Laina lives with her two sisters, Elsa and Kamma along with their mom and dad on a small hobby farm on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Also included in the family is their 2 year old white Labrador retriever dog named Milly
Milly’s favourite things to do are eating and chewing up stuff. On occasion she is known to chew through the chicken coop wire to help herself to the chicken’s dinner. When not eating or chewing stuff she likes to run in the field and play games with the girls. Sometimes when she gets bored she likes to sneak out of the yard to explore new areas for food and things to get into! Laina’s mom sometimes has to give Milly a swat on the bum with a broom when she starts peeing and digging in the flowers or comes running up the stairs with muddy paws and right into the house almost knocking down the children. Laina’s dad has taught Milly lots of good tricks and has built her a great house and pen in the back yard. Sometimes her pen is used as a jail cell after she is caught destroying the chicken coop, chasing the neighbour’s horses, chewing on electrical wires of the house, or leaving the yard and wandering down the busy road towards town. However, she is just a normal 2 year old loveable Lab Dog.
Well this morning Laina’s mom had to drive everyone to the airport as Laina’s dad had a business meeting in Toronto, Ontario. They left Milly alone at home in her pen. She was barking and yelping as they drove out of the driveway, as if to tell them that she wanted to come along too?
About an hour later as Laina’s mom was driving up the road towards their house they noticed a flash of white in a neighbours field, then saw a herd of cows being chased by a white dog! “Milly”, screamed Laina’s mom. They pulled into the driveway and went into the back yard. Again Laina’s mom yelled, “Milly, You Bad Dog”. Milly had tunnelled out of her pen, dug up a flower bed, chewed up a garden hose, broke into the chicken coop, ate their corn meal and now the chickens were wandering all over the yard. Milly then stopped chasing the cows and glanced over towards Laina’s mom. Just then one of the cows that were being chased broke through the fence and now there were 5 horses escaping from their pasture running down the road followed by a couple of pigs and a goat. Running after them was a farmer holding a pitch fork shaking it at Milly.
Milly dove through the hole in the fence and ran across the field and made her way back into her pen through the tunnel she dug. Laina’s mom threw a rotten tomato from the garden at her but missed and it splattered all over the side of Milly’s house. Milly went right to the very back of her house and laid very still and quiet.
A couple of hours later, the mess got cleaned up in the yard, the chickens were rounded up and put back in their coop. Elsa and Kamma fixed the chicken wire so the chickens couldn’t get out again. They walked over to Milly’s house and looked in. Milly had a big watery grin on her face as if to say, “I think your mom needs to improve her aim throwing tomatoes.” The girls quietly talked to Milly and said,”Milly, we love you, but please try and behave or else our mom might want to sell you or take you to an animal shelter.” Milly stopped smiling and seemed to understand, closed her eyes and fell asleep. The girls then went in for dinner as it was now 5:00pm and the sun was about to set behind the mountain. It was September and the nights were beginning to cool off quite fast.
Behind and beside Laina’s house there was an abandoned orchard with apples, pears, and various kinds of berries all fully ripe now. Some had fallen off and were on the ground and others were in the process of turning to mush while still on the bushes and trees. In the past this has always been a favourite place for bears to come for a free dinner before heading back up towards the mountains.
As Laina and her family ate dinner they looked up the field and towards the mountain. The sun was now setting and a full moon was slowly revealing itself in amongst the white billowing clouds. Then Elsa said, “Hey maybe we can go for a little walk up the field and pick some fresh blackberries to make a pie and maybe a few apples too, I would love an apple crisp!” Then Kamma said, “Please, mom can we go for a fast walk before it gets too dark, we have to go to school tomorrow and a piece of pie and apple crisp would make a great snack for our lunch.” Then Kamma’s mom said, “Well ok, but we have to hurry as it is getting dark, but your Bad dog will have to stay in the pen as we don’t want her running away or getting into trouble. I will block off the tunnel she made when we leave so she can’t get out.”
They all put on their coats, grabbed a container for berries and apples then headed outside. As they walked past Milly’s Pen, they stopped briefly while Laina’s mom poured some dog food into her dish. She then tied Milly up with a big rope just to make sure she couldn’t get out of the pen again and then closed off the tunnel Milly had made to get out before. She closed the main door to the pen and said, “Happy eating Milly and try and behave yourself for once!”
They then all slowly made their way up into the field and nearby orchard. The wind had picked up now and the sun was down. There was a full moon shining brightly on the field making the trees and blackberry bushes all lit up nice. They all began picking berries and apples filling their containers. After about 20 minutes all the containers were full and Laina’s mom said, “Ok girls it is getting late we better head back home now.” Just then big grey clouds covered the moon and it became very dark. Then the wind howled loudly and the bushes and trees swayed violently back and forth. The girls clung closely to their mom as they slowly made their way back down the dark field towards their house.
