Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Jog on the Wild Side

There are some wonderful things about living Alaska- the view, the summers, the lack of people- but here's something that's not so wonderful: taking a jog with wolves.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A wolf pack surrounded three joggers and attacked one of their dogs in the latest of a series of bold attacks near Alaska's largest city.
A dog on a chain also was killed Thursday and a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said the same pack may be responsible for both attacks.
The dog in its own yard in Eagle River on Anchorage's north side was killed first Thursday morning.
A few hours later, the second attack occurred less than a mile away as three women and their dogs were running on a well-used stretch of road.
It was so quick, the three friends at first didn't know what was happening.
"They were so quiet. They just came right up on us. They were quick. The dogs had no clue. They didn't smell them or hear them - nothing," Alycia Beiergrohslein told KTVA-TV.
At least seven wolves surrounded the three women and their dogs as they jogged on Artillery Road. The lead wolves came within feet, circling the women as they tried to get away. They were only slightly deterred by pepper spray.
"I was rainbowing my pepper spray, and they fell back a little bit," said Camas Barkemeyer. "But as soon as we would turn our backs to try to go, they would run up on us, and we would turn around and start screaming again, and I would spray my pepper spray.
"We just kept pulling, and they were so big, and they started howling, and they were circling us. And it got us really panicked, and we kept screaming."
Beiergrohslein, Barkemeyer and the third jogger were more than a mile and a half away from their cars. The women had read the warnings about other wolf attacks and kept their dogs on leashes.
As the wolves circled, the women walked backward, screaming to keep the animals away, and trying to keep everyone safe.
"I love my dog with all my heart, but I can't jeopardize my friends. And if that's what they wanted, I didn't know whether to leave him," Beiergrohslein said.
The women held tight to the leashes, and were able to keep the wolves at bay, but not before the pack attacked Barkemeyer's American bulldog, Buddy.
"My dog was attacked by the wolves, three wolves," Barkemeyer said. "He fought his way out as I was pulling."
The women were not physically hurt. Buddy underwent surgery to mend gashes and bites left by the wolves. Barkemeyer said she worries the pack could attack again.
"They were not afraid of us," she said. "And I'm afraid that if I was out here by myself, they would attack me. They were not afraid."
Quoted from The Associated Press, from KTVF TV Anchorage
I love wolves and have used them for some acting things. I've done research on them and find their pack lifestyle fascinating. They are beautiful and amazing animals. However, I have absolutely no interest in meeting any of them face to face.
At the same time, it's part of the package. If you live in Alaska, you're gonna live pretty close to some of the wildlife. We've got moose in our backyard, and on bad snow years wolves attack animals on the outskirts of town.

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