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Taylor Mason Beat Header

The Wolf of Long Beach Island

Winter is coming to an end on Long Beach Island (LBI), New Jersey. With that comes the promise of serenity in the Spring. You can hear it in the whisper of an ageless song on the wind as it gusts off the ocean, blowing across this narrow spit of land and on to Little Egg Harbor Bay.

The beach, once a silent witness to the patrol of a legend, both feared and revered, also echoes another tune. Seagulls rejoice. Sandpipers scurry freely across the sand on their funny stick-figure legs, and a baby seal basks in the March sun without a care.

The Wolf of Long Beach Island
, known to some as The Wolf of Fairview Avenue, is gone.

Nobody knew how old he was at his passing, only that he had prowled this slice of LBI for a decade so he must have been at least 10, maybe 11 or 12.

His black and white fur coat was a familiar sight against the backdrop of winter beaches and pre-dawn summer streets, always on the lookout for an unsuspecting critter or, on really good days, a feral cat.

His furry tail stood straight up like a flag, identifying him for all living creatures to see. His home, a cozy 3-story den with a fireplace and plush beds spread across its three stories, stands as a remembrance of his life well-lived, filled with the warmth and support of his pack.

Not to mention the thrill of the hunt.

To the world, he was a lot more than a wolf. He was a demanding presence, a force to be reckoned with. Delivery personnel, construction workers, anyone daring enough to approach his domain, were met with a chorus of howls and brays, marking the territory of a beast who favored solitude and the company of his pack—a pack that mainly consisted of one person.

That one person rescued him (yes, I know the bumper sticker: “my rescue dog rescued me.” There is a reason for that cliché!) and saved him from being ‘put down.’ She named him “Mick” and his world was one of suspicion and guarded loyalty. Outsiders, strangers, and visitors were never welcomed into his circle, his distrust as vast as the ocean the two of them got to know as they walked beside it countless times, just a block from his island home.

But within that fortress of solitude, the wolf’s heart lay fiercely devoted to that one soul: Marsia, my wife.

Super Bowl Trophy

The duo forged a bond the moment they met - a profound connection that defined his existence. Rescued from the brink in North Carolina and brought to the shores of New Jersey, Mick found in Marsia not just a master but a reason for being. They navigated life's twists and turns, from quiet moments at home to countless adventures that lay beyond the front door.

As I, her husband, traipsed the planet in search of an audience, and with her grown adult children having moved out and living their own lives in New York City, Marsia spent hours with furry Mick - border collie? Hound? Something unknown? Who knows? - and he followed her willingly on walks long and short, from the kitchen to the living room to the bedroom to the beach.

Mick was high-maintenance. He needed tasks. He needed activity and exercise and attention, and Marsia gave it to him. His days were filled with purpose, whether herding laughing children in a moment of unexpected joy or chasing deer through the field behind our first home in Moorestown, NJ, his eyes wide and bright with the thrill of the chase.

Boil the essentials of life down to the core of his adventurous spirit, and you are left with unwavering dedication to Marsia. Mick was her shadow, her protector, and her steadfast defender.

My wife spent years caring for her family, raising children, rescuing and feeding and walking our family’s other dogs, not to mention caring for parents and a mother-in-law.

Mick was much, much different. A kindred spirit, a guardian whose loyalty knew no bounds. He tolerated me only because he had to - acceptance and acknowledgement but nothing more.

Marsia and Mick.

Friends and co-workers often said they couldn’t imagine one without the other.

I can’t, either.

His life was a testament to the power of loyalty and the unbreakable bonds we forge with the ones we love. We called him “The Wolf of LBI” but to Marsia he was a steady fellow-traveler through life: a champion and a cherished companion. He lived every day for her and it will be a while before the both of us get over his absence.

We did lots of constitutionals, Mick and I. Sometimes it was a two-hour hike and other times a 15-minute jaunt around the neighborhood. I would unleash him a block or two from home and say, “Go get Marsia!” and he’d sprint for the house, knowing she was there, his reason-to-live, waiting for him with a happy welcoming “Mick! My boy!” and a treat.

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Things are much quieter these past few days. The big house on Fairview Avenue had not known a day without him. His presence lingers in every room.

The beach is emptier too. I walked it a few hours ago, watching the last vestige of a winter storm with towering dramatic clouds disappearing out over the Atlantic Ocean. It was perilously windy and the surf pounded into the shoreline, the spray of saltwater spritzing me, my footprints disappearing moments after I had imprinted them.

It was impossible not to envision Mick in the mist, darting past me one more time, running back and forth, showing off, scaring the seagulls, and racing up and down the dunes full of life, knowing very soon we’d head back to Marsia. He had lived a life in full.

Goodbye, Mick. Good boy!

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Thanks for reading.

My book, IRREVERSIBLE, is available at amazon.com HERE.

If you’d like a personalized comedy video, please find me HERE on Cameo and I’ll create something for you and your people.

Thanks for reading,

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