A giant grizzly bear stomped back and forth on the open road. At night, these creatures blended so well with the dark that it was impossible to see. But they were easier to notice in broad daylight. Just ask State Trooper Thomas Owens whose knuckles went white as he held on to the steering wheel. Traffic was insane. Car horns were beeping everywhere. The animal was terrified as the drivers started losing their temper. So, he parked his vehicle on the side of the road and noticed something disturbing in the underbrush.
As a kid, Owens was obsessed with car chases. He came home every evening from school and checked the news for a chance to see a traffic pursuit. Sadly, some chases ended rather badly. But sometimes, cops apprehended the bad guy. He loved it when law enforcement brought peace back to the roads. His mom wasn’t sure where his obsession with high-speed chases was going, but she was worried, and she had every right to be.
When Owens turned sixteen, his mom feared what her son would do on the road. So, his dad had to pry the keys out of his mom’s hands. But she worried. What if he hurt someone? “It’s a small town, Thomas. If we get one sniff of you being reckless, you can say goodbye to the truck,” she told him. Owens was a teen, but a responsible one. He knew that the roads could be just as dangerous as they were exciting. But he knew his parents would always give him a reality check if he needed one.
Owens picked his friends up from school and dropped them off at home. Then he’d drive to the local grocery store where he worked and headed home. He valued his independence, but he was always safe. But one day, he came home and noticed his mom’s car was gone. He freaked! Then, he learned that his mom was in a hit and run. He couldn’t believe someone was capable of such a thing. So, he stayed by her side for several hours per day, but it took weeks for her to recover. However, the incident altered his path forever.
Owens’ friends couldn’t stop talking about what they wanted to do after they graduated from high school. Some of them wanted to pursue things like being scientists, teachers, doctors, and athletes. But during his senior year, he told them he wanted to be a state trooper, which didn’t surprise them. He had stopped going to the car chase marathons after his mother’s hit and run. The incident made him realize that driving could be dangerous. But he wasn’t prepared for some of the job requirements.
Owens spent a couple of years learning about traffic laws, and New Hampshire’s state vehicle laws and regulations. Since then, he lost track of how many motorists he helped during his career. But what he came across in Brenton Woods was not the kind of thing he was prepared for. Traffic was a nightmare. Owens assumed that someone’s car had stalled. What else could have caused the traffic jam? But then he decided to take a closer look. That’s when he saw the source of the trouble. And it became apparent that he simply couldn’t leave without doing something about this.
Bretton Woods consists of 700 acres of land. The area contains about 200 bird species, hence why the land is treated as protected wilderness. But the number of black bears in the area is about 5,000, which makes them the dominant species in Bretton Woods. Many Carroll residents have run into one at some point, but the outcome is rarely the same. But Owens was simply not ready to handle this situation.
Owens had some idea of what to do when encountering a grizzly bear. But training and actually seeing one are two different things. This big black bear had stopped traffic. She was pacing back and forth and people heading to a famous ski resort in the area were stuck. Owens knew that bears usually avoid these situations. So why did she risk exposing herself to a bunch of humans? Fortunately, the residents of Carroll, New Hampshire were well aware that they had to stay calm, quiet, and find a safe location to hide in. But these drivers didn’t have to go far, since their cars offered plenty of protection. But Owens didn’t want to take any chances and risk the bear hurting someone.
The drivers waited patiently for the bear to go away while Owens got closer. It was obvious to him that she had no interest in moving. So, he told everyone to turn around and give this dangerous beast her space. But as the vehicles did as he ordered, he noticed what it was that had kept the bear’s interest occupied on the road. So, he decided to take an even closer look. Then he was certain.
Owens carefully took a couple of steps closer. It turns out that the grizzly bear had four cubs with her in the middle of road. Three of them had crossed to the other side of the road. But one of the cubs was struggling. It sat down to rest. These cubs were young, but they were old enough to be on their own. And yet, this little one refused to move. But the bear was growing impatient. Then, she did something that left the officer speechless.
The mommy bear decided to nudge him with her nose. She even walked to and from the side of the road to show her capricious cub what had to be done. Meanwhile, Owens was ecstatic. He had never seen a bear with four cubs before! But it didn’t take him long to realize that there was something seriously wrong, hence why she was struggling to get the cub to move. Then, Owens watched her abandon her cub, and walk into the forest. His heart broke. Then, he realized what happened.
Owens ran to the cub’s side and started to inspect the animal. But he had to be careful. It was just a cub, but it had claws. The animal was having a tough time trying to keep his eyes from closing. It managed to stand, but collapsed. Something was seriously wrong here. So, he picked up the cub and took him back to his police car. But was it too late?
As he drove towards the New Hampshire Fish and Game Center, Owens kept thinking about the cub’s mom. How could she just abandon him the way that she did? It turns out that most bears only have two cubs when they’re in the wild. In some cases, they might have three. But four was practically unheard of. It made sense that not all the cubs would be strong. But he didn’t care. He rushed the cub to the center so that the vets and nurses could take a look. The outlook wasn’t so good.
The mommy bear had made a tough decision to leave her sick cub behind. Although it was well fed, it was unlikely it would survive. But if she had stayed to help her sick baby, she would have risked the lives of her entire litter. Owens immediately understood the logic behind her decision. Eventually, news of his heroic rescue spread. Then, officials gave the officer some startling news! It turns out that this wasn’t the first cub the mommy bear abandoned. There was a fifth cub! Owens knew what had to be done.
Several state troopers and K9 units joined Thomas in his search. If the human troopers couldn’t find the cub, the canines probably would with their nose. Eventually, they were able to locate the fifth cub, who wasn’t too far from where he had found the fourth cub. It was cold, wet, and hungry, but they hadn’t gotten to him just in time. However, the center was concerned. What would they do with the cubs once they were healthy again? They couldn’t take care of them forever. Right?
The center’s staff did everything in their power, and thankfully, the cubs made a quick recovery. Most animals need time to recover after enduring stress and isolation. But these cubs were loved back to health! And there’s still hope that they’ll be able to reunite them with their mom once they’re strong again. Meanwhile, one person’s been keeping a close eye on them.
Owens came across a lot of weird things in his career, but he never expected to save the lives of two bear cubs when he became a state trooper! If it hadn’t been for his quick response, the two cubs would have likely perished. And while he has sworn to protect the people of Carroll, New Hampshire, he’s made certain that everyone, humans and animals alike are safe and sound!