Life, Death, Irate Moose and a New Cosmic Rule

18 Apr

I was talking to my Dad once and he told me that I was six years old before I learned to stick my hands out to prevent major damage when I fell. I was both a clumsy child and a very slow learner. I wasn’t upset when my Dad told me this. In fact it explains a lot about me.

It certainly helps account for the reason I was chased into my house this morning by a moose.

We live in a small town in Eastern Idaho, surrounded by the Teton mountain range on one side and other smaller mountain ranges on two other sides. We don’t live in town, but about 7 miles out in the country. As far as the moose are concerned that doesn’t really matter – they’ve been known to trot through town as well – but they do prefer open spaces. Which is why I frequently check the yard before I let our dogs out. This particular morning I did not.

We have a 170 lb Newfoundland, 80 lb Yellow Lab and 6 lb Chihuahua. The Yellow Lab and Chihuahua were already outside when our Newfoundland started to bark to go outside. He is a sweet and lovable giant of a dog, but not terribly intelligent. We affectionately call him Doof.

Doof - our lovable, but not terribly intelligent Newfoundland.

I thought he had to go to the bathroom really badly. When he continued to bark after he went outside I realized – in my non-caffeinated brain – that there was probably an animal in the yard. We get moose and elk on a regular basis. In my pajamas, bare feet and without my glasses on, I went outside and peered around the edge of the garage.

There is no such thing as a small moose. Even blurry they are incredibly large. Especially if they are about 200 feet away.

Female moose - relatively happy and more than 200 feet away.

That’s when the chaos ensued.

I would also like to insert at this point that I think there should be a cosmic rule that no life and death situations should be allowed to happen before 7am.

I started yelling for the dogs who were doing doggie things like barking at the giant female moose and protecting their territory. Dogs feel that protecting their territory is their duty. Moose do not take kindly to this type of thinking. Especially when they are being barked at.

She put her head down and charged the Yellow Lab. The Yellow Lab never listens to me. I stopped yelling at the dogs and started screaming for my husband. He came out on our second story deck and hollered. The Yellow Lab always listens to him.

Yellow Lab who does not listen to me

I got the Yellow Lab inside and slammed the door.

Then I had my brilliant thought.

I needed to take more action in this situation.

I put on my husband’s shoes – 4 sizes too big – and went outside. With the moose, the Chihuahua and the Newfoundland.

I’ve lived long enough – and in this part of the country long enough – to know that a) the moose was really unhappy and felt very threatened with a large dog still barking at her b) I knew not to walk into the open – I stayed next to my husband’s pick up and c) I know Doof. We call him that for a reason.

I was at the end of my husband’s pick up. Doof about 15 feet away from me. The moose maybe 15 more feet beyond.

The Chihuahua became irrelevant at this point. Not that we don’t love him. We do. But he can fit under objects like pickup trucks.

Our Chihuahua as a puppy. Not much bigger now and easily able to fit under a truck and away from a rampaging moose.

I yelled for Doof, my husband (behind me at the door, in his boxers and nothing else) yelled at me and the moose lowered her head and swiveled her massive body.

Luckily for me, my thought process has sped up in the past 36 years.

I immediately decided that Doof should face the consequences of his actions on his own and turned around and hightailed it to the door. In my husband’s shoes – 4 sizes too big. Without my glasses and still unable to see clearly. I was able, however, to see the whites of my husband’s eyes and hear him screaming. Very loudly. At me.

As soon as I got within reach, he flung me inside, leapt in behind me and slammed the door. I turned to see the BACKSIDE of the moose as she rounded the truck, still chasing Doof. I figure she’d been less than 5 feet away when my husband flung me inside.

Doof underwent a spontaneous shift in thinking. It occurred to him – as he rounded the end of the truck with a very irate moose a hoofbeat away – that perhaps antagonizing animals 6 or 7 times his size is not the best idea. He continued on around the pickup and we opened the door when he reached it – sans rampaging moose this time. We let him in and shut the door.

The moose – hackles still raised – stood in the yard for several more minutes before continuing on her walk.

We went upstairs. The clock read 6:50 am. That’s when the new cosmic rule occurred to me. My husband offered me a cup of coffee. Which I declined, citing the adrenaline still racing through my system.

It’s highly likely that this incident will somehow make it into one of my books. What about you? Any life or death experiences lately?

(**This incident happened about 2 weeks ago, but I was suddenly inspired to write a blog about it and did so shortly after the moose left the premises.)


Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Idaho


Tags: , , , , , ,

18 responses to “Life, Death, Irate Moose and a New Cosmic Rule

  1. Liz Fredericks

    April 18, 2012 at 6:40 AM

    I don’t know where to start. The Cosmic Rule is, indeed, brilliant and I’m going to stitch a sampler. I think you’ve other good rules in the mix. Always wear your glasses. Keep shoes by the front door. Make your husband get up first and tend to the dogs πŸ˜‰ You’ve lived the most fascinating life and I can’t wait to read more in your books. Really. I swear, Meredith, I’m a junky for your writing.

