The Wolf King, my sweet Tucker Pup, is the first dog I have ever had who has lasted.
My first dog, when I was four years old, was smooshed by a passing car after only two weeks with us.
My next dog, when I was nine, was way too much trouble and was given away two years after I got her.
I never had another dog until I was 34, living in the first (and only) house I’ve ever owned. My two children were young. My third was still just a distant hope in my heart.
We got a dog. She was sweet, gentle, smart, a lot of fun. She was here with us when our third child was born. We loved her!
Then we discovered that the kids were desperately allergic to pets. After our son got home from his asthma/pneumonia hospitalization, we had to let her go. She was adopted by a local family, but we never saw her again.
Then, finally, we got Tucker. The kids were all grown up, all able to manage their allergy symptoms. All on their way to their own lives, away from here.
We got Tucker. Tuckerman. Our big (much bigger than we anticipated) hound dog.
The Wolf King.
He has brought us so much joy, love, aggravation, fur and pleasure. He was Sadie’s boon companion for the last eight years of her life.
Now he is an old man. He doesn’t see well. He doesn’t always digest as efficiently as our nasal passages would like.
His back and his hips are arthritic, aching, weak.
We got him, God help us, a puppy.
Who has made him remember what it was to play. The puppy has reminded him of the joy of chewing rawhide. Its been good.
The Wolf King sometimes can’t get back up the stairs after a romp in the yard with the pup. Sometimes he needs us to give him a push. Or a lift.
This afternoon the two dogs were outside, romping, jumping, pretending to be ferocious fighters. Bark, bark, growl, bark, jump, twist, bark, bark, YEOWCH.
The Wolf King couldn’t get back inside. We got the pup in his crate and we urged and encouraged and finally the old guy wobbled his way, step by aching step, up onto the deck. He shivered and shook his way into the living room, where he laid down on the rug.
We gave him his gabapentin. We put on an ice pack. I massaged along his spine. He lifted his regal head and looked me in the eye. “This sucks” his deep brown eyes said to me. “It does for sure,” I said out loud.
He fell asleep. I rested my forehead on his. My tears soaked his sweet, puppy soft fur.
What will I tell Ellie when her best beloved old Tucky isn’t around anymore to comfort her when she’s sick?
I know. He isn’t done yet. He still loves his walks and his chicken liver and his romps in the snow with the pup.
He still loves us.
And he sure does love his Ellie. Yesterday’s post proves that.
I’m happy for every day with this old guy. I’m happy for every time that Ellie leans down to kiss his old head.
And you know what?
I’m happy for every single time that puppy Lennie gets him to forget his aches and pains for a few minutes.