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Posted by bob on Mar 4, 2012in Tall Tales With Jack

For months now I have been telling you behind the scenes stories about my travels with the Big Guy. I only weigh seven pounds so you can understand why I have an attitude and the bite to match; I have to look up to everyone including other dogs and primates. Although the Big Guy does his best to protect me, as well as everyone else, there are those occasions when the roles are reversed. This is a tale of one of those days.

      Before I begin my story, I have to let you know that I’ve been considering a change when referring to the Big Guy.  I thought that calling him the Big Dude would fit his personality better. What is a big dude? The dictionary describes it as “a man who is much concerned with his dress and appearance.” Well, that takes care of my thought for the day! My pal, sometimes referred to by his close friends as Don Quixote, is a free-spirit and oblivious to his looks or attire. He loves comfort and that applies to tops, bottoms, shoes, boots the whole wardrobe…which isn’t much, just washed and recycled every other day. Most people don’t know that the master of tilting windmills was once the wardrobe designer for Clem Kaddiddlehopper of Red Skelton fame. My friend forces me, to watch the Best of Skelton video re-runs in the motor home, night after night. What torture!

      Moving on! We had made our way into the backwoods of Northeastern New Brunswick, (Canada) where I was told we were going on Safari for whatever we could find. I looked up with that inquisitive look and asked, “Bears too, Big Guy?” “Bears,” he responded, with that impish grin that meant here we go again…more excitement. Jolly I thought, just what I needed, a hungry bear looking for an appetizer…me. 

      We motored an hour or so along old logging roads until we reached a partially secluded entrance, which looked more like a tunnel opening in Tora Bora than a pathway to excitement.  He made a sharp left turn and entered into another of his fantasy worlds. The path was barely wide enough for the motor home to squeeze through the trees blasting our sides and roof like a gauntlet of hockey players slapping their sticks on the boards. After edging our way forward over the rut filled trail for thirty minutes we burst into an opening, which exposed one of the most beautiful and secluded areas we had ever explored. We had found a convergence of two rivers, the Tracadie and one of her tributaries. A peaceful spot, overlooking a bronze colored body of water, shimmering in the fading sun, as it meandered between us and the succulent emerald meadow on the opposite side a few yards away. It was almost like the Big Guy knew where he was going. I wasn’t fooled; I’d been down that road before. There were times when he thought he knew where we were, only to find out we had no way to turn around nor to continue going forward and had to back out of his mess for over a mile or two. Never a dull moment with my jumbo leader!

      We positioned the motor home about twenty feet from the shore and opened the living quarter’s door. He wanted to unload the gear, set up quickly and be ready for the golden light and afterglow of the setting sun. While he worked, I surveyed and marked the territory as my own. Once we settled in we broke out our dinner, made ourselves comfortable, and hurriedly downed the vacuum packed dehydrated meals of pork and refried beans.

      Daylight dies quickly in the woods and this was no different; except an image with the addition of descending sunlight is most spectacular. The Big Guy wasted little time and positioned himself behind his Canon 1Ds camera mounted with a 500mm f/4 lens, adjacent to the water’s edge. He looked at me sitting peacefully at his feet and suggested we might catch a bull moose or another creature in this super setting, before we lost this magnificent light; it was fall and beautiful images are created when the sun sets low on the horizon.  

      Within minutes our wishes were answered. To our right, just beyond the cover of the shrub brush, I sensed a presence. I alerted the Big Guy. After years together, I knew my senses were significantly more acute to stimuli than his aging sight, olfactory or auditory functions, or anything else for that matter. He had also learned to respond to my communications, and this time was no exception.

      Momentarily, we saw the tan nose, poking through the green and gold leaves of the glistening shrubs. “Shhhh,” he whispered, “Shhhh.” I wondered if he was kidding. This was the front end of a west-bound bear, and he was headed in our direction. There was no time for a Shhhh’s only, Holy Cow! 

      “Hope she doesn’t have cubs,” he whispered through his trembling lips. Cubs…hell, I was hoping for a male. At least that way he may be more afraid of us than we are of him, but if he’s a rogue, we could be his dinner?

      There are a few things the Big Guy has taught me over the years about being in the woods. When we run into a bear, make a lot of noise and don’t try and outrun it.  If it attacks, fight like hell because the furry creature will kill and eat you. Black bears do what black bears do! Then he’d add a caveat; the bear will turn and run charge and bluff, or charge and kill you. This thought of “kill you” was becoming an obsession. I needed to refocus and do it quickly. Joy! I was trying to push the thought of being ripped apart limb by limb and wondering if the Big Guy would sacrifice me to save himself. After all, I’m a tender bite sized morsel for this big furry bruin. Besides, how far does loyalty go in a crisis?

