On Tuesday morning, I walked Sonny on Lake Michigan Road on our first day above freezing day in weeks. We walked to Shalda Creek with the warm sun shining hard on the bright snow and the moist air wafting through the pine trees. It felt strangely tropical. Once we reached the culvert, we followed the creek to its short rapid descent into Lake Michigan. The beach was a land of snow, ice and blue water and sky. It was absolutely beautiful — maybe more beautiful than any summer day, and I was thrilled to have this place all to myself. Sonny pranced along the path happy to just have one family member to protect.
Then Sonny spotted a figure at the very end of the creek and he started barking very loudly. The figure was watching us, well, more like staring at us and not moving at all. Sonny kept barking, his senses fully alarmed, but I could sympathize with him about how creepy this chubby, unmoving figure was with his unnaturally skinny arms stretched out to his side. And then Sonny really started barking. I thought that maybe his better eyes saw this figure move in some menacing way.
I kept walking down the creek toward this strange person. Sonny stayed back and continued to cower and warn me not to go on. The trial led eerily close, but I kept on until I was right up to it, and then all of a sudden I was on the ground with this figure above me. Sonny came dashing in and heroically bit its neck and ripped off an arm with his teeth, and I got away. Sonny had warned me and, phew, in the end, still came to my rescue when I didn’t listen to him.
I know that this story is difficult to believe in squeaky clean and safe Leelanau County. Luckily, I took a video of it. You can watch “Custer the Dog” here.