"Come," said the cat. "It is time."
It happened like this…
One summer afternoon, a Pembroke Welsh corgi suddenly appeared on our deck, outside Joyce’s office. He was movie-star handsome, with intensely aware eyes.
Joyce rushed out.
Our visitor beamed. Joyce beamed. Love at first sight.
This dog didn’t just walk into our house—he sauntered. He radiated self-confidence. Yet, before entering each room, he looked back over his shoulder, checking. “Okay for me to go in here?” This dog was smart.
Joyce felt, deep down, that he came to us for a reason.
Nosmo came, in fact, because his own home, a half mile up our country road, no longer suited him. His people left him alone all day and evening, with a bunch of cats. That irked him. So he set out to find a new home and found us.
Just as he joined us full time, Joyce received a telephone call from her doctor—“I’ve got really bad news—you have to go into the hospital right now.”
Acute myelogenous leukemia. Chances of a cure: imperceptible.
Her oncologist said: “I hope I can give you two good years.”
All those months, lying in a hospital bed, Joyce invented a regime for herself: as toxic chemicals pumped into her, she imagined tiny Nosmos running through her veins—exuberantly barking—chasing away bad blood cells.
Let’s cut to the chase: Joyce’s statistically tiny chance of a cure turned out, for her, to be one-hundred percent. It's been 20 years since her diagnosis.
One afternoon, after the crisis passed, Richard walked with Nosmo in our meadow, and realized he could read the corgi’s mind—a mischievous glint in the eye, a cocking of the head, a peremptory bark….
Richard had started his career with a big urge to write fiction, but instead wound up writing magazine articles and essays. Right then, though, a fantasy story took shape in his head, about a world where some people, at least, talked with animals.
It became Wil Deft.
One character in the novel, a dog, “Tobi,” was supremely self-confident (where did that come from?), and preternaturally bright. Also, talkative. Next came a second novel, Sinnabar, and Tobi reappeared, still chatting away.
To be published shortly: a mystery novel, with one character a Pembroke Welsh corgi, who is….supremely self-confident and intensely bright.
Joyce, meanwhile, is now writing the true story of how a soulful dog came to live with us, and made everything better.
About that name. His former people, who’d just quit cigarettes, named their new puppy “Nosmo King,” a rearrangement of “No Smoking.” We didn’t like that name at all.
We decided, though, it actually was of Hobbit derivation, like Bilbo or Frodo, with maybe a touch of Elvish, and we liked that a lot.