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Friday, July 16, 2010

The Dog Fountain at Rhodes College - UPDATED

Posted By on Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 12:57 PM

DogFountain-small.jpg
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the interesting water fountain at Rhodes College, which was dedicated to the beloved German shepherd, Cujo, who had once belonged to a Rhodes alumnus named David Granoff.

Well, somehow Granoff found out about the story, and took the time to contact me and tell me more about the fountains — yep, there is more than one at the school — and about his life after leaving Rhodes. And he said it was okay to share some of this with you, so I will:

"I actually offered to donate these fountains 10 years earlier then when they were finally built," Granoff says. "The original person in charge of fund-raising and gifts did not think that this was an appropriate gesture for the campus, no matter what the amount was. Finally, with a changing of the guard, a new person contacted me and thought it was a great idea, as there were no water fountains out by the playing fields or the intramural fields. Ironically, when they had a major improvement of the athletic facility with a donor providing a couple of million for the tennis courts, the local newspaper featured the water fountains as the key item in a news article."

Both fountains, as you probably surmised, are by the athletic fields on the eastern edge of the college campus: "As far as the water fountain locations are concerned, I believe you found the one that was out in the area we use to refer to as the intramural fields. The other one is between the tennis courts and the Stauffer baseball field (maybe near the physical plant between the two)."

I then asked Granoff what he had been up to over the years, and he told me this:

"My Dad moved us to Memphis from New York when I was almost 4 years old (after my mother had died). He was an upcoming research doctor (virologist), and he had an offer to be one of the first docs at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, right after Danny Thomas founded it. It's ironic, as he had offers all over the country, from California to the East Coast, and he chose this upstart hospital, because he felt he could really have an impact on it. My mom had asked him to move us out of New York before she died, anywhere but the South. Looking back now, I don't believe there was a better place he could have landed. There is still a large portrait of him in the lobby of St. Jude's, and he was a very prominent figure in the success of the hospital and where it is today.

"My father remarried, a wonderful woman who raised me and my siblings as her own children. We moved to Hawaii when I was in high school, and after graduating from school in Hawaii, I had no intentions of ever moving back to the mainland. My father had me come back to Southwestern (instead of colleges in Hawaii, California, or Colorado). I guess he figured I would be screwing around too much at any of the other schools, and he was probably right. When I wasn't in college, I was back in Hawaii working and enjoying that lifestyle. After completing college, I moved back to Hawaii, but on my Dad's insistence, I ended up in med school in San Francisco, and took a residency in Southern California.

"I've actually been in Newport Beach, a small beach town between Los Angeles and San Diego for the last 26 years. I really didn't think I would get married, as I was quite content on having dogs instead of kids. I did end up finding something as close as I can imagine to my soul mate (if you believe in those things), and got married when I was older than the majority of my peers. We talked for years about moving back to Hawaii, but I think it's better for my dog and my kids, to raise them in this area, over my desires for warm water surf.

"I recently retired from medicine to spend more time with my kids and surf more (which, according to my wife, is impossible). I never had an older patient tell me they wished they had spent more time in the office, and I took that to heart. I've been spending my time as a PE teacher at their public elementary school. I have a lot more clout with my kids and their friends being a PE teacher, than I ever had being a doctor. The school is right on the beach (one of only two with a location such as this in the U.S.), so it's a pretty good gig. Our playground is directly on the beach. These kids don't know how good they have it, when we have to stop a game to watch a pod of dolphins or the rare whale swim by. I don't remember that happening at Grahamwood or White Station ..."

So that's the story of Dr. David Granoff, and the dog fountains at Rhodes. He sounds like quite a remarkable fellow, if you ask me. And yes, he still has German shepherds.

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