Have you been properly introduced to Virgil “Bear” Ryan’s faithful companion?
The following is an excerpt from the chapter “A Man and His Dog” from Greg’s book The Fury of the Bear.
Click HERE to read the entire chapter!
A Man and His Dog
Virgil’s first full working trip to Bern had been scheduled for six weeks. It was initially designed to be a training trip, lasting all of February and into March. His first week there they had received six callouts, the last three of which Virgil was the drop man. His personality took over and the Advanced Alpine Search and Rescue team knew they had something special on their hands. The team had taken him out for drinks one night after that first week, to celebrate his arrival, to celebrate his success on the missions and generally just to celebrate. The rowdy group of cops, firefighters and professional climbers filled up most of Sandy’s Pub, an old fashioned Irish bar in downtown Bern. By midnight the party was just hitting its peak, but Virgil had had enough. He had decided to walk the two and a half blocks back to his apartment, and exited the back door of the saloon. Sitting quietly just outside the back door was the Akita, Border Collie mix, then just a puppy of six months. When Virgil emerged from the doorway and saw her sitting there, he simply stopped and stared back. There they stood, both heads cocked to one side, staring at each other in the cold winter night. She was a little dirty that night, and seemed to be a bit cold as well. Virgil had quickly noticed she did not have a collar or tags. He had begun talking to the dog, asking her questions about who she was and where she came from. Naturally, the dog didn’t respond. She did start wagging her tail, however, and when Virgil had asked if she wanted to come home with him, she responded by following him all the way into his apartment.
Though still a little weary from the party and the alcohol, Virgil had filled his bathtub with warm water and shampoo and attempted to give the mutt a bath. She saw fit to jump out of the tub half a dozen times to shake herself, coating the bathroom walls in a frothy mix of shampoo, hair and water. He laughed every time she did. He had finally managed to corral her with a towel and get her dry before letting her loose again to sniff the entire apartment. He had gone to the kitchen, filled a mixing bowl with water and placed it on the floor before finally heading to bed. When he entered his room, the puppy was sound asleep on his bed. Virgil kicked off his shoes, nestled himself next to the stray and promptly fell asleep. In the morning, he woke to the energetic licking of his face from the dog. New town, new adventures, and the sweetest new friend he had ever encountered. California would always be where his heart was, but Colorado sure felt like home to him. He had taken the puppy for a short walk, using a daisy chain and carabiner for a leash, before settling her into the apartment and heading off to work. He had named her Saint Annapurna, Anna for short, in part after the mountain where he’d sworn he’d seen two miracles. The little surprise outside the back door of a pub was a third miracle.