include "NOMV" with the Rod of Asclepius. NOMV stands for Not One More Vet. When you see your friend or social media acquaintance change their profile, it's usually because they have learned of another colleague that succumbed to suicide. Donations in honor of the vets who help us care for and love our pets can be made here:

Colleen Markley is a novelist and freelance writer living in New Jersey. Her award-winning essay “Unflappably Calm, Occasionally Furious, Ready and Willing to Hide the Bodies” was recently published in Sisters! Bonded by Love and Laughter. Colleen’s essay “Spaghetti-Gate” will be published in The Order of Us, an anthology due in April 2022. Named the June 2021 winner of the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop Humor Writer of the Month, Colleen attempts to be funny every month as a regular contributor riffing on the zodiac for The Dharma Direction. Her novel-in-progress, Lilith Land, is a story about the end of the world where only the women survive. (It’s a novel, not an action plan).

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