She went to see him one last time…
A little story from Rick M. and his interpretation of events, along with today’s details.
First of all, my heart goes out to everyone who feels the loss of 925 and to his brave pack who must go on without their dad and love. I know that those with the wolf project took 925’s loss very hard, as did those of us who watched him daily and knew him well. But, I almost think it is harder for those of you who can’t be here at all or not as much as you would like. We all hope for one last time to see an animal, or to see it just once, especially the leaders of the famous Lamar Canyon Pack. I will wait until my heart and thoughts have settled some to write my final words for 925 – he was important to us and I want to choose my words carefully. But, as always, the story will come from my heart.
I had the chance to speak with Rick today, while we watched the Lamar pup I call Patch. She is a mottled brown/black female with a patch type spot on her chest – and most likely my favorite because she takes care of her brother – the slinky one. I think she will be the babysitter.
Rick told me a couple of stories, one about the unusual situation that we now have, which I will relate in another post, and the other was about the attack on 925 by the Prospect Peaks.
He told me that 926 was the first to realize the danger and that she took off running at high speed, which prompted the pups to do the same, even though they did not fully realize what was going on. Rick said that Big Gray just stood his ground as the Prospects descended upon him – that he could have run and possibly gotten away but he stood and waited for the attack, or so it seemed. Rick said that it wasn’t until the final seconds that BG ran but by then it was too late. Once Little Gray and 967 realized what was happening they turned to help. Little Gray ran into the mix and took off running, with 1/3 of the Prospects chasing him while the other 2/3 continued their attack. Apparently it was a close call for Little Gray and he almost did not make the getaway. Meanwhile, 967 ran in and distracted another third and they took off after him. About that time the other Lamars began howling and that distracted the final third of the Prospects that were attacking 925 and they took off running to do more battle, leaving him to die. Rick thought that BG was surely already dead because the attack had gone on a long time. After running off and not getting any of the others, some Prospects returned to finish off BG but found that he was not there. That was when Rick noticed he was gone and so they began looking for him. BG was walking away and one Prospect pup was following him and even bit his leg. BG, brave right until the end turned and gave that pup hell.
Rick believes that Big Gray stood his ground and took the attack because that is what alphas do for their packs – they protect them – and that his actions likely saved the others. Some anyway.
“He died a hero,” Rick told me.
We talked about how happy we were that BG got up, walked away and chose his place to die because he did so with dignity and the way he wanted to go.
Big Gray’s final resting spot was bare earth under some tall sage with a long branch reaching out over the top of him. I saw a photo and it was as if he chose a comfortable cave in the sage. Around him were two to three sets of wolf tracks and it is believed that 926 went to visit him one last time because one of the crews had very strong signals on her in that area the night of the attack. And, 2 of the pups were separated from the others so it sounds as if one or two pups also said goodbye. Obviously they knew that dad would not make it and so they did exactly what he would have wanted and went home to safety.
Apparently, BG did not look too torn up – he had some bite marks on his head and other wounds, along with hemorrhaging on his stomach. It is possible that he died of internal injuries, I was told. Because they knew what killed him, they did minimal processing and relieved him of his collar before leaving him in peace, in his final resting place.
RIP big boy, you did well and are credited for saving the Lamar Canyon Pack twice now, once for showing up and fathering those beautiful pups, and a final time for sacrificing yourself so they could continue to live. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten – you died a hero.