The Wolf

I was still in my pajamas, trying to convince myself that today was going to be worth the effort of getting dressed, when Joey came bursting into my kitchen this morning, shouting something that sounded like “Woof! Woofie awcot! Beden. Hurry!”

I shoved my feet into battered Birkenstocks and went running after him to see what the fuss was about.

He led me across the road, where a scrawny-looking animal had gotten tangled up in some rusty barbed wire that was lying behind Freed’s Garage. The way it was howling, I thought it was a coyote, but it was bigger than the coyotes we usually get in Coldwater.

I finally processed what Joey was trying to tell me: “Wolf. He all caught. Bleeding.”

I took a deep breath. How the hell was I going to untangle a half-starved wolf from a barbed-wire fence?

I wasn’t sure what to do, so I told Joey to run and get Bill while I figured out what to do next.

On closer inspection, I realized that what I was looking at wasn’t a wolf at all; it was just a horribly lacerated, woefully underfed collie mix with a tendency toward the melodramatic. A collie I could handle. I went back home and got a roll of gauze and a pair of tinsnips.

I fashioned a makeshift muzzle from the gauze and went to work on the barbed wire. By the time Joey came back with Bill, the dog had calmed down and was just about free.

It’s a sorry-looking thing, with half its fur peeled off one leg, a couple dozen tears and punctures in its skin, and a distinct hitch in its getup. It’s so thin I can see all its vertebrae, and it cowers the way dogs do when the steel toe of a workboot is the closest they’ve ever come to human contact, but Bill and I cleaned it up and stitched up its wounds, and if it survives the night, it’s got an appointment with a vet in Santa Rosa first thing in the morning.

Joey is still convinced it’s a wolf, so if we can keep it alive, I guess I’ll call it Harvey. With a few good feedings, it should be big enough to solve problems….



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