    • Meredith Allen Conner

      April 18, 2012 at 8:11 AM

      Right back atcha Liz! Although I’m not sure about a fascinating life – some mornings I’m just happy I’m still here πŸ™‚ And with irate moose on the other side of the door!

  2. Janis McCurry

    April 18, 2012 at 7:24 AM

    Then there was the time in a small mountain resort town (I was about 10) when my sister and I were out on the open porch playing cards at night with just the light from the window inside to see our cards. Much rustling of bushes and crackling of branches and a black bear came around the corner. We screamed and ran into the house, calling for my dad.

    It was Judy, our black lab.

    • Meredith Allen Conner

      April 18, 2012 at 8:13 AM

      Black labs look very intimidating at night. And it probably sparked an interesting story in that imaginative brain of yours, Janis πŸ™‚

  3. ramblingsfromtheleft

    April 18, 2012 at 7:34 AM

    Meredith, there must be a cosmic rule about writers … do we call these events into our lives? Is it our karmic fate to be pursued by the strange and ridiculous … to go where no man has gone? Ah yes, I do believe this to be the rule of the universe … to send us down here to soak up as much material, inspiration or in this case a well placed life lesson and … Of course, you have to use it. I mean the universe conspired to bring that gaggle of creatures to you … sans coffee (which is a magnificent feat) sans shoes or protective geat … but with your memory chips waiting to store yet another moment.

    This was a welcomed moment of merriment to add to my coffee deprived morning. Thanks πŸ™‚

  4. Meredith Allen Conner

    April 18, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    Aha! A Star Trek fan!!! I swear I could hear the theme music playing as I read your comment. And absolutely the universe understands and even encourages these odd evens in writers’ lives. I think it is another cosmic rule because we, as writers, will use said odd events. We will write about them, twist them, come at them from various angles and even change them until they are no longer the same event – they are the creative fodder we feed from.
    The moose, however, was irate from start to finish.

  5. Peggy Staggs

    April 18, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    No life and death adventures involving animals in my past. I’ve always been an urban girl. All mine were pretty much due to teen naivety, roaming around Hong Kong alone, at night (I had a good reason…I was looking for balloons. I still have the slip of paper with the Chinese character for balloon on it.)
    Then there were the ones I had no control over. The plane that lost hydraulics just after takeoff. Not good. Or the time the plane I was on was caught in a southern thunderstorm–the kind that spawn tornados. I was traveling alone on a plane full of Army and Air Force guys fresh out of boot camp. Even the stewardess got sick, but not me. I wasn’t getting sick in front of all those guys.

  6. Meredith Allen Conner

    April 18, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Love your tough girl side! So impressive!! I’m more of the duck and whimper type when it comes to planes myself πŸ™‚

  7. W. Daniel King

    April 18, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    excellent ! next time let the Doof suffer his own consequences ! although I do admire your courage and noble intent, we need you without moose tracks on your head ! HA !
    fun read and inspiring, thanks for sharing…

  8. Meredith Allen Conner

    April 18, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Doof is definitely on his own from now on. Especially with moose πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by, Dan!

  9. maryvine

    April 18, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Oh my goodness, Meredith! I’ve seen a moose once, and two or three bears in the wild, but always at a safe distance. I enjoyed reading about this and read it to my husband, too. Thanks!

  10. Meredith Allen Conner

    April 18, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    This was my second up close and personal experience with a moose. I startled one down a canyon several years ago. Hopefully it will be my last.

  11. Jennifer

    April 18, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Doof sounds a little bit like your Maggie and porcupines! Love your storytelling, Meredith!

    • Meredith Allen Conner

      April 18, 2012 at 2:13 PM

      I can’t believe you still remember the porcupine incident – that’s it’s own blog πŸ™‚ So happy you commented!!

  12. stephanieberget

    April 18, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Years ago, DH was a timber faller, and we were in logging camp at Lolo Pass in Montana. We stayed in small camp trailers. I was talking to a friend around the campfire at about 8 in the morning. I went to check my kids and heard her screaming. When I looked out the window, a moose was trying to get through the door of her trailer. It tore the screen door off the hinges.The reason?…her chihuahua had run under the trailer and continued to bark. The moose finally got tired and left. It perked our day right up.

  13. Meredith Allen Conner

    April 18, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    It amazes me how much mischief those little guys can get into!!! Our Chihuahua tries to intimidate the Newfoundland. I just roll my eyes. Thanks for sharing your moose story!

    • stephanieberget

      April 18, 2012 at 4:03 PM

      Thanks for your blog. Here’s another one. One of the other timber fallers partied a little too much one night and was asleep in his trailer. He drove a Volkswagon bug to work. He woke to the sound of the horn honking and walked out. Two bear cubs had climbed in the window and were eating some donuts he’d left there. When he yelled, the acted like pinballs, bouncing around the interior because they couldn’t find the window. They tore the heck out of the upholstery. I hadn’t thought of that for years. Remembering made my day.

  14. Clarissa Southwick

    April 24, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    You lead such an exciting life up there in the mountains, Meredith. I haven’t tackled anything meaner than the sprinkler system this week. Thanks for a great story, and yes, I’m looking forward to reading it in a published book soon πŸ™‚


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