by Nancy J. Taylor

Cochise and Cherish have lived together for about 7 years. They started out with different mates. Cochise lived with Hoonakwa and Cherish with King Cyrus. Both were happy and loving relationships however, Hoonakwa died from an intrauterine infection and King Cyrus died from complications from ear infections. Cochise and Cherish took it hard and mourned their losses, along with the rest of the pack. Wolves love like humans, and saying good-bye to a mate is never easy for them.

Several months had gone by since their deaths, and we noticed how sad and lonesome Cherish and Cochise were. So, we decided to see if they could live together. It was a rather biblical-type of arrangement as King Cyrus was a brother to Cochise. We put them side by side at first, and they seemed okay with each other. The big day came when we let them be together, and we crossed our fingers! They stood face-to-face at first as if to say, ‘I’m the boss’ while the other said “no, I’m the boss”! They both held their ground and Cherish checked out Cochise’s enclosure—her new home! Days and weeks went by; and little-by-little, they began to soften towards one another. We would see them laying together, or howling together, playing “catch me if you can”, or eating together. They were happier, and their beautiful faces showed it. It was a plutonic relationship all the way, but they did grow to love one another in that respect and were great companions.

After about 6 years, we noticed a large tumor on one of Cherish’s legs. The vet removed it and told us it was a very aggressive type of cancer, but he had gotten it all. Nine months later, it was back and throughout her entire abdomen. We could tell that she was suffering so, we had no choice other than to put her to sleep. Afterwards, we brought her home and buried her in our cemetery for our wolves. As we were doing this, we looked up the hill to see Cochise watching us from his enclosure. Afterwards, I went up to be with Cochise. As I sat on the ground, he came and stood next to me. I noticed a tear in his eye that rolled down his long nose. As I held my hands out to him, it fell into the palm of my right hand. I was crying too, and I stayed with him for quite awhile. I have always felt so honored that he allowed me to share his sorrow at the time of his, and my, loss!