A couple of summers back we were camped in Rocky Mountain National Park. Just after dawn while walking our dog around the perimeter of the campground I heard movement in the underbrush off to the side. There were bear warnings posted all about the area and I'd been keeping an eye out, but this was no bear. As I peered into the trees, a nearly-grown adolescent moose stepped out of the shadows and moved confidently along the forest's edge. I've seen bigger moose, but none this close, less than 100 feet away. He was maybe 10 feet at the shoulder, healthy and well muscled, and had my full attention. I had no idea how he'd react to the loud bark and furious charge of my self-appointed canine protector.
O'Malley, a 'rescue dog' who has been with us for 10 years or so appears to be a Schnauser/Dachshund mix, with short legs and an outsize ego. He loves chasing squirrels but reserves his most bodacious charges for the deer that frequent our Tennessee yard. Bouncing and barking, he delights in the sight of white tails disappearing into the woods. 'Malley is unintimidated by horses, and what is a moose if not just an overgrown deer somewhat bigger than a horse? Instinctively I tightened my grip on his leash, waiting for the inevitable jerk of his charge and explosion of his bark.
But the jerk never came and remarkably the dog made no sound. Frozen in place by my feet, eyes rivited on the moose, he stood transfixed as it browsed along the margin of trees. When it was finally out of sight I felt a tug on the leash as O'Malley set out silently back to our camper as fast as his little legs would go.