While picking mushrooms in an isolated and remote portion of the Canadian wilderness, Joanne Barnaby was startled by the sound of her loyal mutt Joey growling behind her. The woman turned to see her beloved dog staring down a thin, black wolf.
Following the lone creature’s appearance, the animal began to stalk them and purposely attempted to separate Barnaby from her protective pup. Nightfall came and the wolf forced them further and further into the woods, pursuing them at every step into the scorched forest of the Northwest Territories that had been burned up by wildfire.
A helicopter is seen through heavy smoke near a Royal Canadian Mounted Police vehicle as a large wildfire burns… https://t.co/FcTf2h1qeg
— Steve Ferguson (@lsferguson) May 9, 2016
Joanne commented on the intelligence of the wolf and its calculated strategy.
“He looked old to me, but he was smart. It took me a while to realize how smart he was, and that he was actually being very, very strategic in trying to separate me from my dog and wear me down. I don’t think he was strong enough to take us both on. And I think he knew that. He was directing me. There was no question about it. He was pushing me further and further from the highway. He was stalking me. He was literally stalking me.”
Twelve hours passed with the creature pursuing and simply waiting for one or both to give in, while Barnaby was covered in mosquitoes and near to the point of collapse, dawn finally arrived which brought with it a small sense of relief until Joanne heard a new grunt. It was the grunt of a bear.
It was at this point that Barnaby, who had found herself alone in the woods after heading a different direction from her friend Tammy Caudron, had an idea that would involve pitting the two beasts against each other in order to save her own life.
Barnaby admits, as CBC News shares, that her biggest mistake was leaving her gun behind in the car half a day before, but the woman found herself in the position that left her no alternative aside from using her survival skills. In regard to leaving the rifle behind in order to avoid carrying it on her back while picking mushrooms, Barnaby admits “It was a stupid mistake. I paid a big price,” as the Washington Post shares.
Although it sounds like an entirely outrageous story, The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have confirmed that Barnaby did, in fact, use tactics to pit the wolf against the bear, and this, in turn, saved her life.
The bear was in search of her cub and Joanne heard the cub’s response to its mom’s grunts coming from another direction. While the wolf stared her down, Joanne decided to position herself between the bear and her cub in the hopes that the bear would attack the wolf. She knew it could lead to an attack on her instead, but she took the risk.
Her plan worked and suddenly, she heard the whimper of the wolf and the growling of the bear. The wildlife enthusiast took off with Joey as fast as she could, away from the creatures. This time, the wolf did not follow.
— Northern Clipper (@Northern_Clips) June 15, 2016
By 8 a.m., 14 hours after the wolf began stalking her and Joey, Joanne felt the pavement under her feet and saw a group of Mounted Police along with her friend up ahead. She surprised them all and they provided her with food and water after demonstrating their relief that Barnaby was relatively unharmed, aside from mosquito bites.
Tammy Caudron spoke with the Post about her reaction when her dear friend returned.
“‘I thought you were dead,’ Caudron yelled as she hugged her friend. ‘It was the biggest hug, the biggest cry I had ever had,’ Caudron told The Post later.”
[Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]