He needed me as much as I needed him. We rescued each other. Even though I knew he could not be a replacement for a service dog, he could fill a void left in my heart. I had no other expectations. Griffin had his own ideas. He quickly learned to walk on a loose lead beside my wheelchair. Defying his years, he dashed with unbridled glory through tunnels and obstacles in an Ability-Agility class designed for people in wheelchairs. We were both reaching beyond our dreams and our limitations.
One day, I showed Griffin the telephone with its special handle. A curve of gnarled wood mounted on a strip of leather held years of tooth marks and scents. I gently placed the phone in front of Griffin, holding it as if it were a sacred object. His black nose twitched, breathing in years of enticing smells. With a glint in his eyes, his nostrils flared. He snuffled it. Sniffed it. And with remarkable ease, keenly grasped the handle between his teeth. Give. Good boy! It rapidly became a game of hide and seek. "Go get the phone," I'd call, and off he'd run. Griffin just as eagerly learned to retrieve items or pick up anything I dropped, carefully placing objects in my lap.
Affectionately nicknamed "The Griff," he does it all with a wag, a smile and a swagger. I am finding rescue appreciation is boundless.