Thursday, October 30, 2008

I can't make this stuff up

this picture has nothing to do with the post, I just liked it.

It's starting to get chilly here, finally. Before it gets too cold, I wanted to take my black Lab, Gus, to the lake. He absolutely loves to swim. So I gather the needed accoutrement's; treat sack, tennis ball, training buoy, and mace. And of course, my camera, which I never leave home without.


Silas and I leave the house and head toward the lake. Gus is off leash walking beside us. We live in a very rural area. Rural as in dirt roads, few neighbors, and lots of wildlife, hence the mace. I also live in an area in which it is actually possible to leave the house and have to walk uphill BOTH ways to get back home. Oh, the joys of living on a mountain and near a river.

The lake is approximately a mile from my house. Through the woods and down a series of dirt roads. When we get there, Gus immediately goes for the water, of course.



After about a half hour of swimming after tennis balls and buoys, he starts acting peculiar. He starts circling Silas and I, trying to herd us toward the water. Apparently, he thinks we're his sheep. He paces around the shore line and whines a bit. I try another throw to see if he'll be distracted from whatever has him upset. He doesn't even glance toward the splash. At this point my genius IQ kicks in and I think "hey, maybe we should leave. There's something here he doesn't like". I'm brilliant, poppets, I tell ya.

I gather our things and try to convince Silas we should leave. He's used to spending at least two hours at the lake so he was a bit peeved. He has this whole complicated routine that involves the gathering of sticks, digging of channels and building of dams that occurs at a precise place by the same stand of reeds each time we go. He was not pleased to have to shut down his jobsite early. I believe OSHA may have been called. By this point Gus was whining loudly and staring across the lake. He was in the point position (straight line nose to tail with one paw raised) toward this stand of reeds across the lake: (the road I have to take back home runs right behind this)



The dog's distress is becoming more visible by the second. His hackles are standing up and he's baring his teeth. I'm beginning to feel the first tendrils of fear. I'm out here alone save for this dog and my child, with no means to protect any of us. Sure I have the mace, but that's mainly for if a dog would charge Silas. Do you know how close you have to be to mace something? Too close for comfort.

I grab Silas' hand and haul him up. We take off like our hair was on fire and our asses was catchin'. * Gus keeps close behind all the while growling that deep rumble that lets everyone know he's serious. When I get around the bend I hear rustling and movement in the trees. We are now behind the spot that Gus was pointing toward. This is what he was trying to alert me to:




In case you can't tell, that's a BEAR! I know it's a crappy picture, but you try taking a picture while you're running backwards up a hill. I know you can't tell, but there were actually two bears. If you look toward the left of the one you can see, there's a reflection from the other one's eye.

Now this bear didn't really frighten me. He was a little guy and he's just trying to fatten up for winter. What frightened me is that I didn't know where momma bear was. And I know she wasn't far. All I could do was hope that she was in the woods and that we wouldn't run into her on the road. If we were to run into her on the road, I could hope that Gus would hold her off until I could get Silas away. Neither option was preferable.

We proceeded in an orderly manner away from the bear towards home. I tried not to upset Silas anymore than necessary to make him understand to HURRY! But don't run! I don't want him to be afraid of the woods or to be outside. At the same time, I don't want him to think it's ok to approach a bear in the wild like it's Yogi.

We made it home fine, a little shaken but not stirred. And I have bought an air horn for our next jaunt into the woods. And a big stick. And a tranquilizer gun.

*10 points for whoever can name the song that line came from

24 comments:

Lynette said...

Holy crap! I think I would have shit a brick if I had ran up on a bear on a woods.

Being Brazen said...

I would have been so freaked out - Good thing you have such an awesome, protective dog

Kitty Cat said...

Wow, what a story! Sounds like you have a very well-behaved dog though! Mine would have run right at the bear to investigate!

kwoneshe2 said...

