Two families are lucky to be unscathed after a rabid wolf chased them down while on a snowmobiling trip in Labrador.
Michelle Sexton and Jennifer Patey were snowmobiling in a wooded area with their husbands and children in late January when out of nowhere, they encountered a wolf in the middle of the trail.
The wolf lunged at the two snowmobiles and attacked the skis on their snowmobile. The wolf then stood on its hind legs, bearing its teeth at the children.
“There was nowhere you could put your kids safe enough or get away fast enough because we he was right behind you,” Sexton told the CBC in an interview.
Frightened that the wolf was going to attack her young daughter, Patey attempted to speed away from the wolf.
“I put my hand out to stop it from coming to me and at the same time, I hit my gas and I lost control of my snow machine again. I didn’t stop, and in my head all I could think of was Jena, Jena, Jena, my daughter.”
Thanks to survival instincts paired with motherly love, Patey was able to lift up the flipped snowmobile and drive her family to safety.
“On a regular day, I’d never be able to lift that machine,” Patey said. “I don’t know where my strength came from, but I lifted that machine up and I turned her around. When I turned to look back, the wolf was right behind me.”
Patey kept her foot on the gas until she stumbled across two young wildlife officers who just happened to be doing a routine check in the area. Patey told the two officers about the rabid wolf and they immediately took off without even grabbing weapons first.
After 25 minutes, the officers found the wolf. Without a rife, they detained the wolf by running over it with their snowmobile. It died on the scene.
Samples from the wolf’s body were sent to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency lab in Ottawa, where it was determined the wolf had rabies. According to the Department of Natural Resources, this is the first case of rabies in the area since last July.
While the Sexton and Patey families are shook up from the attack, they’re grateful everybody is safe and healthy.
“It was a blessing [the officers] were on the trail that day. It could have turned into an absolute disaster,” says Patey.