Thursday, July 9, 2009

ACK!! Actual Bears in my Vicinity!!

So I was out walking the dogs this morning and what comes lumbering down a driveway but Two Huge Black Bears!! This is not my photo - I didn't have my camera and am not sure I could have operated it at the time anyway. But they looked exactly like this except fatter and so, pretty much, did the driveway.

They were so beautiful. Their fur was so black, shiny, soft and deep that you could have buried your hands in it to the wrists. They had just finished dragging someone's garbage all around and could easily have eaten both my dogs in one bite.

Rufus, the younger dog, began his shrieking. I don't know how else to describe it - he just screams like a banshee, which attracted their attention very effectively. They both paused and stared.

I stopped still and considered what to do. Back away? Call for help? In the end I did nothing (default mode) and they grew bored and cantered off.

I did not know that bears could canter!! They had a nice rocking chair gait just a bit too much on the forehand. As they cantered, their fur rippled and blew in the breeze. My knees were shaky and Rufus and Gabe finally got over it; Cavaliers are NOT hunting dogs!! They were even scared by this the other day:

We had a little "Who is More Scared?" contest and I believe the dogs won, thanks to Rufus's operatic vocalizations. This dog is embarrassing. Good thing he is so cute.
That's Young Pavarotti on the right below, me in the middle, and Gabriel on the left, at the Rose Garden last week:

In this photo Rufus is wet due to having chased a stick into Lake Superior moments before. If anyone has any tips on training a dog not to sing like a panicking soprano, please pass them along to me.


jennybean79 said...

I can honestly say that is a sight I hope never to see. YIKES!

One Red Horse said...

Oh boy, that is a bit too up close and personal for my taste. Yesterday on the trail we came upon a pile of bear poop. Now Red has to stop and smell every pile of droppings he sees on the trail or arena. Down went his head, he took a couple of deep sniffs, UP CAME HIS HEAD as he looked wildly around . . . BEAR!!!! He does not do bear.

photogchic said...

Yikes! Maybe I have watched too many episodes of "Human Prey" on Animal Planet. A bear encounter would have turned ME in to the panicking soprano:-) Great details...I can picture them..just glad it was your driveway and not mine:-)

Flying Lily said...

JennyBean: I hope you never see it also. It gave me a few more grey hairs I think.

OneRed: John does that stop n smell thing too, and if he found bear scat he would be freaked I'm sure!

PhotogChic: I am still trying to avoid watching 'Human Prey' episodes, mostly because you said they are scary!!!! Indeed, i could have sung a few high notes if I hadn't been breathless.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Lions and tigers and BEARS! Oh My!
If I were that little dog I would have been screeching too, for someone to get me out of there and quickly.

cdncowgirl said...

Sorry no tips but YIKES that must've been scary.
Have the bears been reported? If they are that close to homes and eating garbage they may need to be relocated.

Flying Lily said...

GreyHorse: You are Rufus's best friend as of now. Everybody else is trying to get him to shut up. :)

CdnCowgirl: I did report these stalking bears but the police were just like 'oh yeah another one!' and pretty lackadaisical...

sue said...

tips for a "sinking dog"... get him a life vest!!! they work really well, and many have a handle on the back so you can aid in the swimming.... my daughter's friend has one for her Boston and he now loves to swim because he can stay afloat and doesn't have to work so hard at it....we have bear in our neighborhood too.. they are beautiful animals, but you certainly don't want to have to "deal with them"...

Breathe said...

You can stop your dog from shrieking if you really want to, with a combination of calming and dominate moves. But then again it might function as bear repellent.


I think it's black bears you can scare off and grizzlies you have to be submissive with.

I think.


AKPonyGirl said...

With black bears you can scare them off; griz just look at you and think about dinner.

My friend came up on a griz chasing a moose calf. The bear slid to a stop about 30 feet from the three girls on horseback and STOOD UP! That's the scary part. These girls are all experienced horsewomen and lifelong Alaskans. They moved the horses together, stood up in their stirrups, waved their arms over their heads and screamed at the bear. My friend said the bear got a look on his face like "they are bigger than me and I'm outta here" and he took off down the mountain.

I've only seen bears going away from me or their tracks on the trail.

Funder said...

I have an irrational bear phobia - perish the thought of encountering one!

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who sees "cantering" in non-horses. I am constantly trying to figure out a way to make my Lab work on her flying lead changes while chasing a tennis ball. She greatly prefers her left lead ;)

Molly said...

Very mean dogs indeed, singing their way through danger. I love your description of the bears' fur.

The picture immediately made me think that your knee must be better or you wouldn't have gotten down so low. Am I right?

c2b said...

Ok so after reading about real live bears I think I am going to have to give up on my idea of coming to live with you and your hay beds. John you are a braver pony than I.

Flying Lily said...

Sue: A doggy life vest is a great idea. Both these dogs are very timid about water and I'd like to help them get past it. I'll look for one.

Breathe: I am signing up Rufus for obedience classes this fall and we shall see about his shrieking then! We could be ejected from class.

AKPonyGirl: that is an amazing story. What presence of mind they had. I hope I never see the day...

Funder: I have noticed that young Rufus the soprano does flying lead changes! He's so little it hardly makes a difference in his appearance - you have to quint to see it.

Molly: My knee! I had to very carefully sit down there with cantilevered arms, and then my poor husband had to drag me up by the hand. It is better though! It was a ligament sprain, with a swollen bursa and revelation of cartilege 'thinning and fissuring' and 'arthritic changes', IOW an ongoing train wreck with a sprain on top, like the cherry on an ice cream sundae. I've been working out on the elliptical (no impact) and that has really helped it.

C2b/Zoe: John would let you borrow his bear bells!! You must reconsider. He is so looking forward to showing you his haybed-making technique.

allhorsestuff said...

Oh! we both had bear sightings last week! I was on my mare and we turned to go dpown towards a creek and heard a rukus and she was about to turn and run for it and I just did my "opera voice" sing-songie type of questions in the air loudly and no human answered... and then the black shape appeared and we dissappeared pretty fast!
Bear bells and bear mace next for us!
Glad you'all made it fine! Scarey!!
Kacy w/ Wa mare~

Once Upon an Equine said...

Glad the bear didn't take an interest in you. Would be fascinating to encounter them like that, as long as they are cantering away. Darling dogs!!!

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