When the life of a family’s canine companion was endangered by a wolf attack, they did everything they could to save his life.
Adrian Bell recounted the story of when he, his partner Allison, and their two dogs, Brodie, 10, and Clieo, 1, were at their cabin at Prelude Lake on March 23.
Bell was on the phone when he heard Allison run out the door and yell that there was something wrong.
Clieo was making an agitated barking noise, which isn’t unusual for her to do, said Bell.
Sometimes when a snowmobile with a dog on it drives past their cabin, she will bark as described but Allison detected that the barking was more agitated than usual, said Bell.
When Allison made it outside, she saw a rolling mound of fur. A wolf was attacking Brodie.
She started to scream and yell for Bell to come outside. When she did, the wolf released Brodie from its mouth, looked up at Allison, then sauntered off.
The encounter was over very quickly and, by the time Bell made it outside, the attack was over.
Despite the fact that the wolf had bitten Brodie’s back thigh, he was still able to walk back over to the couple.
Bell said they’ve previously seen moose and bears at their cabin — but never a wolf. He said they were both concerned that something like this may happen since Brodie has confronted porcupines in the past.
“We were incredibly fortunate that it was a single animal,” he said.
Bell and his partner sprung into action and raced Brodie to Great Slave Animal Hospital on Kam Lake Road.
Fortunately for the family, there had been a cancellation in the veterinarian clinic’s schedule so they were able to give him surgery immediately.
The wolf bite had punctured his abdomen, making it susceptible to infection. They washed his abdominal organs and repaired three hernias.
The couple got a call from the clinic saying that Brodie survived the surgery but they were unsure that he would recover.
Knowing that Great Slave Animal Hospital does not monitor pets around the clock, Bell asked Dr. Ho Nam if Brodie would have a better chance of survival if they drove overnight to an animal hospital in Edmonton.
He did not hesitate in his response.
“Yes, absolutely,” Bell recalls him saying.
The veterinarian clinic gave them some IV bags to keep Brodie hydrated and medicated. The couple began their journey to Edmonton with Brodie at approximately 7:30 p.m. that evening.
Bell said that it was a two-person job caring for Brodie in the vehicle. While one of them drove the other had to watch the IV to make sure that the drip was not too fast, not too slow, and adjust it accordingly.
They arrived at Guardian Veterinary Centre in Edmonton the following day in the afternoon.
Bell said each day the couple wasn’t getting a negative report about Brodie’s health, each day got easier for them. Things seemed to be getting better. During a visit after the few days at the veterinary centre, Brodie was wobbly. The couple spent two hours with him and by the end of it, Brodie could not move.
“We just thought he’d been napping with us but he couldn’t get up,” said Bell. He sounded distressed as he recalled Brodie being assessed by a veterinarian and being told that Brodie may have had a mini-stroke or an aneurysm.
Guardian Veterinary Centre didn’t have a neurologist so they rushed to a veterinary clinic that did. After they arrived, they were told that the neurologist had left work for the day an hour prior but they still assessed Brodie’s health while they were there.
At that point, Bell and Allison were unsure if they would ever see Brodie again.
After they were about to leave him for the night, there he stood, wagging his tail. Whatever was bothering him that day, he overcame on his own.
After about a full week of professional care, Brodie was well enough to travel home.
They currently have him on restricted exercise to give his body the time it needs to heal. Bell said that each day, Brodie is getting stronger and stronger.
“The family is all back together and we’re very lucky,” he said.
Environment and Climate Change NWT had a post on Facebook on March 23 that made mention of a dog being attacked near Prelude Lake West. They stated at the time of their post that it was breeding time for wolves, they would be more common, and that they are known to be aggressive to dogs.