As the manager for a larger organization in Alaska, I would
sometimes get a strange call. For my team, I didn’t have problems if someone
needed a day off or had to come in late as long as it wasn’t a habit. My
employees never took advantage of this, probably because they were part-time
and needed the money. They were also a good group. When I got this call,
however, I did a double take.
“Um, hello, Shad.” I could tell who it was though he identified
himself anyway. “Yeah, I’m going to be late coming into work. There’s a moose
in my driveway.”
What could I say? Having a moose or bear in the driveway was a good reason not to come into work. Moose are unpredictable, and no one wants to antagonize a bear. So, I said the only thing I could, “Okay, well, when the moose is gone, come on in. I’ll leave an evening shift spot open for you.”
“Great. Thanks.” He couldn’t tell me when the moose would
leave. I knew he needed his hours. This seemed like a good compromise. More importantly,
no one was put in any danger in order to get to work.
It wasn’t the first time I had heard someone use a wildlife
excuse. In fact, when I was an employee at a different organization, I had
faced off with a moose in my yard and decided to call into work instead of hope
the moose didn’t kick me or my car. I was new to Alaska, so when I talked to my
boss, he told me it was better to stay at home rather than risk agitating the
moose. I should stay home until the moose was gone. That was one of the best
things about Alaska. People tried to take care of each other.
Fortunately, I never had to worry about facing a penguin in my driveway because there are no penguins in Alaska. I should know; I wrote the book. You can preorder the eBook from Amazon, or get a hard copy coloring book here on penguinate.com.
I stepped out of my apartment door on the ground level and
my breath misted as I bent down to pick up the Sunday paper. I stood up and
about ten feet away from me was a moose. “Good morning, Mr. Moose,” I said and
backed slowly into the apartment closing the door.
A lot of people are under the misconception that bears are
the most dangerous animal in Alaska. The thing is bears are predictable. You
can predict what a bear is going to do based on the circumstances. If you’re
running, the bear will chase you; it’s predatory instinct. If a black bear
attacks, it’s intending to eat you. If a grizzly attacks, it’s most likely
protecting something, usually cubs, sometimes food or territory. Bears mostly
avoid people, so as long as you don’t surprise them, you can keep yourself safe
– for the most part.
Moose, on the other hand, are unpredictable. Moose are huge,
so they don’t perceive threats the same way we would. In fact, it often seems
that moose are unaware of people. Tourists will pet them on the nose, and
nothing will happen. These tourists are stupid. A moose may not perceive a
threat when a person approaches. It may not perceive a threat when the person
reaches his or her hand out to touch the moose. It may not even perceive a
threat when the person touches it. When the person turns his or her back, the
moose could perceive a threat and attack. A moose can kick a wolf dead. So,
while they look like big, dumb cows, they are the most dangerous animal in
Protecting yourself from moose means just staying away from
them. Even if they just get startled and trample you, they can cause serious
injuries. Moose are wild animals and not meant to be petted. Admire their
magnificence from afar, but if you see a couple of moose on a trail turn around
and go back the way you came. Moose are docile until the moment they are not,
and no one can say when that moment is.
When you go to Alaska, you don’t have to worry about protecting yourself from penguins. There are no penguins in Alaska. I wrote the book on it; available for preorder at Amazon.com as an eBookor as a coloring book on penguinate.com. Preorder yours today.