Suddenly there was a loud Growl and Snorting sound heard directly in front of them. They all froze in their tracks. “A Bear!” gasped their mom, “Don’t run, make lots of noise to try and scare it off and maybe a neighbour will hear us?” They all yelled frantically but due to the strong loud wind their cries for help seemed to vanish and evaporate in the wind.
Coming out of the blackberry bush now stood a huge black bear on its hind legs. It stared directly at the girls and their containers of apples and berries. “Drop the containers and lets back away slowly, maybe the bear just wants our food.” said their mom. They all immediately put down their containers and backed up. The bear approached towards them walking right over the freshly picked apples and berries. The girls and their mom were now backed up directly in front of prickly thick blackberry bushes with nowhere to go. Their backs were getting scratched and cut by the blackberry prickles and their clothing was getting tangled. The bear again stood on its hind legs, growled and with its huge paw swung it towards them catching the zipper of Elsa’s coat and ripping it. Elsa yelled! The bear got closer and the 3 girls and their mom crouched down onto the ground now fearing for their lives. The bear moved in now and put its big paw up again and was about to swing it again at the screaming girls and their mom. Kamma looked up just as the big paw was about to hit them. Suddenly she got a glimpse of a big white animal jumping out from the bushes flying though the air and biting the paw of the bear just before it struck the girls.
The bear howled with pain and shook its paw as it backed away from them. “It’s Milly!” screamed the girls. Then Milly bared her teeth again and barked viciously and jumped up and bit the bear again this time on its neck. Again the bear growled and howled loudly and it backed up further away from the girls. Then the bear attempted to swat at Milly as she ran round and round the bear chasing it out into the field.
Now seeing that the bear was distracted Laina’s mom grabbed all three girls and hurried down the field to the safety of their house. As they made their way up the stairs and into the house they could still hear Milly and the bear fighting. They were all somewhat shaken and trembling now but opened a window and listened for any clues as to what was now happening up in the field.
Suddenly all went quiet. The wind died down and the full moon came out from the clouds. The moon lit up the field and orchard again. There was no sign of Milly. An hour passed and all was still quiet. Laina’s mom bathed the girls and tried to put them to bed but they were all too upset to sleep. They tended to their small cuts from the blackberry bushes and then all piled into bed with their mom. Then Elsa said, “Is Milly ok?” Her mom said, “I don’t know, it is too dangerous to go check now, we will have to wait until morning.” “Kamma then said, “Milly saved us from that big bear!” “Yes she did, and we will always be grateful.” said Kamma’s mom. Shortly after midnight the girls and their mom finally fell asleep.
At about 2:00am they were awoken by scratching at the door. “Oh no,” screamed Laina, “The bear is back!” Then Laina’s mom slowly got out of bed and told the girls to stay there and be quiet. She turned on a small flashlight and crept to a side window to look out. At first she couldn’t see anything but a big brown furry mat on the doorstep, then it moved and stood up. It was Milly all covered in mud and blackberry bushes.
She ran to the door, opened it and gave Milly a big Hug. Milly slowly walked inside and laid down on the mat. She had a cut on her nose and her left paw was bleeding a bit. There were a few patches of hair missing from her back but other than that she just appeared tired.
“Girls, Milly is back,” yelled their mom. Like a thunder of hoofs from wild varmints the three girls stormed into the kitchen and hugged Milly and kept saying, “Thank You, Thank You, we love you Milly, Thank You!” By now all of them were covered in mud and dirt from Milly but no one seemed to care. Over the next hour they cleaned up Milly and themselves. Laina’s mom tended to Milly’s cuts and undid the piece of rope she still had around her neck from when she got tied up inside her pen. It appeared like she chewed through the rope and dug another tunnel to get out of her pen so she could come up and rescue the girls and their mom.
Laina’s mom made Milly a nice bowl of hot beef soup topped off with crisp bacon and left over chicken strips. She wolfed it down immediately. Their mom said that tonight Milly can sleep in the house instead of out in her pen. Then the girls and their mom went back to bed now very happy and relieved that Milly was ok. Just before their mom fell asleep she whistled and called, “Come here Milly.” Milly slowly walked into the bedroom and over to where their mom was laying in bed. She reached down and gave Milly another big hug and quietly whispered, “Thanks.” Their mom then drifted off to sleep. Laina looked over at Milly and said, “Ok, jump up here.” Then Milly jumped up onto the bed, licked each of the girls, snuggled in amongst them and fell fast asleep.