An unexpected visitior.
My daughter and her husband bought a log cabin on a large piece of land located on top of a bluff in Wisconsin. When they travel, I stay there and watch the two big dogs.
This summer I stayed there when the garden was coming to fruitation. I joked about the large blueberry crop saying, “Steve, are you sure a bear won't come over to get in the blueberries.”
“You're funny,” was his response, “there are no bears up here.”
“OK,” I thought. I live in town a few miles away. Occasionally a bear will meander through, causing havoc with neighboring bird feeders.
When I took the dogs out for a run, I couldn't help glacing at the garden before I got too far away from the door.
During the winter I injured my arm so I had to be careful with it. Big dog, (Sheldon), just had hip surgery. He had to be kept on a leash. The younger dog (Cooper) was left to run free. Under no circumstances was Sheldon to be off his leash. We went on our usual round of the property, walking down the road until we came to the path in the woods. From there we walked the woods and back to the house. A big dog on a leash is very strong. I tried to control him with my good arm. Suddenly Cooper spied something in the wood pile and went dashing off. This caused Sheldon to run after him. Keep in mind that these dogs are like children to my daughter. Rules must not be broken. It took every ounce of my strength and both arms, but I held onto Sheldon until I was on my knees. Now Cooper was on top of the woodpile. Sheldon was still pulling. I was pulled to my stomach, but still hanging on and Sheldon had stopped. Trembling with fear, I hoped a skunk wouldn't come out of the woodpile. Soon the chase was on. A frightened squirrel made it safely up the tree. I, with a banged up leg and sore arm brought my charges back to the house.
The rest of the week went by without incident. I happily came back down the hill to lower ground.
A month went by. Oh Lord, another fun trip for my daughter; another week of dog sitting for me. Steve had now started rasing bees for honey and I jokingly said, “Steve, are you sure a bear isn't going to get into the honey.”
“Not up here,” he replied.
Sheldon was better so this time I just had to open the door and let them run. This was good, my arm was still on the mend. It's hard to get a good night's sleep, the dogs are constantly on the prowl from window to window. All you can hear is their feet pacing up and down. Apparently my son-in-law and daughter are immune to the noise. When the dogs spy something which might be a possum, squirrel, racoon, or deer; the barking starts. That's when I get up and go from window to window, peeking out to make sure it isn't a prowler.
It was a moonlit night. The dogs woke me up. I looked out the window. OMG, did I just see a mama bear and two cubs go under the porch. What the heck was I to do now? I couldn't get to my car without crossing the porch. There was no way the dogs could be let out. I considered calling the police but if my daughter got wind of that I would be in trouble. My daughter is an animal activist. If they did anything to the bears, she would never forgive me.
I decided that there was nothing that could be done tonight, it would have to wait until tomorrow. I'm pretty sure a bear wouldn't break through a window, would it?
Morning has come, sleep did not. I know that mama bears are extremely dangerous when with their cubs so I called Steve's brother to discuss what he thought I could do. His best answer was call the police. I knew I couldn't keep the dogs in the house the next three days but there was a deck on the far side of the house. I could take each one out there seperately on a leash to go potty.
Finally I gave in and called my daughter.
“Come on Mom, you must have seen a racoon or something, there are no bears up there.”
“Listen to me!” I shouted. My patience was at the end with no sleep. “There is a mother bear and cubs out there. I don't know what to do about it!”
She put Steve on the phone.
“Steve, this is not a joke and I'm not seeing things.”
“I guess you'll have to call the police,” he said. “Let me know what happens.”
Reluctantly I picked up the phone and called the police explaining the situation and expressing the hope that they would not harm the bears.
“Don't worry, we've dealt with this before. We may have to tranqualize them is all.”
In about an hour a big truck pulls into the drive and several men got out. I opened the window and directed them to the spot where the bears had gone. It took most of the morning but finally, on a stretcher looking device, they carried the tranqualized mama bear and cubs out from under the deck.
“What will happen to them,” I said.
“They'll be taken up to Northern Wisconsin and let loose.”
I handed him my cell phone. “Can you take a picture for me. My son-in-law won't believe there was a bear up here.”
“Sure thing,” he said.
The only satisfaction I got out of the incident was the fact that I was right. Sometimes there are bears in these bluffs.