Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wake Up Call

Yeah, so, apparently we have become a bit complacent about the wildlife in our backyard.

Our first winter in Alaska was spent dilligently checking and re-checking the yard, driveway, and any other outdoor space for our favorite furry, antler-laden creature. Of course we had few problems then, probably because we were looking so hard for them.

By now we have come to a love-hate relationship with moose. They eat the garden, we shoo them away. They provide winter entertainment, we have something to show visiting family and friends. As long as they refrain from stomping their feet all overy our tender human forms, I am content, for the most part, to allow them their simple pleasures.

This morning we realized just how relaxed we had become in our moose-vigilance. It nearly cost our doggie his face.

The dog's early morning constitution usually lasts about, oh, 30 seconds. Yukon let him out around 7 a.m. and the sound of his paws running back up the stairs outside did not immediately bring me to the sliding door. Hmmm. Odd. Perhaps he dug up an old bone, not unheard of.

Dark outside (of course it was, it's always dark now), I nonetheless peer into the backyard and notice Dog is staring at the fence, on point (at least he tries), ears and hackles up. Uh oh. I call, he looks at me. I call again, he turns slightly towards me and again points. Crap.

At this point I decide to call Yukon, who brings a flashlight, smart man. Donning his Crocs and carrying the flashlight, he calls the Dog, who now begins to bark frantically. I was just putting on my own boots when I hear "Oh, God, there is a moose and it's right HERE!" along with a few other expletives that probably woke up the entire neighborhood.

Helpful wife that I am, I shouted "Well, grab the dog and get up here!" Easier said than done because Dog did not have his collar on and without it is more slippery than a snake, especially when trying to avoid his owner.

Meanwhile, Mama Moose, who had been resting next to the neighbor's trampoline, slowly rises to her feet as her Baby, curious of course, begins to point his own nose towards Dog in what I can already tell will be disaster. Yes, there is a fence, but a 4 foot chainlink fence is not, and never has been, an effective ungulate deterrant.

Yukon is chasing and yelling, Dog is barking, I am swearing, and the Moose are trying to figure out what to do. Finally the Dog goes upstairs where he promptly tries to climb in my lap, shivering. Yukon follows and tries the same.

Moose X 2 peaceably decided to eat the neighbor's raspberry canes in a show of diplomacy and hung around long enough for us to wake up Bear. 30 minutes later, they left to finish their breakfast elsewhere and Dog returned to his kennel to regain his composure. Yukon, well, let's just say that a romp around your backyard in your flannel pants and Crocs wasn't the best way to start a workday.

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