The Just Love Project 016: In Case of Adventure, Bring Dog

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New life adventures always bring uncertainty. And even when so much is unknown about a new road ahead, here are three things we know to be true:  

  • Some parts will be terrifying.
  • Some parts will be pure joy.
  • All parts will definitely be better with a dog.

In the case of Marissa & Griffith, check, check, and mega-check.

Three years ago, Marissa was working at a pet grooming salon in LA. An actress that shall remain nameless enters the salon with a puppy she’s been calling Griffith after finding her on a hiking trail in nearby Griffith Park. Marissa went over to greet the pint sized pup, fell in love, considered her options for approximately 3-7 seconds, and replanned her route home to pick up food, bowls, and a variety of other comforts to welcome Griffith to her new home.

Just two months later, she decided to move to Chicago to be closer to her family. With a Kia Rio packed to the brim; 2,000 miles to cover; her mom; cat, Inky; and, Griffith all on board, the start of Marissa’s next chapter was officially underway. A lot felt different. Perhaps most-notably: the wet-nosed, cheery mutt riding shotgun next to her.

Marissa (right) & her mom (left) on the road

Griffith riding shotgun

The drive was good – “until it was horrible.” Already battling sunshine withdrawal and a slowly returning memory of what Chicago winters felt like, they ran into trouble driving through the Rockies in Colorado. A snowstorm pounded the area and didn’t let up. They had been pulling a trailer behind the car. After hitting an icy patch, the trailer fishtailed, which pulled the car into oncoming traffic. Despite a minor collision, everyone was physically unharmed.

“It was the scariest moment of my life,” Marissa remembers. Her mother took over. Griffith was unharmed and relatively . . . unphased.

Already enduring the transition to a new phase of life, Marissa arrived at a hotel that night understandably rattled. But it wasn’t anything Griffith couldn’t help turn around. Energy levels were high. And as a dog used to the warmer climate, the love for the snow was even higher.

“She really did keep me sane and know that everything was going to be okay,” Marissa says.

Fast forward to today, and while geographically she’s stayed in Chicago, the progress Marissa’s covered is significant. She says she has Griffith to thank for that.

“She helped me grow up. She taught me how to be less selfish and how to love unconditionally no matter how many times she may have misbehaved. I couldn’t ask for a better dog.”

And if Griffith’s smiling face is any indicator, the feeling’s very mutual.

Marissa & Griffith’s story is part of Mutt Jackson’s THE JUST LOVE PROJECT – our blog series dedicated to celebrating the extraordinary bonds that exist between humans & their dogs. Every Wednesday, we’ll be sharing a new piece – be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so that you don’t miss an installment! And, if you or someone you know think you have a tale to tell, please shoot us an email at – we’d love to hear from you!