Nearly nine years ago today Lupine entered my life. I found her in a field of horses, wolf dogs, and snow in Crawford, Colorado. Her mother arctic wolf, coyote and husky, her father timber wolf and malamute. He was large and she was small, and wary and looked like a coyote in her stare. Lupine is peach and the other pups were more wolf life but nonetheless she howled when she first ate at the house, threw her tiny pup head back, and let out this cry then settled down in her warm bed to sleep.
I carried her around in a pack for quite a while and took her to the snow and let her run. On this day, years ago, Thanksgiving I was worried about how much she was salivating as a puppy in Colorado and I called a vet they nicknamed St. Vincent or Dr. Vincent because of his kindness to animals and the people who came to his house office. I told him what was going on and he told me to come over. It was a holiday but he greeted me warmly and told me there was nothing wrong and he knew there would be a problem but figured I would ruin my Thanksgiving worrying! He sent me on my way with some apples and no charge.
Dr. Vincent would help me when my twenty-one year old cat would die and said to the day when she would not be able to go on. He gave me some syringes I could use to hydrate the cat with Pedialite and water for those harder last days. When I got Lupine she went out in the yard and found the rock that Giz-cat was buried under and sat on it like she was prodigy. She never dug at the grave.
I had put my red horse Rocky down just a month before getting Lupine from a terrible accident due to the negligence of where he was boarded. I did not connect the color of my horse with Lupine’s strawberry blonde fur but I certainly got some of that attitude that Rocky would bluster around with like Lupine. But Rocky would tenderly lay his muzzle against my chest and Lupine would do the same for comfort.
Rocky had short ears from frostbite up in Montana and when I got him at a truck stop in Deming at 4am and I said his name he turned and we connected quickly as I took him out of the large truck with fancy racehorses and led him to his hand painted trailer we would drive him home in to meet Gunner and roam by the Gila River. He was not good at letting folks ride him but we hung out in the pastures, round pen and short rides. He was my first horse at fifty four.
When Rocky was put down and I stood there as sundown with him and he lolled over after the shot and we gently floated him to the ground. It is hard to fathom that a small area of his body would slowly destroy his life with lameness and illness. Now I face so many years later Lupine’s cancer harboring in her bone and mouth and misdiagnosed as a loose tooth that will do the same. I think the surgery to remove the tooth spread the cancer because of the misery that ensued after the surgery and the frustration with no one taking me seriously that something was deeply wrong after this extraction.
Today Thanksgiving again we were given the report of her biopsy involving a radical surgery that I will not undertake but now it seems will travel with her in the time she has left in the adventures we can manifest together and a bucket list.
Digging deep in the ground with her claws scratching on steel she insists on uncovering a grate that is for drainage close to the medical center where they examined her mouth. As I sit here I watch the focus and intensity. Just a bit earlier she stares into a field and slowly I see the rustle of a coyote far away. I am not understanding her digging around the grate but when it is exposed from under the mud I kneel and see nothing in there but a culvert. I realize that it is a passage way for the prolific bunnies in the area. As she moves over to another side of the complex she finds another grate and leans into it and stares and looks at me.