A woman's scream is heard and then the strange eerie scream of an animal. Several shots are fired in the night, two small caliber and then a minute or two later a couple of rifles sound their sharp crack.Mother is setting on the ground near the rope corral that holds some of the smaller animals for the night. A large Saint Bernard is lying by her side and starts to growl when someone tries to approach. The dog has blood on its fur. A couple guards have guns trained on the dog. Two guards are over near the tree line checking carefully through the brush there. Mother is a bit shaken but starts to talk. Course, she always does that when she's nervous anyway and she has pretty good reason for being nervous. Mother's DH comes running but she stops him.
...It's okay, I think….I'm not hurt and I believe this dog just saved my life. I'm afraid it might be hurt. Let me see if it will let me get up. Easy there, it's okay. They aren't going to hurt you. Easy there. HEY, quit licking me, you slobber. Stop it. NO! Let DH help me. Good dog. Well, that wasn't very graceful but I'm up at least. You all want to move back a bit and see if this thing will let me at least go back to the fire?
Umm, okay, so I guess it's going to go back with me. Good maybe I can see where it's injured. I believe I need to set down though. Can someone bring me a better light? Good dog, lay down, come on, it's okay, DOWN! That's better.
(People are asking what happened as the guards are coming back from the trees. Mother is checking over the dog as she talks.)
As usual I couldn't sleep tonight so I came out here about an hour ago to set near the fire. I could just see the livestock milling around in the rope corral that had been set up for them to graze in. The guards had been making periodic rounds of the animals and had just stopped by to grab a cup of coffee and a short chat before moving on to the other side of the camp to see how the guards were making out over there. They'd only been gone a few minutes when I noticed one of our small Nigerian kids had wander under the rope to nibble some grass several feet away. Still not knowing if it was animal or human that seemed to have been following us for two days I decided to walk over and convince the kid to go back to it's mom.
I've been carrying a small 22 pistol in my pocket, the only thing I feel confident I can use well. I pulled it out and wandered in the direction of the animals. I was just working my way around the kid to ease it back without spooking it when I heard a slight sound behind me. The first scream you heard was me when I saw that huge cat crouching not fifty feet from me. The second was the sound of that cat as this dog came sailing out from nowhere and went for the cat's throat. They ended up almost at my feet by the time the guards got there.
Poor baby has some scratches on its ears and chest. Don't look to be too deep but they're going to need to be cleaned. I'm just not sure it's going to let me. (DH and DD are there and after years of wildlife rescue both know what Mother will need and bring her rags and a basin of hot water)
Oh, Mr. Hughes I see the cat didn't get away. But with this dog growling like it is maybe you guys better put it some place a bit further away. Quiet there big one. It's okay
I fired a couple of shots but only in the air to try to scare it off. One of you guys must have killed it. I was afraid you would hit the dog but as soon as the cat took off it came right to me and almost laid on top of me. I wasn't sure which I should be more afraid of for a few minutes. I'm pretty sure the guards would have shot the dog too if they hadn't been afraid of hitting me and it was obvious pretty fast that it wasn't intending on hurting me but was protecting me instead.
No, this isn't DD's Saint. She's the one you hear whining in the wagon back there. I have no idea who it belongs to but I believe it might be what's been following us. Well, maybe the cat has too as I believe they have a huge territory and maybe the dog was following the cat. I really don't know. Poor thing is almost skin and bones. I have no idea how we will feed it but I think it deserves a chance since it seems to have saved my life.
I can't thank you guards enough for being right there so fast as well. Oh, you saw me walk out and came right away. Yeah, that was a dumb thing to do but you had just been there and everything seemed fine except that the animals were restless and I should have paid attention to that and realized. You know, I hadn't felt like anyone was watching be the whole while I was by the fire tonight, first time in days. I wonder if the dog was watching the cat instead of me.
You know, I believe I'm starting to shake. I might need someone to help me work on a couple of these cuts. Quiet, stop that growling! DGD, you've helped me before, will it let you near me? No, guess not. Go get my med kit at the back of the wagon. I've got some Homeopathic Mag Phoshorica in there that's used for calming. I think there's enough in there for both of us.
We can talk more in the morning but for now, I just hope we can get the dog calmed, fixed up and all get some sleep. It's been a really long day. Night everyone, and thanks for everything.
(As an aside, I took this story line from a real life happening. I actually did have a Saint Bernard dog save me from a bull by attacking it's throat and the dog acted just like this one. For the rest of it's life she was extremely protective of me though she seemed to know the good guys from the bad and I always listened to her judgement.
I would love to have you write your ideas of what we would do on a wagon train if this happened. More guards, secure the animals better, Make some rules for no one outside of the wagon circle except the guards? Remember the hot showers though and the latrines. What if it had been a human out there? With a gun? Are you going to be afraid of the dog if it stays in the wagon train? Any other thoughts? )