Living with Wildlife

May Long Weekend 2017.

Way over there, across the creek, in that lil green field that you can just see in the gap between the deciduous trees is where Blackie likes to hang out.

I awoke early Saturday morning. As I looked out upon the very still Creek I thought it would be a great morning for a paddle. Luke has been pulling some late nights so I thought I would let him sleep in a little before rousing him from his well earned slumber. Before going out for a paddle we would need to take Bear and Sam for a walk, tire them out a lil before we locked them up while we made our way to the Boathouse. They are not boat trained, or trained much at all, it seems, as yet; we can’t be taking them out on the canoe only to have them tip us into the Lake as they try to catch the bird flying overhead!
We made our way to the Hill, Sammy on leash as we are still trying to get his left fore paw healed up. We took Bear and Sam to the Vet on Thursday,(which meant 13 long hours in the truck): Sam would hopefully have all his stitches removed and update his vaccinations,   Bear would get his vaccinations updated and provide moral support to Sam. Well, Sam has managed to bolt away a couple of times, thereby ripping his outer layer of stitches; lucky for everyone involved he didn’t do too much damage to the interior stitches! Woot! Luke and I envisioned Sam having his pad opened up AGAIN, restitched and then having to keep him off it for ANOTHER 3 weeks!  On Friday both dogs were feeling a lil hellish from their vaccinations and slept the day away. Good enough. But it gave us all the more reason to get them out for a walk Saturday morning.
We made it to the Hill alright but both Bear and Sam went squirrely on the return trip. Same place they went nutso on Wednesday when I took them out on my own … when we came across the torn up log. Anyway, we cut our walk short; we WERE going to take the new trail over to the Boathouse trail, proceed along the lane down to the D, have a quick duck into Moose Hollow then back home down along the Marsh. We reigned the guys in, got them into the Earthship and just kept them quiet for a few hours to get them calmed down. So much for our paddle.
Sunday morning with both dogs bouncing off the walls, obviously their reaction to their vaccinations has worn off  so they are raring to go as they haven’t had a real walk since Wednesday! We set off to the Hill but we only made it to Clarice’s Bench before both Bear and Sam were off! I had Sam on the leash but there isn’t much I can do when all 35kg of him decides to GOOOOOO!  Seconds later I heard him call out; now I’m unsettled! Something had happened to Sam and I couldn’t see him or really tell where he had gone! I sent Luke after them. He’s the one with the gun!  Bear and Sam weren’t coming back and Luke wasn’t having much success catching up them so I started to run,  knee be damned! Thankfully, before too long Sammy made his way back to Luke, dragging his leash behind him but still no sign of Bear. Sammy was shaking through and through from the chase. I was able to control him well enough to head back towards the Earthship. When Sam and I got to Clarice’s Bench I noticed a bit of blood under Sam’s arm…I called out to Luke that Sam was hurt and I was bringing him home. Bah! I know why I’m NOT a nurse! Once inside I laid Sammy down, bowl of antiseptic water in hand, prepared to clean up the bit of blood and to my horror discovered he had ripped open a great big gash on his ribs and it wasn’t a shallow gash either. Bile rising in my throat, I did the best I could to settle my shaky Sammy, calm myself and clean his wound. Thank god Luke arrived minutes later! I gave the cleaning  job over to Luke; by now Sammy’s wound was leaking blood…thick, deep red blood. I almost passed out at the sight of it.
Long weekend. Miles and miles and miles and even more miles from the Vet that we were just at on Thursday! Luke had put a gauze pad over the wound and turned Sammy over to me to wrap in a bandage I had made from a ripped up sheet. Luke put in a call to the Vet and  they hummed and hawed about the best course of action. Luke and I could only really see the long gash; we didn’t really know the extent or  depth of the puncture wound Sammy had sustained. Once I got Sammy wrapped up I nervously started packing an overnight bag, determined to bring my boy to the Vet then and there…well, it would be hours before Sammy arrived at the Vet…with my frantic packing Luke told the Vet, “Yea, we’ll bring him in now…as in, like 4 hours from now, because my wife has already decided that is what is going to happen.” Once Luke was off Skype (because, honestly, satellite phone sucks!!!) he quickly made the decision that HE would make the drive into William’s Lake. Good thing, too!
Turns out the Vet’s office doesn’t staff at all on weekends, let alone Long Weekends; Luke was instantly dubbed Vet Assistant! I couldn’t have done it, I simply could not have done it! Luke had to hold Sammy down while he had x-rays taken then had to continue holding him down while he was given anesthetics. Here’s where I would have passed out! Luke had to hold Sammy throughout his procedure and watched as the Vet sliced our lil Sammy open to discover the extent of the damage he had done to himself! A branch had punctured him, twice as deep as the length of the gash. The Vet cleaned the wound, stitched the inside then the outside, inserted a drain which just hangs out of Sammy’s body. The Vet said that Luke could bring Sam back in 4-5 days time to get the drain removed or he could just do it himself…when Luke told me that I almost lost my lunch! So you see? I could never have been a nurse and it is a dang good thing that Luke took Sammy in to the Vet and not me!  Oh, and as the Vet worked on Sammy he suggested we get Sammy a kevlar Hunting Dog Vest so we can avoid future injuries like this one…he also said that they see this kind of wound on a weekly basis!

