Rescue dog becomes rescuer in cougar confrontation
A rescue dog has come through for his rescuer in an encounter with a large cougar near Prince George. Bam, a pit bull who came into the Prince George BC SPCA shelter as a stray a few months ago, used to be afraid of his own shadow. But he stood his ground when one of his guardians, shovelling snow in the darkening night after a big snowfall, needed him.
“When we got him, he was terrified of everything,” says BC SPCA North Cariboo District Branch manager Angela McLaren. “It took a staff member two days to get Bam brave enough to leave his kennel.”
Bam went home with Brock and Toni Schell, BC SPCA pet foster parents who live in Beaverly – just outside city limits. They adopted Bam a couple of months ago, as he was such a perfect fit with the Schells and their other rescue dog, Tinka, a hound cross.
Brock notes that he’s lived in Beaverly for 10 years and has never once seen a cougar, although he’s aware it can be a part of a rural lifestyle. “It all happened so fast. It took seconds,” Brock says, describing how he was shovelling snow, his tuque on and hood up, moving away from the house and down the driveway on a dark December night.
“The cougar must have just been sitting there, watching us. It looked like it was about 100 pounds – he was definitely bigger than Tinka, who’s 70-75 pounds,” he says. “I could see Bam’s feet below (the cougar’s) belly. At first I thought it was Tinka or that another dog had somehow gotten into the yard. Then it looked at me. It was about 20 feet from me.”
Realizing a large cougar was between himself and his house, Brock started backing away, taking refuge at the side of his truck, as Bam growled and barked loudly, distracting the cougar enough, he thinks, for two things to happen: Tinka came around the corner of the house at full speed, baying in her loudest and deepest voice, and Toni simultaneously pulled into the driveway in her vehicle. The cougar quickly disappeared.
Looking back on the incident, Brock wonders if the cougar was perhaps, targeting Bam. But he’s grateful he wasn’t shovelling alone.
“If Bam hadn’t been there, or if I had been by myself, or if Tinka and Toni didn’t show up when they did, I have no idea how that would have played out.”
He and Toni are glad they have not seen the cougar since. And they’re thankful Bam didn’t go home with anyone else, as the outcome of the cougar confrontation could have been much different. Now they’re gratefully preparing for a cozy holiday as a happy, whole family.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.