Whoa. It's awesome that you live in an area you can see bears in the wild, but scarey to have it happen while you are on foot, and have Silas there. eek!

Great pix though.

Ree said...

Smart doggy.

the cubicle's backporch said...

Holy crap!! How crazy! I take our dogs for a walk through the woods all the time, I can't imagine running into a bear though!!

Did Gus get a treat when you guys got home?

CelticBuffy said...

I can name the song but I have to admit that I cheated and googled it. Bad me. Charlie Daniel's band "Uneasy Rider". I knew it sounded familiar.

Candy said...

Yay Gus!

Because our town is basically built "in the woods" we have bear all the time. They come down in the Spring, I suppose males being kicked out of the nest and looking for mates. It's scary, you just can't be sure how they'll react. We had one in our garbage cans once while I was pulling into the driveway. Yeah, that was fun. I had to circle the house for 30 minutes till it left, and then run into the house once I thought it was gone.

Twisting Ivy said...

YIKES!!!

You never fail to have such awesome stories though. LOL, glad you oblige right? =)

Kate said...

I just find it amazing that animals will alert us to pretty much everything that might harm us and then do everything to keep us safe. It's amazing and wonderful.

Slyde said...

10 pts for YOU for havign the balls to take a picture while running from a bear!

Ashley said...

Give the doggy a bone! I ran into a mountain lion or a bobcat or something once. It was damn big and scary, but it just looked at me and kept walking. I guess it wasn't hungry.

Dingo said...

Okay, you cracked me up with this:

I know it's a crappy picture, but you try taking a picture while you're running backwards up a hill.

And then scared the bejebus out of me with this:

If we were to run into her on the road, I could hope that Gus would hold her off until I could get Silas away.

My goodness woman! Yeah for Gus! And yeah for Silas for listening to his Mama!

Vanessa said...

Holy crap! So glad everyone is safe. Bears are cute when fuzzy but scary out there in the real world.

mssc54 said...

Two years ago I was sitting in a deer stand in the deep woods near a swamp. A black bear sow and two cubs came out and milled around until dark. At which time I had to walk out of the woods!

Although I did have a fire arm with me it was still an interesting hick out!

Maybe you should watch some of the old "Lassie" shows. Little Timmy could always understand what Lassie was "saying". "What's that Lassie? Farmer John fell in his well and needs our help?"

Labs are one of the smartest breeds. You are fortunate to have him!

Debbie said...

Hi. New reader here.
I would have been more than intimidated by the thought of mama bear. And I also read your post about the cop stopping you - quick thinking! Weren't you glad you had a baby and were nursing him? Good job.

Rima said...

Not to repeat what every other commenter has said, but . . .

HOLY CRAP!!!!

Good thing you took Gus's instincts seriously, eh?

I guess that bears come with the territory, then, when you live in a place as gorgeous as that?

carrie said...

Please don't forget to bring those new items with you next time, and preferably another human to throw at the bears so you and Silas can get away!

s-c-a-r-y!

Jocelyn said...

This is hecka good story...but after I listened to a radio tale of a country gal (let's call her "Shania") being attacked by a rabid raccoon, well...

I dunno. It's kind of anti-climactic.

Are you sure the bear didn't eat you?

Real Live Lesbian said...

Go Gus! What a great guardian he is!

We have a lodge that is in bear country. I guess we need to get some air horns, too...or a Gus of our own! Does he rent out?

Great story!

kittyconcerto.com said...

I'm SO late on this post, but my gosh!!!! That would seriously freak me out. Good going Gus!

Vodka Mom said...

OMG!! That was a great, great story!! I'm glad I didn't have to read about you in a newspaper!!

Thank God you had the dog, AND the camera!!!

wow.

margie said...

why is it every time i read your blog i have to write you a comment and say the same thing. is this for real??? without wanting to make to much fun of the actual danger you could have been in... i mean really, i can't believe it!!!!

Kristy said...

Holy Crap...I would have been so scared!