Thursday, November 1, 2007

An Incredible Tail

Okay kids, get ready for one incredible story.

We meet a very sweet woman up at the Regionals in Dixon last week and she has been kind enough to let us republish her story (a true story) entitled "A Beary Scary Brush With A Beary Scary Bear".

It was experienced and written by Susan Liley.

What her incredible Newfoundland, Truffles (a 130 pound female) did is nothing short of a miracle. This event occurred in September 2000 in Plumas County (California) around 4:30 p.m. amidst 20 acres of wilderness surrounded by a national forest.
These are Susan's words:

"I was galloping ahead of her, as I always do. She is calling to me not to, but I am only a puppy and, well, it's fun to run ahead when I am off leash. Ha! What could possibly hurt me? There are no cars here in the woods, only snow geese, the wild turkeys, and sometimes deer. They all run from me, until she gives me a 'time out' for chasing them. I've walked this dirt road many times before, but wait . . . what's that I am smelling? My keen sense of smell is picking up a stench I've smelled before, but it has never been this strong. (Truffie was smelling the underbrush to the side of the dirt road we'd walked many times.) Does 'she' (my human Susan) know that when I sense danger my body language could serve to warn her? I've only been with her a short 11 months, but 'she' is the hand that feeds me! Does she notice that I've raised the fur along the ridge of my back and at the nape of my neck? 'She' wants me to go to the right. I'll run to the left. Yep, that got her attention. I am sensing we're in real danger now, but she doesn't seem to have a clue. The pads on my paws can feel the vibrations of something heavy coming, running towards us from the direction of the river, but I cannot see it. The stench is getting stronger. Now I see it! Never have I seen anything on four legs as big as this creature. She doesn't know it's running right at her from behind. I need to think fast! (Somehow I know this is when she'd say the SH. . . word if she only knew what was coming at her.) It's much bigger than me, but I cannot let it near her. OK, OK, here goes . . . I'll do what she initially wanted me to do. I'll run to the right and that will get her to turn. She does. Whoa! She sees it; she is yelling at me, 'Truffles, bark! Truffles, bark!' I stop running and creep through the 'Bear Grass' up into the trees turning very quickly to point behind my human, holding my tail parallel to the ground. Surely she'll notice something is wrong!

"She has been teaching me not to bark so I don't bother the neighbors where we live, and I've learned to muffle it. However, I sense something different in her voice. (I'll only bark twice. That should be OK.) Whoa! It didn't like that. By now, this humongous creature is running straight at me!! I'll bark again and go up on my hind legs. I'm over 6 feet tall when I jump up on my back legs. (Truffles being very vulnerable at this point, I could see her soft pink tummy. She is a solid black dog - - my heart sank thinking she was either going to be thrown up into the air, clawed or bitten.) 'Ha, that did it!' I can be very big and scary too!!! The creature is high tailing it down into the creek and across the road up into the trees. (It was obvious the bear realized she was dealing with a very large dog and that usually when she encountered one dog there are others. If there were more, as big as this one, she didn't want to go there!)

"My human seems to be frozen in place. I thought about chasing this humongous creature to make sure it's really gone, but my human is yelling at me, 'to don't do it!' Like she thinks I am going to chase that stinky thing! This time I think I'd better listen to her. Now, she wants me to come to her. Right now! She's no fun, but she's not moving, so I'd better go see what's wrong. I know - - I'll save her so then she'll tell me I did good! (The old water rescue stuff.) Like getting rid of the bear wasn't enough!!!!
"I calmly walk back to my human creeping through the Bear Grass. I am wondering if that creature has anything to do with why this Bear Grass is here? Or, the 8,000 foot mountain nearby being named Grizzly Peak, or this roadbed that my human is frozen into being called Grizzly Bear Road? What in the world is a Bear anyway?

"So I circle on her right and then around to her left leg, sit a hard sit, and look up at her for approval. (Thanks for the water training Rick.) Her body is rigid, but here comes her left hand to pat me on the head. Her voice is very soft, 'Truffles, you did good. Good girl!' She looks straight ahead and then down into my brown eyes, and in a whisper says, 'Let's find Daddy. Truffles, heel, walk slowly.' I am not sure what else I could do. She's got a firm grip (fingernails dug in) on the fur at the back of my neck. We get half way to our sleeping shed in the woods and she tells me to 'stop/sit!' She drops to her knees in the dirt and wraps her arms around my neck and says in a shaky voice, 'Truffie, I love you so much.' 'Truffie you saved us from the bear.' By now I am licking those salty droplets from her cheeks, and then I lose it too, and I'm licking her all over. She doesn't seem to mind this time."

Susan's Note: "Fortunately for Truffie and me, the 300lbs female California Brown Bear had been treed previously by local dogs, so once Truffie barked and the bear realized that Truffie wasn't her cub, then the bear didn't want to have anything to do with her or me. This incident happened in a matter of minutes. (Maybe seconds.) At first, when Truffie left my side, I thought I was dead meat, but then I realized she was luring the bear away from me. It was Truffie who was in trouble. My heart sank, and there was nothing I could do to help her. Her ability to think fast and her instinct to bark and protect humans, saved our lives."


"Once were were safe inside the sleeping shed, Trufie turned to me, licked my face and moaned, 'Newfies rule and bears drool, but don't tell anyone I barked that". This is definitely an example of hundreds of years of human & Newfie companionship. It paid off big time for both Truffles and me. Truffles came to us from Mission Mountain Newfoundlands in Polson, Montana. It wasn't clear to us why we were so willing to drive over 1,000 miles to fetch her as a puppy but it is certainly clear to us now. I thank God everyday for giving me my Newfie Truffles. She's passed the most important test of all -- the human bond test."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

When Susan told us the story in person, we just could not believe it. The bear got to within just a few feet of Susan before Truffles intervened. She saved Susan's life and that is what a Newfie does.

In 2005, the AKC recognized Truffles as one of the TOP 10 companion dogs of the year. As Susan says, "she's 8 now and greying around the muzzle BUT I know she'd do it again if we were in any sort of danger. Newfoundlands ARE really AWESOME -- their love is unconditional."

What more can one say?


Gizmosav said...

Wow, what an incredible story. Thank you for sharing. I can only hope that I will come to the rescue if someone needs it. Truffles is my hero.

Anonymous said...

What a story. What a great dog!

Anonymous said...

Il fantastico!


Anonymous said...

Another Newfie hero!!