One summer afternoon, a Pembroke Welsh corgi appeared on our deck.
His name, we learned, was Nosmo King. He lived a half mile up our country road. He resented being left alone all day, with cats, so he’d decided to find a new home.
Just as he joined us full time, Joyce received a telephone call from her doctor—“I’ve got really bad news for you—you’ve got acute myelogenous leukemia.”
He said: “Meet me at the hospital in fifteen minutes.”
Chances of a cure: imperceptible.
Her oncologist said: “I hope to 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 packs of 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 twenty-two years since that diagnosis.
After that crisis, we moved away from writing articles and essays for magazines. Richard now writes fiction, mainly fantasy and mysteries, and Joyce is working on a memoir. One character, drawn from real life, keeps popping up: a Pembroke Welsh corgi, preternaturally smart, with soaring self-esteem.
About that name. His original family, having just quit cigarettes, named their new puppy “Nosmo King,” a rearrangement of “No Smoking.” It didn’t resonate with us.
Then we realized Nosmo could be a Hobbit name, like Bilbo or Frodo, with maybe a touch of Elvish, and we felt that fitted him perfectly