This is Officer Lee Groinman.
That’s right, Washington’s most bewildered cop.
Yeah, this year, 2009, just won’t end. It all started back when my
basement blew up with those frozen pipes. Today it’s a blown water pump
in the old Dodge. Seems we’ve got a water theme going on here. I suppose
we’ll get drenched come the Apple Cup…
But hey, this is Thanksgiving, I suppose I’m thankful that a blown
water pump is not a cracked block or a blown head.. In all things give
thanks, less you blow a head gasket. A loss to the cougs and you just
might get a blown body part, well Happy Thanksgiving Dawg fans!
I wonder if the Husky marching band won’t come out Saturday and start
playin’ Frank Sinatra’s
"That’s Life, that’s life,
"That’s what all the people say,
You’re ridin’ high in April…
Shot down in May…"
Beatin’ SC at home was one of my best moments in years, the Arizona
"Riding high in April…"
Notre Dame, ASU? Ucla?
Shot down in May…
But damn, it’s what happened since that really busted my pipe.
My beautiful, albeit sly Alaskan Malamute female, my Elsie had
started to swell up a bit on her stump. She had fallen and bruised it.
Ya’ see, she took on cancer and had to have her front right wheel
amputated. She did fine. We were fearful about that lump and decided to
have it X-rayed.
The damndest thing, we had to send that X-ray down to wsu to have
some cow Doctor look at it, but then the X-ray came back clean! My Elsie
had beaten cancer! Her lungs were clear!
"You’re riding high in April…"
Now my Elsie just had to adjust to three legs, she’d already done
that, as she’d been three-legged now for four months. Well Elsie had
that lump and she was starting to cry a bit. I’d been giving her some
pain killers, but that lump had to go.
Our Vet wanted to go in and "clean out" her shoulder area. Clean out
that hematoma on her shoulder; maybe find a bleeder or two. A hematoma
for you coug fans is like a bruise.
The night before the surgery I gave Elsie her pain meds, laced in
crunchy peanut butter, I told her that "Elsie tomorrow at this time,
you’ll be eating pizza bones!" You see this surgery was just a day
surgery and she could come home that very night. When Elsie heard "pizza
bones" she smiled and licked my face.
The morning couldn’t come soon enough! This would be the day that
Elsie would get all fixed up, once and for all. No more chemo’s, no more
X-rays, no more stitches.
"Come on Elsie Bells! Let’s go for a ride in the Jeep!" Her face lit
up and she bounced down the stairs. She then did her hop-along thru the
garage and out onto the lawn. She laid down on the grass for a bit to
enjoy a nice sunny November morning.
I opened up the back of the Jeep and she hopped in. Nothin’ better
that a ride in the Jeep. As my wheel cover says. "Only in A Jeep".
My wife Gloria comes out and sets herself down in the passenger seat,
spillin’ coffee all the way. I’m drivin’ thru some country roads and the
leaves are all colored up, the sun is shining and it seems more like
spring. I look in my rearview mirror and see my Elsie smiling back at
me. She then spots another dog in some yard and gives him the what for.
I pull into the Vet’s office, Dr. Rowan. Elsie wanted to hop around
for a bit. She didn’t want to enter the door. After a bit she did. The
Vets cat then ran up to Elsie and they wrestled a bit. Crazy dog, she
always liked cats, go figure….
Dr. Rowan then gave Elsie a shot to calm her down. I had to put her
in the kennel, in the pre-stagin’ area if you will. "Pizza bones tonight
I told the Vet that I’d have to pull some stunt to get off work long
enough to pick her up after the surgery. "That’s no problem Mr.
Groinman, if not she is welcome to spend the night here."
Yeah, ‘welcome to spend the night’ means another 45 bucks on the
That’s when it hit me. I’ll tell the truth! Only I’ll make it 55
bucks; that sounds better…
"Say, uh Sarge,"
"What’s up Lee?"
"Uh, Sarge I’ll be needing to take a bit of a long lunch today, say
around 6 or so, you see my dog is havin’ surgery and if I don’t pick her
up, they gonna ring me up another 55 bucks for the over-night stay."
My Sarge, being a thrifty tight wad agreed, it’ll cost me another
batch of donuts…
I don’t think it was ten minutes later. The intercom in the Prison
blared out. Officer Groinman number for contact?" That means I had a
phone call from the outside.
"This is Officer Groinman, How can I help you?"
"Lee, this is Dr. Rowan, I’ve got terrible news. Elsie didn’t survive
the surgery. I was nearly done, and her heart just stopped."
Who was this strange voice on the phone? What the snot are you
talkin’ about? Elsie is havin’ pizza bones tonight!
I think I was in some kinda state, a funk or something. I walked into
the Sarge’s office and stammered something about "she didn’t make it."
Sarge told me to go home, they’ll cover for me.
It was a beautiful morning, just some hours ago, now rain drops are
covering my windshield. Now I had to go home to tell my wife Gloria. I’d
tried to call, phone busy. I walk into the house Gloria’s got her cell
head set on yakin’ at her co-workers and typing on the internet. I took
a seat across from her and her phone conversation ceased.
