Scooter may have a hole in his head and a wounded ego, but at least he lived to bark about it.
The plump 13-year-old schipperke/dachshund mix survived a wolf attack early Tuesday morning when his owner chased down the wolf in his pickup truck.
"I thought he was going to be dead," said Travis Capps, holding 20-pound Scooter in his arms Tuesday afternoon outside his home off Nelson Road in North Pole.
Instead, the wolf dropped the dog when Capps pulled up behind it as it trotted down the road with Scooter in its mouth. Scooter, except for a small puncture in his head and acting a little dazed, doesn't appear any worse for wear.
"He's just sort of in shock," Capps said a few hours after Scooter's scare. "He got whupped up pretty good.
"I think his pride is hurt more than anything else," he said, scratching the roly-poly black dog's ears.
Chances are good the wolf is part of a pack that killed and ate a dog in the same neighborhood a month ago and that state wildlife biologists suspect also killed a dog at 19.5 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road last week.
The latest attack was nearly a repeat of the first dog killing in North Pole on Oct. 31, when a homeowner in the same neighborhood let his two dogs out early in the morning and one of them was killed. The difference this time is there was one wolf instead of five.
"I let my dogs out to pee at four in the morning and then I heard all this barking," said Capps, who lives just a street over from the first incident. "I thought they were fighting with each other, so I ran out there and yelled at them."
His golden retriever, Shasta, came running up the driveway, but Scooter didn't. Instead, he saw a "black streak" dart across the end of his driveway and then heard Scooter yelping as the wolf carried him down the road.
"I was in my underwear, so I came back into the house, threw some clothes on, jumped in my pickup and drove down the road thinking I could intercept him," Capps said. "I thought he was dead."
He didn't go far down the road before he saw the wolf trotting along, carrying Scooter in its mouth.
"As soon as I got up on him with the pickup he dropped (Scooter)," said Capps, a 37-year-old equipment operator.
Capps picked up the dog, whose neck was covered with saliva, and drove home. Then he grabbed a gun and drove back down the road. The wolf was trotting back toward the house.
"He was coming back up the road," Capps said. "As soon as he saw my pickup he ran back into the woods the way he came."
The incident surprised Capps, even though he knew his neighbor's dog was killed by wolves a month ago.
"I've lived here 35 years and never had anything like this happen before," Capps said.
After last week's attack at 19.5 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road, state wildlife biologist Tom Seaton with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks said the wolves could potentially target more dogs now that they've identified them as food.
"I doubt they'll go on a dog killing spree, but there's no doubt they're looking at them as a food source," he said on Monday talking about the Chena Hot Springs Road attack.
Capps, meanwhile, plans to keep his eye out for wolves in the neighborhood.
"This wolf pack has got familiar with this subdivision and has got a taste for dogs," he said, standing outside his home off Nelson Road. "For them to come in this far is pretty ballsy.
"I'm not into slaughtering wolves, but I'm a hunter and as far as I'm concerned wolf season opened on Nov. 1," Capps said. "Maybe I can make Scooter a little fur coat."
Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587.