Happiness becomes horror when a bear snatches a couple’s pet — UPDATED

By David F. Rooney

The bear that shattered Stuart and Diane Andrews’ weekend when it killed their lovely dog, Buddy, right in front of their eyes has been trapped and killed.

Andrews said the bear was caught in a trap set by Conservation Officer Adam Christie and then shot Sunday afternoon.

The animal’s death caps a deeply traumatic weekend for the Andrews who had been grooming their golden retriever mix dog in the yard of their home on the western slope of Mount Revelstoke, when he squirmed out of their hands and dashed barking across the lawn.

Stuart, who had originally mis-identified the bear as a grizzly, said the large brown-coloured black “just grabbed Buddy with his jaws and bit him in the neck, killing him.”

The horror of that moment haunts Diane, who can’t shake the image of “Buddy hanging in his jaws.”

“He was such a wonderful puppy, such a happy puppy,” she said.

Stuart said that when his diminutive wife saw the bear lunge over the top of an embankment and snatch Buddy she screamed at the beast and ran right at it, throwing the grooming brush in her hand and hitting it. The bear, which had shown up on the Andrews’ property on two previous occasions — once two-and-a-half weeks ago and once last week, went down the slope. It devoured part of the dog and left the remains about half way down the slope.

Conservation Officer Adam Christie and local RCMP officers were called and they, along with Stuart, found Buddy’s partially eaten body on the slope below the property. Christie could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

The 14 1/2 year-old Buddy was a rescued animal. He and five abandoned new-born litter-mates were found in a cardboard box on top of the snow in the depths of winter by their friend Buddy Mckenzie. Every since Diane picked him to be their pet and constant companion Buddy took his duties as a canine protector seriously. He loved being outdoors and patrolled the property, located a couple of hundred metres above Highway 23N just outside the national park boundary on Mount Revelstoke.

“He was fearless,” Stuart said. “He drove it off when it first showed up two-and-a-half weeks ago. And then a week ago it was tearing up an old stump (not far from their house) — probably looking for ants to lick up — so I got my rifle and fired a shot over its head to scare it off.”

The cinnamon-coloured bear, which Stuart said was probably a four- or five-year-old animal that weighed about 450 lbs, ran off and neither he nor Diane saw it again until Saturday afternoon when it lunged up the slope and over the edge of their lawn to grab Buddy.

Stuart believes the bear may have been watching them and he kicks himself now for not having shot the creature a week ago.

“I’ve been a hunter all my life and I hunt for meat,” he said. “I don’t believe in killing animals out of fear. But if I had shot it a week ago Buddy would still be here.”

The couple has laid their pet to rest in the box he used, in life, as a secure little bed with his Teddy bear, ball and blanket. Buddy’s final resting place is at the corner of their property where the long switch-back road up from the highway enters their yard.

“That’s where we’d see him when we came home from work,” Diane said. “It’s the best place for him.”

Rest in peace Buddy.