Posted by: jility | September 16, 2012


1400–50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin grātitūdin- (stem of grātitūdō ) thankfulness, equivalent to grāt ( us ) pleasing + -i- -i- + -tūdin- -tude
Related forms

o·ver·grat·i·tude, noun

un·grat·i·tude, noun

thanks, thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness.

For the most part, my life is an open book. There are, however, a few things that are off limits to all but my closest friends and those I trust to keep what I tell them in a vault until told otherwise. The more painful and personal, the less I like to talk about it. There have been more of those times than I like to think about in the past twenty or so years.

When Crush was diagnosed with cancer, I debated whether or not to share the news. It took me about a week to make that decision. I finally decided to share because I thought it might help others who are, or will be, going through the same thing. I also thought it might give others the push they need to really dig for answers when they know in their heart that something is wrong with their dog; even when they are told otherwise.

As if the blow of being told that Crush had cancer weren’t enough, the Universe chose to send us a puppy born with a mutation that caused her to have a defective C1 vertebra. That condition would eventually lead to paralysis. Even though undetected cancer was taking its toll on Crush for the past couple of years, it took a lot longer for Crush’s tumor to grow large enough to be palpated. It took about five months for Xoom’s weird boney mutation to close down on her spine enough to cause paralysis. All of this bad news hit us in a matter of days. Mel & I have been through a lot worse in our 38 years together, but this has hit us pretty hard. When we got the news about Xoom, I thought long and hard for a few days, whether or not to write about it. In the end, I thought her story might be helpful, so I chose to share the details.

Not only were we devastated emotionally, it hit us pretty dang hard financially as well. We knew trying to fix these two girls was the right thing to do, but it wouldn’t be easy. One surgery is bad enough, but two was overwhelming. When we got the email last Friday that Suzanne Wesley had set up a donation page on Fundrazr, we were blown away! The support and generosity from the agility community and beyond, has been mind boggling. I have been brought to tears of gratitude on several occasions.

When I read the comments on Funrazr, Facebook and my blog, I am overcome by the warm and fuzzies and the outpouring of support from some of the most amazing people on the planet!

Nancy Kemna, Lisa Kaufman and Toni Cramer have gone multiple times to feed, stroke and kiss little Xoom. I LOVE the photos, videos and reports they so kindly send to us. We decided not to make the eight hour round trip to see Xoom because they are trying to keep her calm. We fear she will get too excited to see us and too agitated when we leave. My favorite report is the one about how she rolls over and lifts her rear leg for a tummy rub when anyone gets with half a mile of her pen. I SO miss kissing her freckled nose and soft tummy.

Both girls are on the mend and doing very well indeed! Crush has begun her physical therapy and Xoom gets to come home tomorrow. Things are looking up. We will cherish every single day we have with these very special girls.

Ready for action! BATGIRL!

Sometimes a word by itself is just not enough. I have been accused of using too many exclamation points, adjectives and adverbs in my writing and in my everyday speech. I am told that, with overuse, it can diminish the point I am trying to make. It is who I am. I wear most of my emotions on my sleeve, and need a lot of words to describe how I feel.

My lovely, but recently departed neighbor whom I adored, used to share some of the very clever word combos her then young granddaughter would use to express herself. Some are universal to most youngsters, but some were unique to that clever girl. One of my favorite word combos was “versited.” Coincidently, I have heard my own young granddaughter use the same word combo. When you think about it, word combos make perfect sense. “Versited” originates from “very” and “excited.” It saves time and really slams home the spirit of how the person is feeling.

Think about how young children feel on Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa to deliver all of their wildest dreams. As a young child, that feeling started for me about a week before Christmas (which feels like a few years when you are five or six years old). Feelings of excitement and anticipation built as that very special (“vercial”) day of all days drew near. By the time Christmas Eve arrived, that feeling was much more than just simple excitement! I was MORE than excited! I was more than VERY excited! I guess you could say I was VERSITED! Just saying VERSITED feels like more than just saying “very excited.” Say it out loud, “VERSITED!!!” Now, if you are even more than versited, you can be “VERY VERSITED!” That might describe Crushie as she is getting ready to go in the ring at an agility trial, or a small child as they descend the stairs towards the Christmas tree on that special morning.



There are also grownup word combos. Some might not be appropriate to use here (I am not sure why, because that has never stopped me before). Those would be the kind made up by Sir Cussalot. The first word might start with the sixth letter of the alphabet. You can use that word in many different situations. It can be a noun, a verb, an adjective and, for most of Sir C’s purposes, an adverb. It might be a “FUTIFUL DAY” or you might have a “FUBULOUS RUN” at a trial or, if you have two dogs going through horrible health issues and a brilliant community rallies around to make you feel like the most special people on the planet, in Sir C speak, you might feel incredibly “FURATEFUL!”

We have tried to personally thank everyone who contributed to the vet bill fund and sent well wishes to Crush and Xoom. There have been quite a few anonymous contributors as well, so those we would like to thank here. I hope you all know just how VERY GRATEFUL we are (or “VERATEFUL”)!  We are also VERATEFUL to Mary Van Warmer for putting the bug in Stacy Winkler’s ear, who set the ball rolling, and to Suzanne Wesley for setting up the fund. You can be assured
that every penny will go to Crush & Xoom’s vet and rehab bills.

We now refer to Xoom as “The Community Puppy” and have jokingly threatened to change her name to PayPal ;). Just when things seemed so dark for us, our community of friends have made us feel so warm and loved. You all (I guess since I am combining, that should read Y’ALL) have no idea just how much you picked up our spirits with your show of support. I have read every single comment on the Funrazr site over and over again. Those comments have lifted my spirits and renewed my faith in the human race.

Saying thank you just isn’t enough. To tell you we are grateful just isn’t enough. We are incredibly FUVERATEFUL to ALL of you FUCREDIBLE people!!!

Helen Grinnell King


  1. […] […]

  2. I’m so happy to see the powers of love & friendship, in your corner Helen! These days have been such a roller coaster ride for you & Mel! You both must be ‘sofa king’ exhaustipated; you need a good night’s sleep with all your girlz!

  3. glad to hear you guys so so positive… sending good thoughts & prayers your way. stay strong… this post was unbelievably sweet.

  4. You guys are just the best!!!! I know this is going to work out and we will have a puppy reunion early Feb. Lots of love Francisca and Brent xxxxxx

  5. Tomorrow’s a big day.
    Know that we are all sharing it with you . …”paypal ” ya, I like it.

  6. Hi Helen, Thanks for “Gratitude”! My reaction would utilize a bunch of Sir C’s expletives ! So rather than taint the e-mail channel, I’ll just say I’m really sorry you, Mel, Crush and Xoom have had to go through so much ! It sounds like things are gradually getting back to normal, if there is such a thing. I’m glad Xoom is going to finally get back home . . . . and, I guess Crush is already home ! May they both stay healthy and happy for years to come ! Damn it all to Hell ! (couldn’t resist) Ron

  7. I’m sure you’ll be happy to have her back, & she’ll be happy to be back.

  8. Sniff…. your girls deserve the best – as do you an Mel!

    Hope to see you before you head south.

    Kathy & Dick

  9. 🙂

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