Shane Griffin is one of Canada’s most famous entrepreneurs. This Toronto local is known for owning some of the city’s hottest night clubs and venues. But what many people don’t know is that after years in the nightlife industry, Shane became addicted to drugs and alcohol. Things got worse before they got better, propelling Shane into a downward spiral that almost took his life. But eventually Shane realized that he needed to make a major change – not only for himself but for his dog, Mr. Bronx.
Determined to turn his life around, Shane sold off his venues and entered rehab. Shortly after his release, he earned a degree in Applied Holistic Nutrition and started investing and running some of North America’s top health-based companies. Mr. Bronx was there for him every step of the way.
Now a certified service animal, Mr. Bronx travels with Shane around the world, speaking to other addicts and people in need to encourage them to make a change. Eager to learn more, Animal Wellness Magazine spoke to Shane about Mr. Bronx and their inspiring journey.
AW: Do you believe animals can help us heal?
SG: Absolutely. The simple fact that they don’t care who or what we are is the most amazing thing. The unconditional love is of such value to us as humans. I truly believe they are living angels among us.
AW: Tell us more about Mr. Bronx!
SG: He is a boxer. He is my best friend and we are practically inseparable. He has been with me for seven years, the first two of which I was still using drugs and alcohol, and he was crucial in my recovery. Mr. Bronx is loyal and always there for me on so many levels.
AW: Where did the name Mr. Bronx come from?
SG: I was driving through Brooklin, Ontario on my way home from picking him up when a friend from Manhattan called me. I looked at him and thought, you must be the Bronx! The “Mr.” came two years later. My youngest niece was five years old at the time, and she looked at me and said, “Uncle Shane, Bronx is so big. I think we should call him mister.” And that was that!
AW: How has Mr. Bronx helped you stay sober?
SG: He’s constant love and support. He intuitively knows when I’m having a tough day and just stays by my side. He also makes me maintain care for someone other than myself, and I feel that is abundantly important.
AW: Mr. Bronx also helps others on their path to recovery. Tell us more about that.
SG: I often speak at treatment centers and he comes with me. He is a natural pathway to relaxing people and is so generous with his love. He knows when we’re going to work and gets excited. He loves his job. Constant support and lack of judgment is fundamental to recovery, and service dogs offer that.