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Author Merian Snow

griff brussels griffonAuthor Merian Snow was born in Palo Alto,California and was raised in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in English Literature and a passion for writing.

In addition to career pursuits, she has had diverse experiences, from living on a boat to designing and building her own home in Baja,Mexico. Along the way, she discovered animal rescue and, with a legion of devoted animal lovers, rehomed hundreds of deserving dogs and cats in need. She met Griff in Oklahoma, where she and Griff's dad rescued him. Merian and Griff now live happily in their new-found paradise in Palm Springs, California, along with Griff's beagle buddy turned brother, Ziggy.

The First Day I Ever Met Griff

I'd like to share with you my memories of the first day I ever met Griff on December 16, 2008 in Pryor, Oklahoma. I'd been involved with animal rescue for years and I'd overseen hundreds of rescue animals at all levels of neglect and need. I thought I'd seen it all. I hadn't.

Griff was born in a puppy mill. When you hear that phrase, puppy mill, think people who have no heart or conscience who keep dogs in filthy, unthinkable conditions for the sole purpose of breeding them and selling puppies at high prices to pet stores and unsuspecting buyers on the Internet. When Griff grew past the 12-pound standard for Brussels Griffons, he was put in a barn, where he lived until he was 8 months old. He'd never interacted with people, just with his puppy brother. When the owner wanted to put him to sleep, the vet intervened. Griff was advertised on the animal shelter website in Pryor, Oklahoma and that's where I discovered him, thanks to Carolyn Erwin. Carolyn was the rarest of people, both the animal control officer AND the one responsible for finding loving homes for the dogs and cats who were brought to the pound in Pryor. I firmly believe that if it hadn't been for Carolyn, Griff would have been a sad statistic.

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We had driven about 1-1/2 hours to this meeting. It was 10 degrees with the wind chill and the snow on the ground had a layer of ice on top for good measure. We had arranged to meet the puppy mill owner at the vet's office. Picture a wooden structure with shingle siding in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by acres of stark whiteness. The wind was howling. It was so cold.

She drove up in a nice car and got out. I'll never forget that I noticed her nails and when I saw her French manicure, I thought maybe things wouldn't be as bad as I had imagined. Then she opened the back of her SUV and hauled out the dirtiest kennel I'd ever seen. She put it on the ground and said she was going into the vet's office and we could get acquainted with Zack, his name then. She handed us a tattered woven leash/collar combo that looked like it would disintegrate at any moment.

I knelt down on the ice and peered in at a dog who was way too big for the small-sized kennel. He was crouched. He couldn't sit or lie down. He was covered with his own vomit, which was everywhere. The hair on his head was so matted that he looked a little bit like a monkey. His eyes were dead.

I was so shocked that I pulled at the latch to get the door open faster. As I squeezed the levers together, the entire door fell away and he burst out of the crate. (I couldn't blame him!) There was no way to stop him. He was gone, running and slipping like mad over the ice. We watched him as he got farther and farther away from me.

I couldn't believe what was happening. For the next 20 minutes, it was a scene from a Laurel and Hardy movie, but not nearly as funny. Slipping, sliding, freezing, running, pleading.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Griff/Zack was exhausted. I was on my knees on the ice and I reached out my arms. He came to me. I'll never forget that moment. I looked at his dead eyes and hugged him, vomit and all. I slipped the threadbare leash around his neck and we slowly walked back to the vet's office.

Palm Springs Griff
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If Griff's story touches your heart and you're drawn to his cute look, then Griff and his mom invite you to check out the National Brussels Griffon Rescue website. There are so many Griffons waiting for wonderful homes. Tell 'em Griff sent you.
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