SkunkORama !!! Dog’s Curious, Not Smart

Nocturnal Bark

… has been rare this summer, not only amongst my two dogs, but from other dogs in our woods.  The bigger, more profound, exception (with the nocturnal bark) would be when the bear comes near.  Our dogs have a distinct “bear howl-and-bark” when a bear gets close.  And the other dogs would be in league with ours, a passionate vigilant howling flying out of their bark-boxes through the rocks and trees.

Last night, I heard the Nocturnal Bark, somewhere between 5 and 5:30am. Stash was the only one barking.  I was holding out for the possibility that the barking would stop.  I was not meant to be so fortunate, it appears.  I went outside to the deck, over the garage.  It took a couple of seconds … only a couple of seconds … to recognize one of the most disgusting scents I’ve ever encountered: the spray from a skunk.  You can imagine my first thought.

 

 Mephitidae

Scientific name for the Skunk, which also means
“Stench”

 

I stood on the deck, calling our dog, Stash (Stosh – – – with a short “o”).  I could hear her, but could not see her, in the darkened woods.  I was dreading the possibility that Stash’s focus was on a skunk, and she had no intent of leaving her post to come in.  Shortly after my calling began,  I heard Stash emit what sounded like a playful growl … All I could do is roll my eyes.  I thought to myself:  “She is either getting ready to get sprayed, or … she has already been sprayed, and she thinks that this skunk is playing with her.”  I kept calling, and she kept refusing to come in.  So, I came back in a half-hour, and resumed my calling.  Finally, I heard her rustling / thrashing through the trees, making her way toward me.  She climbed up the steps, through the gate, with the appearance that she had enjoyed playing with someone new in the forest.  I didn’t want to smell the air around her, to determine if she had been successfully targeted by SkunkORama.  I got the gate closed so that she couldn’t go back out to the woods.  This morning, I walked out, cautiously took a whiff, and, to my disappointment, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that my dog had been skunked.  I know that one of the next things that needs to happen is that I have got get Stash into counseling, so she can push through these issues of acting like an idiot.  Anyone have a referral for a dog counselor?

By the way, here is a picture of our dog, resting.

Dog Stash
Stash Dog, resting, when not upsetting skunks.

 

Advertisements

Bear and the Bucket

My paraphrase, from the Sky News article, is that this bear in Pennsylvania was freed from the bucket on its head, by a group of brave volunteers.  You can see a small video at the website above … If not there, then google Bear Bucket Images.

To the rescue: A group of volunteers conducted an impromptu rescue mission in the woods of Pennsylvania to free the Bucket BearThe Patriot News identified the hero-types as Dean Hornberger and girlfriend Samantha Eigenbrod who planned, and carried out, the rescue with other fearless volunteers.  Samantha (Eigenbrod) handled the video piece while the others tackled the bear down, pulled the bucket off, and used a saw to cut through the bucket.  Mission completed, the bear made a run for it, undoubtedly in a much better “head-space”.  At this time, there has been no contact with, or comments from, the bear.  Some believe that the bear has gone into hiding.  I cannot fully grasp the frustration he had to bear (pun).  Since I have ran out of space, and time, I will have to delay my thoughts about the legends of “Bear-Man”.  Some say that Bear Man is actually “Bigfoot”.  However, Bigfoot has a smaller head, and also stays away from buckets.,  But, again: that is a different story.  

 

Bear Conflict … Resolution???

I was not looking for any trouble.  ‘Serious.  But, I did try to sneak one in … through the wildlife neighborhood.  Tuesday nights I get the trash ready for the pickup on Wednesday morning.  Throughout the winter I brought out the heavy-lidded containers Tuesday night, with a great appreciation for this “hibernation” thing that bears do.

Summer has crept in, as I crept out with my trash containers each Tuesday night.  As of last week, “so far, so good”.  But tonight, my daughter came to me with some sparkle in her eyes, a mischievous smile, “Dad … I think there is a bear out there.  Stash (dog) is going nuts out there on the big deck.  I think I heard something down by the road, beating up on your garbage cans.”

