A Terrace couple and their two dogs had a terrifying encounter with wolves while camping over the May long weekend.
Friday Bailey and her partner Nathan Meakes spent the night of Friday May 15 camping in the back of their truck at a cut block near the Onion Lake Cross Country Ski Trails. They had just woken up around 7:30 Saturday morning and they were cuddling in bed with their dog Cash, a 7-year-old lab mix, while their other dog Arlo, a 10-year-old Huskey/collie mix, lounged outside the truck.
“You know that time in the morning where you’re not up and going yet, but you’re awake?” Bailey asked in an interview with The Terrace Standard.
Suddenly, Cash bolted out of bed.
“We saw that it was wolves that had approached the camp … they were huge,” Bailey said. “[Arlo] and the wolves were rushing toward each other, and then [Cash] jumped out of the truck and just totally intervened.”
Bailey said the dogs and wolves clashed for about 10 seconds, then the dogs chased the wolves toward the bush at the edge of the cut block.
“[Nate and I] were just running after them and screaming and yelling and just going ballistic,” she said. “Just trying to scare the wolves off, and trying to get our dogs back.”
After a few minutes Arlo came back to the couple and Bailey was able to hold his collar. Cash returned to check on the couple, but then went back to pursuing the wolves, and he repeated this a few times before the wolves eventually took off.
There were only two wolves, Bailey said.
“Thank God. I don’t think [the dogs] could have fought off any more,” she said. “We didn’t think the wolves were going to come after humans, but we definitely thought they would kill a dog.”
Bailey said she suspects the wolves spotted Arlo alone outside the truck and didn’t realize there was another dog and two humans hidden from view.
The couple are experienced campers, Bailey said. They had their food stored safely atop the truck and were carrying bear spray.
“We are really safe campers, but we didn’t expect wolves to approach our camp in the daylight,” she said. “If it was night time the dogs would have been in the [cab of the] truck and everyone would have been secure.”
Arlo suffered only minor scratches on his face, but Cash had a big bite mark on his neck, a scratch on his groin, and other bruises and abrasions.
Finding a veterinarian to treat Cash on Saturday of a long weekend, and in the middle of the pandemic, was a major challenge. Bailey said the couple had to phone around to six places in Terrace, Rupert and Kitimat before finally finding someone who was available to treat Cash. The couple had to drop Cash off outside the veterinary office as they could not enter due to the pandemic.
Bailey said they reported the incident to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.
Both dogs are recovering at home, Bailey said, though Cash was sedated by painkillers for days after the encounter.