      Then my world evaporated in a flash. Mr. Outdoorsman, champion, lost his mind, and violated all the rules he had been preaching. He went deathly silent, looked at the open RV door and decided he was still faster than a portly New Brunswick black bear with an attitude. As the big bruin moved from the cover of the brush to the clearing, it became apparent it was a he and not a she bear with cubs; one point for the good guys. Then like a bolt of lightning the big sissy, made a critical mistake; he bolted for the open door leaving me to fend for myself.

      No please God no, if he gets him I’m next; that stupid idiot was supposed to make noise and stand tall and beat his hairy chest or do something else obnoxious to ward off an attack. Oh no, run you, imbecile. The bear was three leaps and a spring from us and the RV was another leap beyond that. Unfortunately, the sprint had begun, as the Big Guy leaped for the open door, losing his fashionable crocks behind in his haste. If the tie goes to the runner, then the bear won!  Mr. Bear made a sweeping motion with his big black paw, making contact with the Big Guy’s right foot. There was a thud as the Big Guy bounced into the doorway, half of his ample body on the floor his other half (not his better half) dangling to the ground like Raggedy Andy. 

      Unfortunately for the bear but fortunately for us, the bear was startled and stopped dead in his tracks looking at the big toe, toe nail, dripping blood, hanging from his claw. He had just surgically removed the nail by the roots from the Big Guys right foot. What precision and accuracy an irate bear can have when he is possessed by determination. However, the bear’s hesitation provided the instant I needed to spring into action. 

      I raced for the back end of the bear and there dangling before me was the appealing pendulum, of reproductive organs, now vulnerable for my kamikaze assault. The Big Guy must have had so much adrenaline flowing though his system that he barely felt the pain. It must have been excruciating and raging through his body as he waited for the next assault. His big toe was spewing blood like a musical fountain in the middle of an urban lake. All he needed to do was reach up, grab the handle to the door and slam it closed before the bear realized there was no point in continuing his attack; except finding me and enjoying a tender morsel of chien (dog). 

      I give the Big Guy credit as he reached up for the door handle he shouted, “Run Jack, run” as he pulled himself to his feet.  Once the bear realized that he was not in possession of a hefty chunk of leg, he turned back toward the Big Guy. That was my cue to seize the moment, and I did!

      Up I went using all my strength to reach a new high jump record in the Chihuahua Olympics. There they were, swinging like the pendulum in a grandfather clock. Timing was everything, and I had no time to waste. Up I went, jaws ajar, and like a vice grip latched to a rusty bolt, I attached myself to the bears balls.

      I had never experienced the G-forces of a whirligig before but suddenly I realized I’d better tighten my grip and hang-on for my life. My normal 50 pounds per square inch bite miraculously increased to a 1,000 pounds psi, as I prayed. 

      The startled bear swirled half way around to his right to see what the hell was attacking his privates. With that I was swung to his left out of his line of sight. Then he swung to the left and I swung to the right. Poor fellow was having a terrible time trying to identify what on earth was inflicting the mysterious pain on his south end. The back and forth action continued three or more times and I began to feel the G-forces pulling at me with such force I realized I was about to lose my grip. If the beached whale, floundering and stumbling around in the doorway, would simply close the damn door I could let go and be gone. Then and maybe the two of us would prevail in this awkward situation.

      As I came around the fourth time I looked at the Big Guy, winked (after all I had my mouth full and couldn’t speak), saw him acknowledge my sign, while he finally jumped to attention, bleeding toe and all, slammed the door allowing me to release my grip as the G-forces reached their optimum thrust. 

      I was hoping above hope the bruin would disappear. If he chose to repay me for my rude introduction to his genitals I would end-up dead. I cart wheeled head over tail into the bushes, picked myself up, and dusted myself off, just in time to see his mammoth black ass heading into the river; no doubt trying to sooth his aching organs.

      I let out a howl in celebration of my victory over the furry monster and licked my paws as my way of patting myself on the back. Just then the door of the RV flew open and there standing on the top step was the cowardly wildlife photographer, with his toe wrapped in a bloody towel. As he cringed in pain my eagle eye caught the largest piece of left-over steak I had ever seen. He had it in his trembling hand, inviting me to come get his peace offering. It was leftover from the previous night’s meal, but who cares…it was steak. 

      I yipped in appreciation, stood on my hind quarters, my tongue hanging over the side of my drooling jowls, as he positioned the juicy morsel between my waiting lips and patted me affectionately on the head.  I’m not sure if I had that dreadful stupid begging look on my face, but who cares at a time like this? If the truth were known I wanted the juicy piece of sirloin more than the bear’s balls. A dog has got to do what a dog has got to do to merit a snack. There is a doggy God and he was with me that evening…on two counts.

      The Big Guy put a pressure bandage on his toe, fired up the RV and headed for the emergency room at the Tracadie Memorial Hospital. Four hours later, a blood transfusion and a handful of pain pills, the Big Guy and I curled up under our welcome comforter and a slipped into a well deserved night’s sleep. Our camp ground this night just happened to be the secure confines of the local Super Store parking lot. No bears, moose or whirligig.

      Another experience and more memory making moments!


Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
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