Sammy has really done it this time!

Okay, so Luke makes the long trip home. He said Sammy didn’t lay down once, and with that thing hanging out of his underbelly, I can’t say I blame him! Our first challenge was getting him out of the truck; we are so used to him leaping and bounding absolutely everywhere! We got Bear’s ramp; Sammy reluctantly hobbled down the ramp and very slowly made his way to the Greenhouse door. Once he was inside he just stood there, shaking uncontrollably. It was heartbreaking! Then came the task of getting him to settle for the night. Our fellas sleep with us; Sammy usually nestled among the pillows in between Luke and I while Bear takes fills up ALL the space at our feet or, if he is feeling left out, he will lay in between Luke and I, hogging all the blankets! Anyway, the bed is really tall and there is no way he was going to get up there on his own and due to the location of his wound there is no way we could lift him up onto the bed. We scratched our heads for a moment before clear thinking returned; get Bear’s ramp! Duh! Rearranged furniture so we could get the ramp set up onto the daybed; it still took a bit of coaxing but he finally got onto the bed and pretty much collapsed against me; within seconds he was fast asleep…maybe drug induced but finally his lil body could rest.

Finally, he sleeps….shhhh

We got up this morning, thankful for the long weekend so we could have a day to recoup after the $$$ Sunday Walk! When Sammy got his pad sewed up they gave him a collar to wear and dang it, he was just getting used to NOT having it on! While cleaning up the Crow’s Nest, in anticipation of Summer Guests, I came across Bear’s old collar from when he had his dew claws removed when he was a young lad; Bear’s old collar is smaller than the behemoth one they gave lil Sammy. I almost threw it out; glad I didn’t. I went up to  get  it for Sammy thinking he would be more comfortable with a smaller collar but still prevent him from getting at his wound(s!) I was at the top of the stairs, looking at the stuff in my hands, when I checked my footing before taking the first step down and there, a mere few metres away, was a young grizzly bear!

Right there, that lil green tree in the foreground? That’s where Young Grizz was. Poor Luke! At least I was up the stairs at the Crow’s Nest!

Yea, I backed up a lil before turning around and getting myself behind the glass of the Crow’s Nest and started stomping for Luke. The grizzly just kept ambling toward’s the Earthship. Now Luke, probably sighing to himself, “Why can’t she deal with a mouse”, climbed the interior stairs to the kitchen, opened the Cold Room door only to find himself face to face with the grizzly! Needless to say he was a lil shocked! Now, if you know Luke at all, you know he reads and reads and reads some more; lucky for us he had done his bear homework; he raised his arms, making himself look big and told the grizzly to go away, that we lived here and he better just move along. He kept his cool and just dealt with it. Then he closed the door and went back downstairs for his camera and his shotgun. In the meantime I had banged on the Crow’s Nest window a few times and Mr. Grizz decided that maybe he ought to move along. By the time Luke got back to the me the grizz had toddled off towards the Boathouse trail, so no photo. Sorry. And then, just to make sure that Mr. Grizz knew that we live here now, with our dogs, Luke fired a few shots into a nearby stump. Bear, our Bear, HATES the sound of the guns! Mr. Grizz didn’t seem to phased by it though, he just continued to toddle along at his own sweet pace.
So. Long story short…though I did go on a bit, didn’t I? I suppose this is the fella that tore open that log. Remember? I walked the dogs on my own but was super cautious that day making sure I had my rifle, walkie talkie and Sam on leash – and I was super firm with Sam that day…think it was Wednesday, right? When I know I have to be boss I CAN control Sam.
But Sunday, it was our Bear who got Sammy riled up; Bear doesn’t bolt off like Sammy does but when he does, he does it with purpose! Sammy rushed to Bear’s aid and in the process ripped himself open.
Luke reckons Mr. Grizz may have followed Sammy’s trail of blood back to the Earthship. And to think, Bear and I walked that trail by ourselves on Saturday.
I think Mr. Grizz smelled the Sourdough Pancakes and Eggs and thought he might just invite himself in for Breakfast.

The moral of the story is: We have chosen to live in their territory and we have to respect that. At the same time, we will protect ourselves, Bear and Sam; our aim is to only shoot photographs of our neighbours but if push comes to shove…
I hope and pray the day never comes that we have to make that decision.

All this Grizzly talk! Have I mentioned to you yet that we have a resident black bear just over the marsh? We’re hoping it’s a Momma Bear and that she has some cubs! Though, if that was the case, wouldn’t she have already had them? I’ve come across a few Mommas with cubs in my recent drives…maybe our Blackie is a male? Anyway, Blackie sticks to the other side of the marsh and we admire her/him through the binoculars.

Just some info to pass along:


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