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Beyond myopia

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Tyson, as is his tendency, was lollygagging around off leash 20 metres behind me, reluctant to end his walk when he saw me walking towards a bear not three feet from me. Naturally he took that as a green light to attack the bear.

The bear - we'll call him Barry - outweighed Tyson by 200 pounds and easily grappled Dogface into a nasty neck hold with his mouth. I would have grabbed Tyson's collar but it was in the bear's mouth. I screamed at the bear and kicked at it and hit it. The scream alerted the neighbours - some of whom came out to help. The kick at the bear did nothing. The hit made the bear spit my dog out like a tough chunk of meat and stand up to get me. We had effectively picked a fight with a bear for no reason other than carelessness and lack of awareness.

Barry knocked me down and proceeded towards me when Tyson came back and stood the bear down, giving me the second I needed to get on my feet and wave and bluff the bear off - with Tyson's help of course. I'm sure that if Tyson hadn't intervened, the bear would have been on me in a second and this story would have a different ending.

We booked out of there but not before the bear came back. By then there were neighbours all around who heard me screaming like a guy getting attacked by a bear and had come out to help, so the bear peeled off the other way.

After that, I don't know what happened to Barry but Tyson and I got home and had a look over - to make sure we had all our parts.

In my case, a slightly bruised elbow was the worst of it but poor Dogface had a few nasty puncture wounds on his neck and a cut on his ear. He was very lucky and he knew it. His eyes were as big as saucers and he was visibly shaken.

The morning came and Dr. (Stein) Hoff took a look - antibiotics and a biscuit and Tyson was okay. No stitches. All in all, we both got off lucky.

These are the things I would have done differently: 1) keep the dog on a leash - I would have had the benefit of Tyson's keen senses much earlier (the encounter would never had happened). Which brings me to point: 2) be aware - simple awareness of my environment which includes black bears would have had me notice the bear much earlier.

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