I am starting on a new book about work in Canada. The title is Of Moose and Men and here is a short extract from one of the chapters. The scene takes place in Alberta when I had been asked to examine a pet moose that had recently delivered a calf and was not well. The moose (Petruska) had complete trust in her owner but when I approached to about 50 metres in my attempt to examine her...
Petruska let out a loud snort as she set off at a full charge and then I could hear her breath as she crashed through the underbrush, her hooves pounding on the hard ground. It became a sort of Mexican stand-off. Petruska looked at me between the fortunately thick branches of the spruce and tried to get at me, first by stamping her feet, much as she would in killing a predator, and second by trying to move around the tree to get a clearer run. Of course there was nothing I could do about the stamping except be glad that it was occurring twenty-odd feet from me, but I could and did move around the tree to make sure that we remained at exactly opposite sides. Not that she came round all the way. That would have put me between her and her calf, which would been quite unnatural as she presumably viewed me as some sort of predator that was going to get the most precious thing in her world.
Ring-around-the-roses is now a children’s game derived from the grim days of the black death. Ring-around-the-spruce-tree played by me and an irate mother moose intent on reducing me to a thin layer of pulverized flesh on the ground is quite another. While she was determined to protect her new calf, I was keen to protect myself.