I drove down in the jeep.  As soon as I saw the can laying on its side, its contents spilling out, I saw a black shape move behind, looking at me with his glowing eyes and his bear-smirk, and then he tore off through the trees. The plan was to get out, get the trash container back together again.  The bungee chords didn’t seem to be effective.  As I sat in the driver’s seat, looking around through the trees, my courage had an apparent deficit.
*I did not get a picture of the bear, but I went on line to find one that I thought might be similar … So, the picture below is NOT the bear that came to bother me last night; only a picture of a bear.

I had a tall metal red stick with me.  I have no doubt, whatsoever, that the stick was worthless, for this situation.  Finally, I stepped out, gazed into the trees.   I thought I would see Bear, peering at me through the trees.  Its  probably best that I didn’t see him.  Bear would be laughing, or posturing.  I knew this was ridiculous to drag my feet getting the can upright.  Once the garbage can was all set, I got back in the jeep, drove up the road looking for Bear.

A remote-control camera captured this image of a black bear at Tonto National Monument in 2009.

A remote-control camera captured this image of a black bear at Tonto National Monument in 2009.

http://cronkitenews.asu.edu/assets/images/11/08/24-bears-tonto-full.jpg

 The home up the road, two houses down, had the evidence of Bear’s visit: two garbage cans, with much more of a mess than what was the case with my two garbage cans.  I turned around, drove back … homeward.  When I came over the hill, heading down, I saw the same trash can down, Bear walking away, not running … No, not running … just walking away toward the woods on the other side of the road, looking right at me.

This time, I jumped out of the jeep with my tall red stick, sprinted toward the bear, jumped on him, grabbed the hair of his head, and bit his ear.

HA!  Can you imagine?  No, I didn’t do that.  But I wanted to.  I was really ticked that the jerk came right back, less than 10 minutes later.  No, that’s not right.  This time my wife came up with a good idea that I had forgotten about: ammonia.  Yessss!  I went up to the house, procured the ammonia, came back, served a good helping, and I won’t know if it worked until tomorrow morning.  I’m not going out there again tonight.  As for “conflict resolution”?  No, I’m not interested.  But, I may have to re-think the whole garbage-can situation.

 

 

 

Wilderman Dogs

The dogs know more about what’s going

… than I originally thought.

 

There are two of them, up here.  Sometimes I can see them huddling up, and I know … Oh, yes, I know … that they are up to something.  But most of the time they split up.  Sure, they do a good job of barking when some squirrel gets too close to the house.  But sometimes they just bark, to pretend that they are on top of things. At night, it is not uncommon for me to be sitting at my desk, or in one of the big chairs, reading, writing … and at some point I feel like there is someone staring at me.  Yes.  You must have dogs that do that too.  I look up to see one of the dogs staring at me.  And, in a split second, the dog looks away, and stares in a different direction.  Sneaky.  That’s  what they are.  Sneaky.  This is the older dog, a mix between a German Shepherd and a Gold Retriever.  She will sometimes wear my daughter’s lime green ski helmet, trying to disguise herself.  Again: sneaky.

But when I go for a quick hike, or a walk through the woods, oh … one of the dogs jumps in.  The enthusiasm that flows through her eyes, tail wagging, and she even has a prance as she is trotting along with me.  She loves the wilderness.  She loves me.  She is a Wilderman Dog.  Officially she is a Bernese Mountain Dog.  But she is, unmistakably, a Wilderman Dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up, Back On the Horse!

BUCKING BRONCO by Frank Frazetta

Timing is a factor here.  Some guys never get thrown off the horse.  And some of those guys look down on the other guys who have been thrown off the horse.  And therefore … yes, you know where I’m going … the guys who have been thrown off the horse are not going to admit, which means dealing with the “throw-off” on their own.  I’m not saying that’s a bad idea.  But I am saying that handling it on your own is not the only option.

If I were to end the post right there, after that last sentence, this would be about the reality of tension … and the reality that there are stretches of long dark highways with no gas stations, no streetlights, no houses, no convenience stores, etc., in our lives.  A guy named Tozer (long “o”) who said “The saint must walk alone.”  And maybe that is the best way to end it.  I am talking mainly to the guys, but we all know that women get thrown off the horse.  And they have to make a decision about what the process looks like.  What I believe is worth mentioning is that this is a judgment call for each wilder man.  Just don’t ever forget that you are a wilder man.  It looks a bit different for each man.  If you don’t get back on the horse right away, I think there is some wisdom there.  Listen to what your heart is telling you.  But if its about courage, then grab a good grip on that strap, cowboy.  Hold on for the ride of your life.  Even if you do get bucked off.  You are a wilder man.

