I would compare Wishbone to the legendary Harry Potter. Harry was the boy who, against all odds, lived, and Wishbone is the dog who, despite being close to being sent to the Bridge several times, survived for more than nine years.
Wishbone, a coonhound, was born in North Carolina, and unwanted from birth. He was marked for the Bridge by his first owner when Paula Malatesta, a legendary dog rescuer, saved him from death row and brought him home where he could become part of a large pack, some permanent, some transitory.
Wishbone saw himself as more of the transitory sort, and, the first chance he got, he ran away. Paula looked for days, posted pictures of him, and was about to lose hope when one Sunday, upon leaving church, she saw him, and ran, then tumbled, down a hill where she landed next to Wishbone, who decided if the woman were that determined to keep him he would allow himself to be kept.
Paula was stricken with health problems, and her concerned family thought the dog rescuing was the cause of her medical issues so they gathered up Paula’s rescues and her own dogs then took them to the shelter while Paula was in the hospital. Realizing that the reaper was seeking him again Wishbone fled.
When Paula was released from the hospital, she found Wishbone but knew she could no longer keep him. Thanks to the large network of moms on social media Wishy found a home with a family in faraway New Hampshire. When he entered Tiffany’ Campbell’s house and saw her husband, and two kids, he knew he was finally home and stopped running.
A few months after I departed for the Bridge my parents with Pocket and River Song went to Momma Laura and Pokey’s pack’s house to meet with several New England dogs and Whiskey’s mom from California. That is when my parents met sweet, gentle Wishbone who could not have been kinder or better behaved. He was even nice to Pocket and River which take a lot of patience. The first time my parents laid eyes on Wishbone, like everyone, they loved him.
Sometimes, when a dog escapes the Bridge’s reach, the Bridge never stops pursuing him. As Wishbone aged his body began to break down. He had trouble standing, and the doctor said he had four compressive discs in his back which caused chronic intervertebral disc disease. Wishy was in his forever home, and no matter how often they had to help him to stand and walk, Wishbone would not be leaving again.
By the end of that year, the vet told Wishy’s parents that if their beloved boy had an operation, he could walk without pain. His parents agreed. Wishbone had a difficult time after surgery, having to be carried outside, walk in a sling, and be “expressed” but Wishbone did it all with dignity. He had been through worse.
That was over a year and a half ago. The surgery did give Wishbone relief but it was temporary and each day became more painful for him. This week Momma Tiffany made the hardest decision and sent him to the persistent Bridge.
He was met by all of Paula’s pups and his New Hampshire sister Annie who had surgery to remove her leg before she got to the Bridge, only to find afterward that cancer had spread far beyond the limb. Annie is now patron saint for the tripaw dogs.
Annie announced after I swore Wishbone in like an angel, he got his wings, and the clouds of human tears passed over us, that Wishbone would join her as a patron saint.
He is the saint of all dogs whose future seems hopeless. They will now look in the sky and see a star, and that star will be Wishbone, and they will believe in a better life.
And his mom can see the star too. She doesn’t have two angels watching over her, she has two saints, which will leave her in very good paws.