Q: Should bears be shot when they wander into suburbs, or should they be tranquilized and returned to the wild?
A: That’s a tough question because we all would like to see them tranquilized. Being tranquilized is not easy also on these bears. And then if you take a bear and put him in a strange area, who knows what will happen to him? On the other hand, if I was a bear, I’d rather be tranquilized, given a chance. Frankly, suburban people panic way too much when they see a bear up close. They’re not that dangerous. Leave it alone, or if you have no choice and he’s looking at you like you’re a threat, I would shout, raise my arms and be bigger and bolder than the bear. Not easy to do when your knees are shaking. [Laughter] Raven, come here, stinker. She says, This isn’t my usual gig.
Q: Have you ever pooped in the woods?
A: Yeah. In fact, there are techniques to make it more comfortable. Trust me, if you ever have to go, you will appreciate the most comfortable way and I have learned to make it as comfortable as possible. Not something I look forward to, but sometimes duty calls.
Q: Don’t you ever feel sorry for animals who start hanging around in what once was their territory?
A: Of course, but do you want to move?
Q: I live in the metro.
A: This once belonged to the wild critters, too. I get tired of people pointing fingers. Why don’t you move? The wild critters had all of this at one time. Here’s the deal: We can’t eliminate ourselves and we have to make room for critters where we can and we’ve done a lot of that really well, but obviously there are some cases where we haven’t done so well.
Q: Has Raven ever had an accident in the house?
A: Interestingly, I think one time, and she didn’t tell anybody. We found a little bit of an indication in the carpet. But really, this is Raven III, over the 20 years there’s only been one major accident Raven has had and it was a big one. And it was in a big place, the Mall of America! This was Raven I. I didn’t quite understand what Raven’s needs were. I didn’t give her time to do her thing outside. She got into the Mall of America and I suddenly sensed she wasn’t walking with me anymore. She was squatting. Dropped a big pile there and then a security guy came around the corner and said, “What are you doing here with your dog?” I said, “This is a very important dog!” [Laughing] He said, “Go ahead, I’ll clean it up.” There you go.
Q: There were male Lassies. Aside from their inability to deliver puppies, is there any other reason there won’t be a male Raven?
A: Well, males. There are some great male dogs out there. I had one at one time, but males like to raise their leg over everything and they are always sniffing around looking for more than pheasants, if you know what I mean. Females don’t do that. I think ancestrally the females hunted for the litter. When I ask Raven to hunt for pheasants she concentrates more on that.