Haunts from Antarctic Wilder Man

CLOSURE.  I need some closure!

For years I have carried a distinct heaviness from a British Antarctic explorer by the name of Robert Falcon Scott.  He led an expedition to the South Pole.  They spent the winter of 1911 on Cape Evans, part of Ross Island, in a structure they built known as “Scott’s Hut”.  From here, Captain Scott selected four men to continue on for the South Pole.  Scott intended to get there before anyone else.  There was a Norwegian, Roald Amundsen, taking an Antarctic expedition for the South Pole at the same time.  Thus, a race.  Robert Scott reached the South Pole (01/17/1912) and was unfathomably despaired to see a tent, left by Roald Amundsen.  Inside the tent a note addressed to Scott explained that Amundsen’s team had arrived on December 14th, five weeks before Scott’s five-man team reached the Pole.  Amundsen and his team made it back to Norway.  Scott and his five man team died on the Ice.

So, where do I come in?  I worked in an Antarctica field camp (there are quite a few of us Antarcticans) for five months, a breakfast cook.  One evening, I was told to grab my ECW gear (Extreme Cold Weather) and climb into a Hagglund (below, http://www.milmac.se/index.php?page=hagglunds-bv206-personell-carrier&hl=usa).

Hagglunds BV206 Personell CarrierWe were going to Scott’s Hut.  The place is remarkably preserved, due to cold temperatures / low humidity.  I stood by the long dining table, next to the chair where Scott sat at the head of the table.  I feel like I know this guy; impossible … as he died before I was born.  His story is haunting; his pictures are haunting.  Maybe its time for me to quit thinking about Scott and Amundsen.  Maybe not.  His mission was a tragedy, not very positive.  Here’s the rub: Scott’s story is a prolific example of courage / desire to take on dangerous adventures. Things get crazy, sometimes, in a harsh environment.  Scott’s diaries show that he went after this dream.

I think of Antarctica as a cold, merciless, jealous, mistress that refuses to let some men leave; such as the five men on Scott’s polar team, pictured below: (http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/18/jan-18-1912-robert-falcon-scott-discovers-tent-of-explorer-who-beat-him-to-south-pole/?_r=0)

http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/18/jan-18-1912-robert-falcon-scott-discovers-tent-of-explorer-who-beat-him-to-south-pole/?_r=0
Henry Bowers pulled the string for the camera. Robert F. Scott’s expedition team at the South Pole, Jan. 17, 1912. Left to right: Lawrence Oates, Henry Bowers, Scott, Edward Wilson, Edgar Evans.
scott-hut_dinner_spri
http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/05/captain-robert-scotts-hut-in-antarctica.html

 Here is an image of his last diary entry.  The lines read:

“We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more.

R. Scott

Last entry

For God’s sake look after our people.”

Winning Battles, Men

Don’t worry.  You are tougher than hell.  There is a substance within you that makes the demons tremble.  True, they mess with you.  They mess with me, too.  That is one reason conflict happens.  If the battle gets bloody, that’s okay.  You will listen to your heart, and the wisdom that belongs to you.  You may find yourself in a battlefield, no one in sight.  The ground’s ripped up, ugliness in the trenches.  You will wonder, “Where are the other guys?”  You may not see them.

(Image below: ecogentleman.com)

ecogentleman.com

They are out there, somewhere.  Regardless of where they are, you know where YOU are.  And you are a warrior.  What else are you going to do?  You press on!  You own up to your pain, you’re wounds, your fatigue.  You consider that you are afraid.  You feel it in your stomach, and your mind is racing.  And you consider your courage.  Its there, in your heart and soul.  If you come across some enemies, you might be out-numbered.  But, you are still you: a force to be reckoned with.  Better men than you and I have died in battle.  It is not a dishonorable thing to die with courage and nobility and honor, knowing that you went down fighting.  A smaller warrior said to his larger adversary, “You very well may get the best of me.  But by the time it is over, you will know that you have been hit.”  Beware of the wrath of a patient man, when his anger manifests in an honorable way.  You will see strength, then.  And you might want to stand back.