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Groovy's Game

How a mutt saved my son's life.

By Sherry Lowell-LewisPublished about a year ago 5 min read


How we got him.

My son Ben lost his dearest friend because of a car crash. His friend, Brandon, was drunk. He drove the wrong way on the interstate and had a head-on collision. Ben was heartbroken. For months, he did little. He was very sad.

One day, another good friend, Eric, took him for a ride to his aunt’s ranch for a cookout. They kept chickens and one of their dogs had puppies. The puppies loved the chickens. They would chase the chickens. Sometimes, they would run out into the street and be hit and killed. Ben did not like what he was seeing there. Then, one of the puppies looked at Ben, ran across the yard, skidded to a stop in front of him and sat down, still wagging his tail.

Ben fell in love with that dog. Picked him up and cuddled him for a couple of hours. Then the aunt offered to sell him to Ben. Ben was out of work and had no money. Depressed, he put the dog down and went to Eric’s car to wait.

Eric found out what had happened and took the dog to Ben.

Naming the dog was easy for Ben. His best friend had a nickname, and so he named the pup for his friend. Groovy. I suggested “Groovy II” but Ben wasn’t having it. I guess we got a dog.

Ben was devoted to this dog. He rarely worked at a job for more than a week. Groovy was therapy for Ben and it worked quite well. They spent all day and all night together, except for a few minutes with me, when I got home from work.

Groovy was Ben’s dog, without question. Until I got out the car keys. He could hear the jingle from the back yard and come crashing through the house to get to the front door before me. It was so cute, how much he loved to go for a ride. If I could take him, I would.

We live in the desert southwest, so much of the time, it’s too hot to leave a pet in the car, even with the windows open. But if I knew it would be a quick stop, or if I would be in the car, too, then he would come with me. He was a mutt, but to us he was a thoroughbred hero dog.

Whenever I would run into a convenience store, when I came back out, Groovy would be sitting very straight and tall in the driver’s seat. As I approached the car, I would ask him if he was going to drive. Anyone in hearing range would smile, laugh or comment. More than once, as I was coming out of the store, someone coming in would glance over, see Groovy and do a double take. He looked so comfortable and self-assured, like he belonged there. The chauffeur. I wanted to get him a hat. When I got to the door, I would say, “Back seat,” and he would go into the back seat. Often, he would come to the passenger seat and sit or lay down.

He was spoiled, but he was well-trained. He never ventured far from Ben’s side. We could take him outside and he would not run off, though the smells and sounds were tempting. It was as if he knew he got lucky with Ben and he wasn’t going to lose that. One time, he started to leave the yard to explore. I called out his name and he skidded to a stop, eyes on me. He stopped running away and came right back. Good boy!

I remember when we took him to my in-laws when they got irrigation for their pecan trees. They had a German Shepherd named Rex. He was bigger and stronger, but Groovy still loved to play with him. When irrigation water was added to the mix, he was in heaven! Once, I yelled at him from the back porch to stop. He had found a gopher hole and captured a gopher! I watched him eat it, mud and all. He would run himself ragged and sleep very well. The cover picture, above, is of Groovy, happily soaking in the muddy irrigation water. Good boy.

What is most special about Groovy is that he saved Ben’s life.

When his friend, Groovy (Brandon) died, Ben felt helpless against the trials of life. If Groovy couldn’t handle it, how could he? Why should he?

Groovy (the dog) provided him with a function, a reason to live and even a little happy sometimes. Because that dog was very entertaining! He was curious and loving.

I loved him. Ben loved him. We lost him when he was only four. He had a kidney infection that took him suddenly and quickly. Ben was devastated, but he knew he had to struggle. He didn’t give up. He was just very, very sad.

The pandemic hit. We were told we could travel within a one-hundred-mile radius. My other son and his family live 120 miles away, so I was very cautious about making the trip.

Then Colin called me that someone had found three puppies, living under a house. Did I want one?

I wanted two. Did Ben want one? He agreed to go up with me to look at these two dogs. The third was already adopted.

I end Groovy’s story with this. We adopted two females and Ben is in love again. One or the other sleeps with him, the other with me. They often switch during the night. Now we have Xena and Heidi, and we love them. But we both know it’s not quite the same. Groovy was special.

extended family

About the Creator

Sherry Lowell-Lewis

Actor, writer, voice-over artist, teacher, author, mother and Grammy of 4. I've done a lot. I grew up in Bolivia, Laos and Taiwan. Married 25 years, widowed. Please read my stuff and leave a comment! Thanks.

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