It was a balmy Sunday morning (well, balmy Downeast-style) and I decided to hit the beach with my intrepid little terrier, Molly.
Molly loves to race up and down the beach, flinging up sand and chasing sea gulls who never seem too concerned with her antics but this morning my furry little ball of energy was up to something completely different.
Molly sniffed the air as we walked past a wooded area and was off like a shot. Too much barking to ignore, I assumed she was up to more of her bad business with a resident fox. You see, Molly thinks of herself as part Rottweiler. She was raised with them, so she’s got what I call “little big dog complex” and even a fox isn’t off limits in her imagination.
I called and called but there was no way Molly could hear me over the sound of her own yapping so down the embankment I went, slipping and sliding on the ice.
It took me a few minutes to see what Molly was seeing but when I did, you could say I was more than a little surprised. Take a look and see what Miss Molly found in the middle of the woods:
Molly was beside herself with joy and I was beside myself wondering how I was going to convince Molly to get away from the seal. I called and for once, Molly obeyed.
The seal showed no fear but had a mild curiosity about Molly and me. The seal rolled onto her side as if asking for a belly scratch.
Long story short, a man who lives near the beach has contacts with the University of Maine at Machias who referred him to another marine mammal organization.
For now the assumption is the adult female harp seal is healthy except for a small cut that I’m guessing she received while dragging herself up the embankment from the clam flats into the woods.
Whether she was caught unaware of the tide going out (tides move at astonishing speeds in Downeast Maine) or if she is sick, we don’t know. The tide was dead low when Molly found her and there was no way she could get back to the water for another six hours.
It’s amazing to see marine mammals close up and personal but here’s hoping the bright eyed girl has gone back to where she belongs.
Update: Our misplaced harp seal swam away with the high tide. Once again, all is right with our corner of the world!