We had an attempted burglary of the four-legged kind last night.
Sunday December 18, 2011. 7:15pm, Suburbia, British Columbia
I was sitting in the warm and toasty basement reading a book when I heard bloodcurdling screams followed by “LYDIA! GET UP HERE NOW!” Once my heart had descended back down my esophagus, I took the stairs three at time to find two hysterical females standing in pitch darkness.
Me: “What is going on?!”
Mom: “Shhhh!!! Someone just tried to break through the patio door. They were pounding on the glass and shaking it on its hinges.”
Me: “What?! Call the police!”
Rebekah: “First look through the blinds and see if someone is there!”
ARE YOU MAD?! What makes you think I want to crack a shutter and stare in to some masked man’s eyes? Nevertheless, I tentatively crept towards the window, cracked the shutter, and then hit the lights hoping to illuminate said intruder in the spotlight.
Nothing. Just our backyard and the the forest beyond. Thinking I could get a better look from the third story, I ran upstairs and–like all of those witless damsels in distress in horror movies–crept towards the window in pitch darkness to spy in to the backyard. The only movement was a faint wind rustling through the foliage of the woods beyond the fence.
Wait. The fence. Liked snapped twigs, our wide plank fence had been ripped out of the earth and toppled over like dominoes. It was all starting to make sense. Our cantankerous neighborhood bear, who infamously hid behind Rebekah’s car one morning sending her sprinting uphill in stilettos, had returned to his old stomping grounds. Our neighbour (we’ll call him Mr Lee…no seriously that’s what Dad calls him because he can’t pronounce his name) had been grilling a particularly–er–fragrant fish dinner earlier that evening that must have beckoned in to the wildness. Clearly Bruno (so what? I named him) couldn’t resist the allure of leftover fish guts.
Downstairs a semi-hysterical Rebekah was still cowering behind the kitchen island with Mom holding the cordless phone like a baseball bat.
Me: Don’t panic, it was just Bruno. I have to go next door and tell the Lee’s not to open their door if they hear banging.
Well, the sent Rebekah over the edge from frantic to crazy ranting that I was going to become pre-hibernation dessert. I ran next door in my finest evening couture (AHEM sweatpants, a fraying t-shirt and Dad’s oversized slippers) to warn my neighbours while Mom and Rebekah stood guard on the porch twitching at every sound.
Turns out, our neighbours don’t speak a stitch of English. Or maybe it was a defence mechanism against the disheveled and wildly gesticulating Italian woman on their porch. The conversation went a little like this:
Me: Hi, you have a bear in your backyard.
Teenage Girl: My daddy not home. You come back tomorrow.
Me (with appropriate miming actions): No, No. BIG BEAR. In your backyard. Broke Fence. Don’t open your door.
Teenage Girl: Yes, you talk to my daddy tomorrow at 10:00am.
Me: It is very dangerous.
Teenage Girl: Happy Holidays. You come back tomorrow. (slams door)
Clearly I haven’t missed my calling as a mime. I had just jogged back up the porch when Bruno came lumbering around the corner and from the looks of him he was off his diet and in full gluttony mode. By this point most of the neighbours had been alerted to his evening antics and were yelling for everyone to get inside. Undeterred, Bruno sauntered up to one of the garages, stood on his hind legs and started to shake what Mamma Bear gave him.
I snatched up the phone and called 911 to inform them that a bear was terrorizing or neighbourhood and could they please send Conservation out ASAP. After being transferred from the fire department (who apparently only deals with cats) to the police department, I was finally patched through to a local dispatcher.
Dispatch: Ma’am can you please tell us what the bear is doing now?
Me: Staring at my neighbours with his nose pressed against their front window.
Dispatch: Ma’am, please keep the bear in your sights. I have alerted Conservation.
Me (in my head): Sure, with my night-vision binoculars and tranquilizer gun.
After 2 hours of waiting, Conservation never showed up so I have been Googling bear intervention methods: