What I thought was going to start as a nice, leisurely day, with a morning walk with Bubba, soon turned into anything but. The sun was peaking through some lingering morning clouds, the mountains surrounding our property displayed their freshly painted coat of ‘termination dust’ – well…..actually, I think it’s here to stay – it’s a little bit too ‘heavy’ for just powder-sugar like ‘termination dust’ as the Native Alaskans call it! And then Care’s Corner “remodel” was stellar , the sun making the rocks sparkle as it rose above the mountain peaks.
I heard some magpies, and then I heard the high-pitched screech of a younger, mottle- colored, HUGE eagle. I looked down river in awe. His colors were amazing. He didn’t have his white head yet (maybe next year?) When he flew from one bank to the other, his wing span made my jaw drop open in awe. I continued walking along the multi-graded gravel pit that we have been left with in the latest re-model/flood, watching where this gorgeous eagle would fly to. But he didn’t fly anywhere. THAT should have been my FIRST clue!!
I then looked around and called to Bubba. I couldn’t see him. Figuring he had just blended in with the last of the fall colors, I called out again. THEN, I saw it. Bubba’s head lifted ever so slightly, not far from where the magpies and eagle were now sitting on log.
NOOOOOOOO! I screamed….minutes too late. SKANKED!!
While fall is one of the wonderful times in Alaska, while autumn never lasts long enough, and while the incredible colors only last a week or two, we are always THRILLED to see what is in the first photo. It may be hard to see, but see the salmon in the water? We are thrilled because with all the flooding the last couple years, and this year in particular, and the river changing course and it’s main channel, we weren’t sure if the salmon would find their ‘home’ again. But when they find ‘home’ again, they have come to spawn, their life cycle is complete. Which means only one thing – after that their bodies float downstream or get banked, for ‘moosehounds’ to find, roll in and take a taste (or ten?) of. They smell, they are beat up, but after all, this is all part of the natural cycle of life. I just wish Bubba hadn’t taken such a liking to them!!
I’m sure the eagle (second photo – sorry – it’s from my phone, so it doesn’t have much detail – I was surprised he let me see him as close up as he did!) was looking at me with his beady eyes glaring, thinking: “What did you just do to my breakfast, Lady?!” I had waded into the river and with my muck boots had gently moved the carcass from the sand back into the water – it’s not like the eagle wouldn’t find it downstream a bit – right?
Enter stage left, Sammy. Sammy is the delightful German Shepherd that lives next door. He and Bubba have daily “play dates”. Whomever is up and eaten breakfast first, and after the school buses have passed, one or the other goes to get the other. Today Bubba was depressed as Sammy wasn’t home – at least not until later. You guessed it……yep! They found another one (or more?) carcasses to rub in and roll. When their daughter brought Bubba back home as they had errands to run, I could smell Bubba a mile away……
So……back into the shower I went with this 180 pound moosehound, Brindle English Mastiff/Ridgeback. While the initial stink and fight is a yearly ritual, it is never easy. But, I DO think that Bubba thought the Tuk Day Spa wasn’t TOO bad – especially when it came with treats and being rubbed and dried with a warm hair dryer, which he melted like putty under…….
Doggie Day Spa? That’s NOT how I thought THIS day would go!! But I’m glad the salmon found their way ‘home’!!
Care Tuk is a nationally known speaker, educator, and retreat/workshop leader. She has been a school, hospital, and home health occupational therapist for more than 30 years. She has been named as a Top Business Woman in America and recognized for her work with youth, disability outreach and awareness, and the American Cancer Society.