Buck remained hospitalized for 24 hours. What the doctors called, a “cautionary” measure. His ankle was badly sprained and his shoulder dislocated. With warnings not to go overboard trying to speed his recovery he retired with Geoff and Lisa to their ranch to begin the healing process.
No one knew how the news got out but when Buck was wheeled out of the hospital there was a small group of reporters falling all over themselves asking about the cougar and his being having been saved by it. Buck said he was still not clear as to exactly what had happened but the fur on his jacket had been identified as that of a cougar by a local biologist. Whether or not the cougar saved Buck or just rejected him as being too old and tough to make a decent meal was unknown and would remain so. At least, that was what Buck told them as he was being helped into Geoff’s truck.
Three days later Buck set aside the crutches and began limping around the house on his ankle. His arm was still slung but he quickly worked through the pain of the ankle. He was, truth be told, anxious to get back on the trail. A day later he was helping Geoff, putting aside Sylvia’s disapproval, carry in the wood in preparation for the coming winter. The snow storm had been short lived but the nights were getting downright chilly so gathering the wood was of tantamount importance. This was after shutting down and draining the irrigation system to stop pipes from bursting from freezing temperatures.
Geoff and Buck were out at the barn when Buck stated clearly, “You know, Geoff, I lied about the cougar. You know, not knowing if she saved me or not. She did.”
With that out in the open he told Geoff how he had just crawled under the log when he saw the cougar coming across the road toward him. He had been scared to death that he was going to be chewed to pieces. He knew he was absolutely helpless to defend himself. It was, Buck said, as though she had been tailing him all the time he had been walking through the Bluff area. She couldn’t have just come along by happenstance. She had to have seen him fall and crawl under the fallen tree.