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South City Remembers Donald Griffin, Beloved Veterinarian

A memorial gathering has be announced for Friday Oct. 19 in South San Francisco.

Donald Griffin died recently of what was reportedly a heart attack, though cause of death is still unconfirmed. Griffin was the veterinarian of Spruce Avenue Pet Hospital.

The hospital currently has a book for members of the community to sign or write in with memories or condolences. People are also welcome to leave letters in the book. The book will be given to the Griffin family. 

On Tuesday there were flowers, signs and messages in chalk on the pavement outside the hospital for Dr. Griffin, known to many as "Doc."

"He'd give you the shirt of his back, literally," said Angelo J. Rossi of Palo Alto who had known Griffin for 35 years. 

Rossi said Griffin was an avid bicyclist and a basketball player, as well as an "all around sportsman."

"He will be missed," Rossi said.

Griffin is survived by his three kids, Jhani, Taylor and Sam, and his wife, Maria, of Corte Madera. 

The hospital, at 135 Spruce Avenue in South City, will remain open during its regular hours, until further notice. 

Update: A memorial gathering will take place on Friday Oct. 19 from noon to 3 p.m. at Santo Cristo Hall at 41 Oak Ave. in South San Francisco. The event will be potluck style, and attendants are welcome to bring food. The public is also welcome to attend.

Here are a couple of comments to the Pet Hospital Patch listing about Dr. Griffin. Please leave memories and condolences in the comments section below: 

"Dr. Griffin is the best! A very kind, compassionate and informed vet who who truly loves pets and takes his time in exams, as well as explaining whatever you need to know about your pet and their problems." -Victoria

"Dr. Griffin to address calmly and compassionately....Dr. Griffin is honest, patient, caring, and knowledgeable.....No concern is too small or insignificant for." -Harry E. Smith

Barbara LaRaia October 19, 2012 at 12:34 AM
I am so sad......Please read my comments on the South san Francisco Patch....
Jane Stahl October 19, 2012 at 07:41 PM
This is very sad news. Dr. Griffin truly understood the bond between humans and animals, was an excellent veterinarian, and a truly great human. He'll be sorely missed by many people and pets in the area.
Peter Carey October 19, 2012 at 09:38 PM
A very bad day for all of us. Dr. Griffin was the best Veterinarian I had ever had the pleasure to meet. He was about the animals, not about the almighty dollar. So fair, and understanding. This is a big loss, and my heart goes out to his family.
Barbara LaRaia October 19, 2012 at 11:30 PM
I just got back from Doctor Griffin's lovely memorial. It was packed with hundreds of people - and some dogs (on leash) to boot! We were asked to speak at the microphone about Doc, so I told the story of how, when the County was trying to get rid of rabies vaccination exemptions for dogs who had near-fatal reactions to the rabies vaccine, Doc and I worked together on that issue (I published an article about it, too.). The new county rule would not allow ANY exemptions for rabies vaccines, even if the dog was nearly dead (anaphylactic shock) from its previous rabies vaccine. Even if it meant the dog would probably die the next time it was given the vaccine. Doc and I were so annoyed, and doc let so many other veterinarians know about this, and Doc and about 50 other veteinarians descended upon the county - all at once in a meeting - to tell the health director how unacceptable and dangerous this new rule is. The issue is still not 100% corrected, but is better than what was being proposed, due to Doc and the other Veterinarians defending the lives of dogs. Doc was so humble - he wouldn't even take credit for all the work he did on this imprtant issue. Doc was great - he and his family have been to my home, and he was kind to animals and people. I am still a bit in shock, and still grieving. I have known Doc since 1991, and am hoping that Doc is now resting in peace with all the deceased pets he had cared for for decades.
Robert Schmitz October 21, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Robert Schmitz Dr. Griffin was a great vet, and always took the time to explain the diagnosis, and treatments of our animals. To the people that didn't frequent Dr. Griffin's office often, he may have seemed a bit aloof, and uncaring, but as one got to know him through several visits, he was quite the opposite. He seemed aloof, because he was juggling his time, like many people do, but his actions in going the extra mile for animals is something that we should all be grateful for. He was truly a compassionate and kind man, and it is with great sorrow that he must leave us, and especially his family and friends, so young in his life. In spirit Dr. Griffin!!
Heidi Langius October 22, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Oh Dr Griffin we just heard of your passing and are deeply saddened. Our Shelby wouldn't be here if it weren't for you. Wouldn't have our terrific cats that we got from you as kittens. Terrible shock for all. Our sincerest condolences to the family. RIP Doc.
Sheila Hodges October 22, 2012 at 05:12 AM
What a wonderful, giving, kind & considerate man was lost to all of us, so suddenly, especially his family. Who will we ever find to replace this amazing doctor of all our beloved pets? We were unable to attend the memorial on Friday and feel terrible about that. He did whatever he could for our 2, 18 yr. old cats through their lives & now for our latest feral. What will we do without you Doc, you were 1 in a million! Still get emotional thinking about this. God bless you and keep you always. Sheila, Jim (Ki, Scraggy & Lil' Cat)
Ken Anderson October 25, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Ken Anderson Very impressed by the wonderful comments about Doc. He was a good friend back in the 60's in Midland, MI. Don was a teammate on our 1968 Midland High football team that was Michigan State Champions. He was a defensive back and a great companion. All his friends back here in Midland are in shock. God bless you Don from all of us. I have been remembering some of the good times we had as teenagers. That football team is still a brotherhood. See you in heaven my friend.
maria driscoll October 29, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Don Griffin is and was one of the greatest men I have ever known, and I told him every month I knew him. He took care of my dog Peekaboo until he came to my house and put her down last Sept 16 2011 for 14 years......he was an angel from heaven. I begged him to take money, and he would not, so I brought him tequila and other things that he enjoyed.....I loved him and thought the would of Don, and his family..and his children, and HIM.....I am so distraught and cannot imagine him gone. I have not gotten another dog and don't know if I will now that he is gone. At least I can imagine Peekaboo with Don wherever they are and I miss them both very much. Everyone in my life knew about Don though out the years, the only good thing is that I at least called him monthly and gawked on his message machine about what a wonderful person he was and how much I loved him and appreciated him....so he knew. This is a huge shock! Love to his family. Sincerely, Maria Driscoll
Hank Guilbert November 18, 2012 at 07:29 AM
Truly a wonderful man and doctor. I knew the Doc for more than 25 years and he was an honest, caring, hard working and knowledgable man with his own distinctive sense of humor. Thank you for the many years of caring for our animals. I still cannot believe he is gone.....You were one of a kind and will be missed Doc! - Hank-
Diane Ram December 12, 2012 at 03:58 AM
12 Dec 2012 I had a chance to see Dr. Griffin a few times with my dog Lulu. He was such a great vet with a wonderful pet side manner. I only found out cause I needed to take Lulu in to see him. I am deeply saddened and stunned by his loss. I liked him the moment we met him and as busy as he was he still took on more patients. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family. He is missed.

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