Most dog owners know their pooches would make friends with just about anyone or anything. If another dog passes by, ol’ Blue’s as likely to give her a cordial sniff and a friendly lick as he would a thief knocking on the front door of the family home. Still, sometimes a dog’s friendliness can stun even the most dedicated dog lovers.
For instance, way up toward the northern tip of Maine, a dog owner and her family had seen their dog shake his tail with delight at the numerous guests that stayed on their family-owned campground. But the dog’s reaction to a surprise visitor on the campground created an unforgettable moment for her entire family!
As an owner and operator of Lugdon Lodge—a family-owned camp in rural Wallagrass, Maine—Shannon Lugdon dealt regularly with animals from the surrounding woods. But in June 2018, she met an animal that truly stood out from the rest.
The encounter started at 5 a.m on a Saturday morning. Through the early-morning silence of the campground—while camping kids still slept from the previous day’s activities—Shannon heard an alarming sound.
The calls cutting through the campgrounds belonged to a baby moose! Shannon supposed the little girl was calling out for her mother. After dubbing her Miss Maggie, Shannon decided she was going to help.
But as much as she’d have liked to fix the little moose’s situation right then and there, Shannon couldn’t just call out and summon her missing mother. This was one of those moments where nature had to run its course. Until about eights hours later.
Right around 1 p.m., Miss Maggie wandered dangerously close to route 11, a 402-mile highway that cuts through Maine’s center. A moose in the road—baby or not—wasn’t exactly a benefit for drivers. Shannon had to intervene.
The campground owner called the local wardens. “Two phenomenal wardens—Adrian and Nick,” Shannon wrote on her Facebook, “came over and we helped Miss Maggie back down to the brook in the shade.” But the problem wasn’t quite solved.
The baby moose wandered back to the spot where she’d been crying so audibly at 5 a.m. that morning, “the spot we think her Momma had left her,” Shannon wrote. Only minutes before, Shannon thought Miss Maggie was about to pick up on her mother’s scent and solve the case herself, but they were back to square one.
Complicating matters further, the wardens instructed Shannon and her family not to go near Miss Maggie. Often, the wardens noted, animals that appear abandoned, aren’t. “Wild animals often leave their babies to eat, drink and rest,” Shannon wrote.
In other words, intervening in this baby moose’s afternoon might have long-term repercussions on Miss Maggie’s ability to fend for herself, but the baby continued to cry loudly. Was there nothing Shannon could do?
Against her instincts, Shannon left Miss Maggie alone. The 24-hour period passed, and on Sunday morning, she couldn’t find a trace of the little girl. So she let her German shepherd, Leo, out onto the grounds. That was when the moose encounter turned truly spectacular.
Leo strutted around the campgrounds only to stumble across Miss Maggie by accident! Yup, it turned out the moose hadn’t been picked up by mom in those passing hours. And Leo, curious dog that he was, wasted no time in checking her out.
But the interaction didn’t stop at a brief encounter; Leo and Miss Maggie came face to face and then nose to nose! “He walked right over,” Shannon wrote, “and Miss Maggie and Leo became fast friends!” Even better, the day’s friendships had only begun to blossom.
For the rest of that Sunday morning, Miss Maggie “followed us around all day begging for attention,” Shannon wrote. And after leaving her be for 24 hours, the Lugdon family was happy to give in…
Each member of the family posed for a photo with the six-day-old, 27-pound moose that’d wandered so helplessly onto the campground, giving her all the motherly love she’d been missing out on. Miss Maggie loved it.
With the imaginary barrier between human and moose broken thanks to a curious dog, Shannon launched into full-on mother mode. ” I fed her…a grass, clover, water milkshake,” she wrote. Then, she called the veterinarian.
The veterinarian recommended feeding her Lactaid, so Shannon obliged. Meanwhile, she reveled in the moose’s unwavering kindness toward her, her family, and Leo the dog. “You can’t imagine how affectionate she was,” she wrote.
Later that afternoon, the wardens Adrian and Nick returned. Without the return of the mother, they could now, unfortunately, safely conclude Miss Maggie had been abandoned. This was a sad moment—but a great opportunity.
The wardens arranged for Amanda DeMusz, below, a biologist with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife who’d dealt with a number of abandoned animals, to pick up Miss Maggie and bring her to the Maine Wildlife Park…
There, caretakers could give her all she needed to grow up big and strong—not a bad fate for an abandoned baby moose. In the end, the Lugdons learned an important lesson: If you give a moose a German shepherd friend, she’ll want a bit of human love to go with it!
And Leo’s interaction with Miss Maggie was just as special. Just look at the excitement surging through the pooch at the prospect of making a new friend! Is there anything sweeter?
With Leo running straight toward Maggie, there’s no telling if she’d have ever been scooped up by Amanda or given a lifetime of loving by the Lugdons. Thankfully, Leo was a curious boy!
Share this heartwarming tale with your friends who love animals.