This is Rose Marie Logger:
That’s her full name. (Our animals have always acquired middle names. I’m not sure why or how, but they do.) She’s ‘Rose’ because she nearly gassed us out of my rig on the long ride home after collecting her. She’s ‘Logger’ because when she first started walking and hiking with Finn and I, she would haul small logs home. Yes, logs. Not sticks, not long branches. Logs. She would find one, manage to get her jaws around it, and drag it home. It was promptly deposited near the front steps. Truth.
This is a black bear. They are native to New Hampshire.
Rose is a small pit bull. It would surprise you to learn that she weighs 50 pounds. But remember science class? Can you say dense? Rose is solid. The girl has mass. There isn’t one ounce of fat on her. Her muscles ripple when she moves.
Black bears weigh between 90 and 370 pounds. They climb trees. Their claws look like this:
This morning, as happens every morning, I let my kids out back. It was 5:30 am. They did their business, came in and I fed them. We have a slider and a lovely deck. Finn has taught Rose how to open the slider. Since his method wreaks havoc on the screen, I have surrendered and simply leave the slider open. It’s just easier that way.
I was eating my oatmeal and perusing my teaching notes, when I heard Rose barking. I went to look. I’ve learned that my kids bark for a reason. I pay attention to that.
She was at the far end of the yard. I wasn’t wearing my contacts. But I remember my first initial thought(s): “Why is Finn all hunched over like that” and concurrently, “Why is Rose barking at Finn?” Then, it was weird, my mind couldn’t keep up. Finn was right beside me. What the hell?
And as Finn streaked by me, I realized Rose was taking on a black bear. All cohesive thought fled. Instinct took over. I ran after my dogs. Finn’s not stupid and he seemed to know this wasn’t right. I was far too close to a rather large bear that was making its way up a pine tree in an attempt get away from Rose. As the bear began sliding down the tree, I bolted back to the house, yelling “BALL!” Finn followed me.
As I slammed the slider shut, I watched in horror as the bear slid down the tree. Rose gave not one quarter. The bear reared up on its hind legs and Rose reared back, barking. The bear dropped to all fours and took off, Rose Marie hot on its heels. I began to cry as I watched my deaf girl disappear down over the embankment.
When she showed up at the slider door, I thanked God as she barreled into the kitchen, all puffed up, stiff-legged and indignant. As she lapped water from the bowl, she was vocal, talking about it. I didn’t know a dog could drink water and bark at the same time. I started to laugh: with relief, joy, and thankfulness.
Our trainer Tom affectionately calls her ‘Meathead’. Yes. Perhaps. Sometimes. But I saw a dog protecting all that she loved, all that was hers. In retrospect, I admire her conviction, her courage, her tenacity.