I announced that I was leaving for work.
“Bye guys! I will see you guys this afternoon!”
Of course no one responded. They couldn’t.
I got home without delay and was greeted with a present on the dirt road I take to work each day. Not the ones wrapped in sparkly paper and a bow. The animal kind. All pet owners know what I’m talking about. But it wasn't your ordinary dog poop. Nope. It was Mike’s poop, I was sure of it. No one of my moose could poop that big. I could see Philip, a little calf grazing nearby. I went over to him with caution, since the little ones were not quite used to me yet. He looked up from his meal and gave a small, high-pitched bellow, like a warning saying, “Not too close now, Human. I can call my parents you know.”
I studied him for a second, and then went to find the shovel. I took care of the present and headed inside my cabin for some dinner. As I was sitting down, I could hear the family calling to each other. It sounded something like a family talking to each other. You could hear each individual speak to another. I imagined in my head that they were saying:
“Honey! I am almost done with lunch! Where are you and the kids?” bellowed Mike, my oldest and dearest friend.
“It’s okay, Mike,” replied Stella, his wife. “The kids and I are just fine, right kids?”
Then there were four small bellows that sounded like:
“Yep, we are good Mom!” replied Philip, a cautious youngster.
“I am right here, dad,” said Kelly, the shy girl.
“I’m only on the other side of the woods dad, nothing to worry about!” Isaac, the most adventurous and oldest guy replied.
“Yeah dad, I can see Isaac from here, we are good!” said Susie, the adventurous girl.
I loved my family.
I found Mike and his wife, Stella, when they were just tiny calves. Mike and Stella had two sets of calves, making four baby moose. They were a happy couple, and I loved them like my own.
Adopting a moose isn’t really as easy as it seems. I must have had to pay at least a thousand dollars for the first year I had them. I had to build a barn and get them supplies and it was tough for the first year. Food wasn’t a problem, though, since I just let them out in the hundred acre yard, where they could feast on trees, sticks and shrubs until they were sick. I rounded all six of them up each day and put them in the barn. They lived for the nighttime, the time when shadows became like spooky ghosts, waving to and fro in the wind. I was sometimes scared to wake up and fear that my moose had been taken in the night. But so far, life is good and nothing happened.
I never expected that my moose would run away. Never. They were so loyal that even if the gate was left opened they would stay inside the hundred acre forest. At least I thought so. But the second year proved me wrong. Everything fell to pieces in the second year that I owned them.
I went to work as I always do. I had a packed lunch at work, like I always do. I went back home at four o’clock like I always do. But when I pulled onto the dirt road, I was surprised to see that the gate to my land was wide open. I rushed to my cabin and called the police. As I came back out to start searching for them, I heard a small bleat, scared and afraid. I thought that maybe a lamb might have sneaked onto my property. I went over to investigate and I saw that all four calves were huddled together in a corner, fear deep in their eyes.
“Hey, guys. It’s okay. Where are your mommy and daddy?”
As if to respond my question, they all made high pitched bellows, and half bleats to say:
“They ran away!” Susie stated.
“They were looking for you!” Philip nearly shouted.
“They wanted to explore, and I almost wanted to go with them, but I resisted the urge to!” said Isaac
“I don’t know where they are!” cried Kelly.
I felt bad for them, but I knew that I had to care for them, wherever their parents were. I closed the gate, so none of them could escape. I went into my log cabin and sat on the sofa. I put my hands in my palms and enough tears to form a river followed. Mike and Stella might be gone forever, I thought as I sobbed. I swiped at my tears and blew my nose. But at least I still have four beautiful calves to look after. My life would be locked away in a box and the key sent to the deepest part of the ocean if I didn’t have them. I pulled up my computer and set up a search flyer. I sent it online, and I printed ten hard copies. I put them all around the small town surrounding my property.
The sign read:
2 Domesticated Moose Missing from Polly’s Forest.
Please call this number if spotted! Small Reward included!
Description: One tall male moose taller than a human, responds to Mike, and one slightly smaller female moose, responds to Stella. Last seen at Polly’s farm, they are a couple.
Once I was done hanging the posters, I went back to see how my babies were doing. Isaac was protectively walking around all of them to show that he was in charge here. I hugged them all in a little group hug.
As I was driving to work, I saw a big lump on the road ahead, too small to be a tree, too big to be a dog. It was dead, that was sure. It seemed like it had been run over several times over. As the car got closer, my heart broke. It was Stella, my dear love. Her belly was bigger than usual, so I concluded that she was pregnant with another baby. Both were dead, un-moving lumps of fur, mashed into one. My heart died inside me, my soul was grieving.
After I got home from work, Isaac was waiting for me by the gate. His look was urgent, and he was anxious about something.
“What is it, boy? Show me.”
He ran over by the house and went around the back, looking back occasionally to see if I was behind him. He bleated and stopped. My eyes were already tearing up. There around the ack, was my three calves in a pile, limp, dead. I hugged Isaac and let the water flow. Four out of six family members are gone. And for all I know, Mike is still roaming the woods somewhere, disappointed about his baby, and sad for his wife. I looked closer and saw that all three had bear marks on them. I turned to Isaac.
“Did they get attacked by a bear buddy? It’s okay, you can tell me.”
In response he bleated and it sounded like he was explaining what happened.
“Well, yes they did. A bear jumped over the fence and next thing I knew, we ran to the house for safety but he found us. I was the only one to escape.”
I hugged him again. I picked him up, and he rested his head on my shoulder. I could tell that he was sad to see his brother and sisters in a dead pile. I brought him to the comfort of my home, and we cried together, me surrounded by him, and he surrounded by me.