Two years ago, as I lay, virtually helpless, day after day, in the bed in the library, I would apologize every morning to Lord Tyee. He would come to me for the morning nuzzle and I would wonder if I would ever again be able to climb the stairs to our spacious, comfortable bedroom under the eaves. Too weak even to pull his ears or return his affection except through my voice and eyes, I would pray to survive for at least the rest of his lifetime—because…who the heck would take on a huge, bereaved wolf?
Two years later, my C-Reactive Protein has sunk from 104 to about 6, the red blood counts are all back to normal, the threat of bone or blood cancer has retreated—I’m working on the remaining problems—and Lord Tyee and I are back in our private aerie every night.
He’s not one of those canines who curl up at one’s feet, much less force one to fight for space in the bed. He has a papa-san cushion to himself—sort of a circular mattress five feet in diameter—a little crocheted blanket made for him by an admirer who gravely underestimated his size, and an assortment of beloved stuffies, one of which may spend the night between his paws. From our respective beds, we spend some time looking at each other, sending thoughts and emotions across the small space between us. I try to make my mind as sweet and clean as his.
He loves his bed; not infrequently I catch him splayed out on his back, paws up, or running and growling happily in his REM sleep. Is he in the Dog Park or chasing the kitties and deer I won’t let him chase in our pedestrian days? It’s too endearing for words, when you consider his wild heritage. But then, wolves are all about family and love and play. As Temple Grandin says in her book Animals in Translation, dogs don’t grow up; wolves do. It’s rather sad that this noble being has just one old lady ape in his pack.
My publisher, who is much younger than I, has let me know in no uncertain terms that another Lord Tyee Mystery is wanted, a.s.a.p. And then another one, please. My publisher has a point: large canines don’t last much more than a decade. You wouldn’t know it to see Tyee cavort in the Dog Park, but he turns eight years of age this month. In the nest of his left armpit is lodged an egg-sized lipoma, the kind of thing vets pronounce benign but tell you to keep an eye on.
Life is short. Just when you get to the part where you know how to breathe and really love being alive, things get iffy. There’s no knowing how it all turns out.
One of us will have to do the grieving. Meanwhile, I’ll put on boots, he’ll put on his collar and we’ll go out into the rain to sniff out another secret or two of the wide, wide world.