by Lynda Miller
About a girl and her dog living in the mountains
| People don't understand why a young lady of thirty-five years loves to live in a wooden cabin far back in the woods. I know my cabin is small, but it has a bedroom and bath (with cold mountain water to bathe in), a small kitchen - just the right size for me - a nice big living area with large windows and a wood burning fireplace. There is a small studio behind my cabin. When I paint or work on my photographs my little fireplace keeps it warm and I enjoy looking out the bay windows at the snow laden trees and ground. I have all the wood I need, enough food for a month, drinking water and my dog Skeeter. When spring and summer comes, the beauty of the trees putting on their leaves and the wild flowers popping up gives an artist and photographer like me all the floral and fauna to photograph and paint.
Skeeter is a cross between a Irish Wolf Hound and a St Bernard. He has long legs, and when he stands he reaches my shoulders. His hair is thick, long and silky. He's the warmest blanket I have when it comes to bedtime. He lays next to me and we stay nice and warm on these cold winter nights. Here in Alaska it can warm up in the daytime, but at night it is always cold.
If I run out of something, I have a snowmobile I use to go into town, but it doesn't happen very often. Trader Joe has a standing order of what to send me at the end of each month. He's never been late and sometimes he's a little early. It's good to have to company and catch up on the gossip in town. In the summer I have an old beat-up car that gets me around and down into town.
I often take my snowmobile out to get fresh air and exercise. Skeeter loves to run beside me. He looks majestic when his hair flies around his face and pulls his long ears back showing his big brown eyes filled with excitement. When I stop to take a break or pictures of the scenery, Skeeter runs off to chase rabbits or anything that runs on four legs.
On one of these trips we went riding out to the meadow and encountered a rogue bear. It was unusual for it to be out and about during the winter time, but this one was, and it looked up to no good. I hand signaled Skeeter to come and sit motionless beside me. We both stayed very still. I was hoping the bear would go away, but it had other things on its mind. He sniffed the air and smelled us, then saw us, and made those terrible bear sounds and growls as he stood up on his hind legs pawing at the air. He must have been ten feet tall. It was then I knew I should make a run for it. I jumped on my Snowmobile and took off for home, Skeeter running beside me. It seemed like we were flying on the wind. I turned my machine around to see how far we had made it away from him and was completely dumbfounded to see he was so close behind us. I revved up my machine and took off again, Skeeter keeping pace with me. I knew I could beat the bear and I almost made it. I turned my head around to see if he had gone, but he had gained on us. I wasn't paying attention to where I was going and slammed into a tree, landing with my back straight up the tree, upside down. My head felt funny and blackness kept creeping up on me. One minute I was out, the next minute I was awake. I heard Skeeter barking loudly. He had a very high pitch to his bark and it was constant. I knew I had to get up. I pushed myself up off the ground, but it came back at me. When I finally stood, I felt nauseated and wobbly. I had to see what was happening to my dog.
I saw Skeeter barking and running circles around the bear. It had made its way to us and was using its' big paws to catch my dog. The bear took one more big swipe and the dog yelled as he was thrown away like a piece of trash. I heard him whimpering and I watched as the bear started after him. I knew he was going to finish him.
My bear gun was at home. Besides, bears weren't supposed to be out at this time of year. They were suppose to be in their caves all comfy and cozy.The only thing I had for defense was my large hunting knife, but I had to do something quick or I would lose my dog.
I took the hunting knife out of its sheath and ran screaming at the bear, startling him and making him mad. The next thing I knew he was on me. His claws ripping across my stomach and face as he tried to get to my head. I was fighting for my life. His teeth clamped down on my hands and shredded them. I kept trying to push him off of me. I prayed God was with me and when there was a chance I could put my knife into him. I was losing so much blood and could feel myself getting weaker. All of a sudden I had the chance I prayed for and stabbed the knife into his heart as far as it would go. He did not fall right away, but when he did he sounded like a large tree falling right in front of me. I too fell to the earth and thanked God for allowing me to live. My hands were shredded and one finger was partially off. As I lay there, Skeeter crawled to my side and licked my face. Somehow I managed to put my dog in the large basket in the back of the snowmobile. Using what little strength I had left, rode home. I call for help on my two-way radio and the EMT's arrived in less than an hour.They were taking me to the hospital but I said no, I wanted to stay with my dog. There was one man who seem to understand what I was trying to say. So Skeeter and I ended up in the hospital together. I will never forget their kindness for letting me have me dog with me. We were there for five days and released. Trader Joe came to take us home.
I have to keep my hands bandaged for quite some time and there will be surgeries in the near future. Skeeter had to have part of his intestines sewed back into his stomach, so he doesn't get around very much either, but we are getting better.
Spring is around the corner and I know when my friends visit me in the summer, the first thing they will ask me is "When are you going to come live in the real world Jay?"
I will look at them and say "Skeeter and I live in the real world and we love it."
If it hadn't been for my dog attacking the bear, I might not be here today. His loyalty was awesome. He almost died for me. That's what a good and faithful dog does for his master. And in kind, I would do the same for him. He is my best friend.