|the house where Gryphon spent his first year|
Back in 2000, I was walking to my motorcycle on a cold winter day after work at my parent's flooring company. Apex Carpet was deep in North Philly, and for those of you not from these parts, that is pretty much the worst of Philadelphia. I walked down the street towards an old garage with a crumbling down roof when I heard something strange. There was a metal door with a large metal chain holding it not quite shut and there, whining and scratching, I could make out the slim muzzle of a large dog. The next day I saw him again, so I asked Matt, the old black man with congestive heart failure who my father had rushed to the emergency room many times, why there was a dog in his garage. Matt told me he had gotten the dog for "protection."
"Protection is fine, Matt, but when is the last time you fed him?"
"Awww....he goes out and feeds his damn self" Matt grumbled. I rolled my eyes. Dear Lord.
"Matt....let me see the dog."
Matt had one of his tenants fetch "Rocky" as he was called back then, and out rushed this emaciated, dirty, smelly mutt, wagging his tail madly. When I walked over to him he immediately rolled on his back and wagged his tail as if to say, "please rub my belly." What a sin.
I went out and bought some crappy dog food, as that is all that the corner store at 21st and Westmoreland carried, and Rocky ate all of it. Every last piece of kibble. I gave him some clean water and marveled out how much he stunk, the poor little beast. It turns out that Rocky spent most of his young life locked in Matt's filthy dark basement where he defecated in a corner. This was just too much for me. For several weeks I walked him and fed him every day, while I inquired around to see if I could find someone to adopt him
One day I decided to see if he had any food aggression issues because if he did the chances that he would survive a shelter without being put down were pretty slim. I had noticed that when my foot touched the flimsy disposable aluminum roasting pan I was using as his bowl in order to steady it while he ate, he growled a bit. Hmm, not good. I put on my large leather motorcycle glove and pulled his food bowl away, and he growled and went straight for my arm and bit the glove right in the middle. Thank god for leather. I pushed him back, hard, and he got the message that that behavior was not tolerated with me, but I knew I had a difficult case on my hand. This dog, in his current state, would not be able to be in a home with small children, and would never survive more than an hour at the SPCA.
I was able to get a woman who owned the barn where my older sister stabled her horse to agree to take the dog if I got him neutered. I was living at home with my parents and they had a cat, and besides my father always pretended he did not like animals and they were absolutely not allowed in the house.
One thing I knew is the dog needed to get out of Matt’s filthy house. I convinced him to give me Rocky, and I brought him home, but I didn’t know where to put him. It was friday night and Rich was on his way up to take me to dinner, and I was late as usual. I finally tied him to a tree on my parent’s verdant lawn, fed him, put a bowl of water next to him, and then left to get dinner. When my parents arrived home it had started to drizzle, and there was this poor wet dog, looking forlorn and sad under the tree. They took pity on him and put him up on the back porch. The next day Rocky got a bath. I had to scrub him 3 or 4 times to get the smell out. Numerous calls to the woman who was to adopt him yielded no response, so I got the message she had changed her mind. Horse people are so wacky anyway.
|Gryph's octopus, he did not last long|
|babies smell good!|
We took him to the beach and he gleefully ran down the broad expanse of Sea Isle sand, barking and chasing the seagulls. He was not incredibly fond of the water, the waves scared him, but one time I was swimming in the surf and Rich was behind me. He called to me to turn around and there, paddling in the surf, was Gryphon, blinking when the waves rushed towards him. He was determined not to let me escape via ocean. I pulled him out of the water, dried him off and gave him lots of kisses.
Richard had several boats in the 6 years that we dated, at the time it was a uber-fast cigarette boat. Gryphon used to sniff the air as we flew by at 50mph, his fur rippling in the wind. He did not, however, jump in when I went swimming in the open ocean, free of life guards and kids on boogie boards.
And that is how he came to be mine. Stay tuned for more.
|Gryph giving Rich a kiss|