"Oh you’re home! Ready to go pick her up?"
Now Gloria is a tough ol’ bird, Army trained, Army tough.
But soldiers do cry, they surely do. Sometimes, yeah, sometimes, even
Now we had to get back into the Jeep. We had to trace back the same
route we took this morning, the same route back to the Vet’s. The sunny
colorful trip we took just a few hours ago, the rain had let up, but the
colorful trees of this morning just weren’t so colorful.
Dr. Rowan took us into her office. She had been crying. "It’s tough
on me too! I was nearly finished!" To think Elsie had beaten cancer, and
then this. I couldn’t, and can’t get a handle on it.
"Shot down in May…"
We got Elsie buried under what’s left of the old Apricot tree. The
sun had come out brightly, and now the last of its rays were going down.
"Shot down in May…"
In the morning, just after sunup. I got up and walked out to Elsie’s
grave. It was still there, it really happened, not some cruel nightmare
or joke. I talked to her a bit, until it hurt too bad. I lost my male
Mal Rocky, seems like just yesterday, now Elsie. Both of them
knuckle-heads were the only thing that could make me laugh. You see, I
lack a sense of humor. Now both my in-home clowns are gone.
Life once more, was over as I knew it…
Looking back, I realize that I was in an altered state, sleep
deprived, grief stricken, emotional drained, physically spent, blisters
on my grave diggin’ hands, a shattered wife trying to sleep upstairs,
and a part of me, I buried too, a huge part…
Maybe it was the angry state of grief that I had that was setting in,
but it set in quick.
Remembering John Belushi, and Dan Aykroyd, I grabbed my dark
sunglasses, and headed into the house. Seems that I was on a
‘Mission from God…’
I then got on the computer.
I decided to do something.
"Gonna pick myself up
And get back in the race."
I went to WAMAL.COM. Alaskan Malamute Assistance League. You can
adopt Malamutes there.
The second dog on the list, right under "Matt Dillon" was "Bella", an
Elsie spittin’ image. I could not believe it, Bella looked exactly like
Elsie! I immediately filled out the adoption application and started the
long process of the actual adoption.
We took some shortcuts…
I then ran upstairs to where Gloria was finally asleep, snorin’ like
a trooper. It had been a long sleepless night.
"Hey Gloria! Look what I did!"
Eight days later… Here’s Bella!
Like I said, we took some shortcuts…
Washington Malamute Adoption League
and Gloria at the Kennel, waiting to sign those adoption papers.
She’s now down on the bottom of the WAMAL list, under "Adoption
It takes a month to be official, it’s a trial period. She has a month
to become a good dog.
Yeah, Like that’s gonna happen…
So here it is, Thanksgiving, and I’m so very thankful that my
‘mission from God’ ended up in Bella waitin’ for Turkey scraps! She
ain’t no Elsie, but she sure is a Bella….
But hey, ya’ know that after Elsie died, I figured for sure that the
Huskies would go down and stomp on UCLA, ya’ know, just to make me feel
better. Yup, that is what I get for doin’ my own figurin’…
Now it’s WSU, do we even have go here? Let’s play some
As Frank would say
"Pick yourself up, and get back in the race!"
It’s the cougs for crappin’ out loud…
Kavario Middleton has got it right. Earlier this week he stated ; "We
want to put on a show." He says we’re going to put up at least 50
against the coug, yeah, and I say that Chris Polk will get 200 yards to
go over a 1000 for the year, a frosh record.
That oughta’ make me feel just a little bit better, and I could use a
"show" like that right about now…
DO YOU HEAR ME!
P.S. Elsie, even though we now have Bella, and often times I call her
‘Elsie’, you’re still my favorite little girl. We miss you terribly. It
is Thanksgiving, and we are very thankful for the five years we had with
you. I wish we could turn back the clock and have it be last year’s
Thanksgiving, even though you ate the whole darn apple pie…
You gave it one tough fight, what a fight. You’re still a winner
Rest in peace, Sweetie.
Many thanks to Dr. Rowan and staff: The entire staff at
Dr. Cat Nowak, Sammamish Highlands Veterinary Clinic, Mary Allen, Heidi
Howard, Misty Hertel, Stacy Thompson, Michele Wyler, and of course
Auntie April Downey, Bella’s Auntie and handler, dedicated and
professional to the core. All of you were very helpful at a real rough
spot. Also thanks to Holiday Kennels of Kent WA. and their entire staff.
Bella still misses you all, but not so much.
I smiled some as I wrote this. It was
a tough one, more tears than smiles… You laugh a bit, you cry a bit.
Just ain’t the way I planned it. As God might say: 'You think YOU
planned this?' Yup, in all things give thanks. Give thanks no matter how
bad the hurt, now that’s the tough part. We are thankful for the new,
and thankful, but sad for what we lost.. (LG)
Editor's note: Photo top: Elsie in her younger
Also, see the poem, "Sled
Dawgs for Eternity," at the bottom of the page linked herein.