A Canadian woman is alive and well today because her survival instincts proved stronger the the ravenous appetite of a starving wolf. Joanne Barnaby ventured out with her loyal dog, Joey, and her friend, Tammy Cauldron, on a mushroom gathering excursion in the Canadian bush. The friends were scouring an area recently scorched by a wildfire in search of a rare type of mushroom, but eventually, the two became separated.
Besides the bucket she was using to collect mushrooms, Barnaby didn’t have much on her person — just a can of beer. As she and Joey searched for a way back to her truck, she suddenly heard a frightening sound behind her. She turned and looked back.
“I heard this growl behind me,” Barnaby recalled. “There was a long, tall, very, very skinny wolf. A black wolf. And his legs were spread and his hair was standing, and he was growling, and baring his teeth.”
Joey, loyal friend that he is, tried to defend Barnaby, but the wolf, clearly having missed a meal or two, quickly established itself as the dominant canine in the area. So, for the next 12 hours the hungry wolf stalked Barnaby through the charred woods. She was swarmed by mosquitoes and was suffering from dehydration as the “determined” wolf continued its hunt. Darkness fell. “I was in trouble,” Barnaby said.
But then, inspiration struck in the dead of night. Barnaby heard the growling of another wild animal — two in fact. She heard what sounded like a bear cub and a mother bear who had been separated. Barnaby made the risky decision to lead the wolf toward the bear cub in the hopes that the mother bear would attack the wolf, freeing her from her stalker — all the while knowing that the mother bear could just as easily end up attacking her. The risky plan proved wily as the outcome she imagined is precisely what unfolded.
“I heard this big crashing behind me and realized that the mama bear had attacked the wolf, or maybe the other way around, I don’t know,” Barnaby said. “But they were fighting and I could hear the wolf yelping and I could hear the mama bear growling and I could hear all this crashing, and I just took off.”
Barnaby and Joey were re-energized by the fortuitous turn of events, but still weren’t out of the woods — both figuratively and literally — yet. That can of beer Barnaby had with her, though, played a pivotal part in her survival.
Read the full story at CBC North.