Backcasts archive: Through Oct. 3, 2008

Blog calendar: Oct. 3 | Oct. 1 | Sept. 29

posted Oct. 3, 2008

At 90 pounds and hissing, that ain't no house cat in Casper

Casper the friendly cat – a big lion of a cat – got a taste of city life this week in Wyoming.

To be sure, the big feline doesn't come when called, but the proprietor of the property in central Casper where the 80- to 90-pound male cougar decided to hang out thought it was so well groomed, according to the Casper Star-Tribune, she convinced 911 dispatchers it was merely a house cat.

Indeed, Beverly Hood thought to call emergency personnel, animal control officers and the state Game and Fish Department, the Web site of newspaper reports, because the big cat lounging around on her porch didn't have a collar. Oh, and also, when Hood approached it, the animal she thought was a wayward pet stood up and hissed at her.

Hood once even raised a lynx as a pet, but she couldn't ID this cat as a mountain lion, which isn't an entirely uncommon site – especially a young male – in this town of about 50,000 residents. These pumas have been weaned off by their mothers and sometimes forced out of their natural area by older cats, according to the Star-Tribune.

So, naturally, Casper Police officer Mike Ableman was expecting an entirely different scenario when he arrived at Hood's home, expecting to shoo away a "kitty cat," the Web site reports.

Maybe Hood's comment as he was heading for the backyard that it was a pretty big cat got him thinking, but he knew right away what he was up against once he saw the beast.

"It stood up and looked at me, and I ran back in the house," Ableman told the Star-Tribune.

Oh to be a fly on the wall of Beverly Hood's home when the officer came in: "Lady, that ain't no house cat," we can hear Ableman say. It could have been the domestic version of Brody saying to Quint after first spotting the shark in "Jaws," "You're going to need a bigger boat."

But the mountain lion fared much better than the shark in this case. Casper, as we've so dubbed the well-groomed cat, eventually was tranquilized and relocated. And Beverly got new glasses. (Well, we made up that last part, but maybe she should consider it.)


posted Oct. 1, 2008

From sharks to sinks, these dog rescues are a draining experience

A Chihuahua and a rat terrier are in the news for very different rescues – one involving a sink and the other, believe it or not, a shark – but both experiences were draining experiences.

It's suggested that most accidents in the home occur in the kitchen, or maybe it's the bathroom … well, whatever, the kitchen seems like an appropriate place to start, and that's where Chalupa the Chihuahua was rescued from the sink of the family home in Homer City, Pa., the Associated Press reports.

Apparently the poor pooch's paw became entangled in the drain during a washing. Ruth Gallagher and her daughter attempted to free the dog using everything from liquid soap to cooking oil to ice before calling the fire department for an assist, according to the wire service.

Thirty minutes after firefighters arrived the pup was out and no worse for wear, thanks to a pair of tin snips. But the sink has certainly seen better days.

Meanwhile, a creature known to eat everything including the kitchen sink is front and center in an amazing rescue story from Islamorada, Fla., where Jake the rat terrier would have been shark food had it not been for the valiant efforts of his owner.

Indeed, Greg LeNoir freed his 14-pound pet from the maws of five-foot shark by diving into the marina waters – where Jake was doing the dog paddle – and punching the assailant, according to the AP.

The shark immediately released the dog, and LeNoir and his terrier quickly reached shore; Jake's bite wounds should heal and he is expected to recover, according to news services.

LeNoir said in an AP video that while Jake was on his daily swim a "big, dark, green shape" emerged from under him. The dog then let out an awful sound before being sucked under.
"It was such a death scream," LeNoir said.

In an instant the Florida Keys carpenter dove on top of the shark and used his fists like two-by-fours on the beast.

LeNoir and his wife of 17 years, Tessalee, told the Miami Herald they have no kids of their own and consider Jake their child.

"I couldn't abandon him," Greg LeNoir told the AP.

Hats off to Greg for risking his own life to save his dog. Incredible.

"He's one lucky dog," treating veterinarian Suzanne Sigel told the Herald.

Here's to hoping Jake doesn't get swim shy and eventually gets back on the horse that threw him. It's all right, Jakey, your master will be right there to fend of any mean, ol' shark.


posted Sept. 29, 2008

Too much paperwork to fill out? Black bear bolts after visit to Calif. hospital

If ever there was a time to grin and bear it, this is it.

And even though the setting would have been ideal if anything had gotten out of hand, thankfully no one was injured during a black bear's unexpected visit to the hospital recently in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

The wayward bruin made it through one pair of sliding glass doors at Barton Memorial Hospital. Fortunately, the facility had the foresight to install two sets of the automatically opening doors, because the blackie thought twice about going any further and soon bolted back from whence it came, according to the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

Too much paperwork for the furry fellow to consider, we suppose. Or maybe the critter hadn't paid its insurance premium.

Seriously, though, it's not all that uncommon to hear about bears encountering humans in this civilized portion of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It's something Lake Tahoe residents have come to deal with.

"Ah, life in the mountains!" said John Williams, CEO for the Barton HealthCare System.

As for this bruin, we can understand if a sudden fear of hospitals prompted its flight from the lobby.

But it should have been at least a little more at ease, considering it had to amble right past a 6-foot-tall fiberglass sculpture of a bear in physician's attire that stands outside the entrance to the facility, according to the Web site of the South Lake Tahoe newspaper.

Hey, hey, with its medical bag and stethoscope, "Dr. Bear" is ready to serve; but even the good doctor couldn't remedy this Boo-Boo.

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    About the author: Brett Pauly spent nearly six years editing and publishing ESPNOutdoors.com before moving on to produce the ESPN.com Sports Travel site. He is a national award-winning writer and editor with 14 years of experience in the newspaper trade, including stints at the Los Angeles Daily News and Seattle Times. The Evergreen State is where he now makes his home. Click here to email him.

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