Many of the animal rights groups give awards to citizens who perform good deeds on behalf of animals.
These deeds are usually along the line of rescuing mistreated horses, homeless cats or HBC dogs (hit by car). Rarely do any cowboys receive an award. I would like to nominate Andy for his daring moose rescue last fall.
Andy was still trainin’ on Gracie as they rode across the high mountain pasture in the Uintas. He had named her Gracie with the same inversely convoluted reasoning with which U.S. senators refer to each other as “My distinguished colleague. …”
They made their way along a big ditch that diverted water off the Black Fork River. Beaver dams and dead fall had made the ditch wide in spots and the black mud would suck the socks off a frog!
Andy’s herd of dogs scouted into a stand of willers and quakies where the ditch neared the river. They spooked a cow moose and her 4-day-old calf. The pair ran down the ditch bank. Andy called off his dogs and followed Mama Moose and baby at an easy walk, just watchin’. Gracie snorted and pranced, unsure about the moose.
Mrs. Moose crossed the ditch above a beaver dam, but when Baby followed he tangled himself in a fallen tree and got stuck. Seeing Baby Moose’s dangerous predicament, Andy coaxed the nervous Gracie into the stirrup-high water. Since Andy was also checkin’ the irrigation, he was wearin’ his genuine cowboy-issue Cabela’s thigh-high waders.
Andy eased up to the calf, reached down and pulled the stranded moosling out by the ears. Gracie lurched, caught our daring hero off balance and dumped him over his head!
Unbeknownst to the rescue team, Mother Moose had crossed the ditch, circled back and snuck up on the scene of the accident. Gracie turned to free herself from the mud, looked Mrs. Moose in the eye and fell over backwards — square on top of Andy! He went down under the thrashing mare, fighting for his breath and pushing against Gracie.
In the next few tumultuous seconds Andy swallowed 1 gallons of water, Gracie backstroked to the bank like a sand crab and Mama Moose gathered baby and lit out for the high ground.
Andy rose periscopically from the sea spewing like a breaching porpoise. He caught sight of Gracie in full gallop, stirrups flapping, headed up the valley.
Andy slogged to the bank, his high waders full of water and collapsed.
So, whatya think? Is this story of heroism worthy of a Humane Society valor award? Or is it just another day in the life of one of us who spend our lives watchin’ after God’s creatures? I can’t say, but I’d like to have been a magpie in the cottonwoods watchin’.
Baxter Black is a cowboy, veterinarian, poet and humorist. His website is www.baxterblack.com.