On June 23,2016 at 4:42 a.m. Nahkohe ‘Oso’ Buffalohair, 68 dog years, aka ‘Bear the Wonder Dog’ continued on his journey after a brief illness. He died in my arms, I was with him until his last breath. Bear was truly a Rez Dog and had the hearts of everyone on the Red Moon Agency, his home. After all we are the ‘Dog Nation’ and Bear was one of our relations. If you’re not Cheyenne you probably don’t get it anyway.
He was a gift to me by my people so that I would not ever be the only Cheyenne for Nahkohe would be at my side. In my eyes he was my personal Dog Soldier for he risked his life many times for me in the woods. He was breed to be a bear hound since he was a strapping English Bull-mastiff who grew to weigh 210lbs. Loyal as the day was long he also became a local celebrity and village folks just adored him but bears and mountain lions despised him.
In the woods he would seek out mountain lions and bears for sport while keeping me safe as I made my way through the forest and along rivers on all my herbal pillaging and hunting sorties. Ever vigilant, he sniffed out elk, deer & moose and for his efforts I always shared my bounty with my friend Bear. He was loved and loved deeply by everyone who had the opportunity to meet him. Bear was always a gentleman and would not harm a flea, well except bears and mountain lions.
Bear was the dog who rescued a tiny 2 week old kitten and brought it home for me to care for after the mother died of exposure along with 6 other kittens when bear found this tiny barely alive kitten. The kitty grew into a big fat cat and they were inseparable. Our tiny village was plagued with trash eating bears, to the joy of my Wonder Dog who also enjoyed their company until they found safer sustenance to dine on in other locations.
One time there was a ruckus late at night with dogs barking and the familiar sound of a grump bear cursing the canines. Then there was a yelp from a neighbor dog named ‘Toby’ and there I was, in my boxers with my .45 and a zillion candlepower LED flashlight shining on a 9′ black bear who was not pleased by my presence. As I gazed at this most compromising scene all I could think of was tomorrows headline; “Native in bunny slippers and boxers eaten by starving bear”, gawd!
Then as I pondered my means of egress here came Bear the Wonder Dog to my rescue. Bear leaped almost over me and charged the bear who then lost interest in me as this 210lbs mastiff took a big chunk of fur off the intruding bear. I thought I lost Bear for sure but to my amazement the bear took off running with my puppy securely locked onto the bears hind quarter. Bear was my mom’s personal escort also. She would take her walks in the early morning, safe with Bear at her side & .40 pistol.
If you knew Bear you would know one of many stories about his courage in facing mountain lions and bears. He will be missed by people from many tribes for he was at my side during ceremonies and functions. From Apache, Tarahumara, Cheyenne, Arapaho & Athabaskan, bear was loved & revered and will be sorely missed. Nahkohe ‘Oso’ Buffalohair was my best friend, and I will miss him more than anyone will know for now I am a Cheyenne who stands alone without my Nahkohe.
Tsitsistas and so was Nahkohe and now my people back home mourn his passing.
Your Devil’s Advocate