Lulu Belle: The Find

It was Lulu Belle that caught scent of the odor first. The bull mastiff paused and sniffed the air with vigorous huffs of breath, before turning around to look at Hutch.

At first the big dog didn’t want to continue, but Hutch, absentmindedly unable to recognize the dogs body language, urged Lulu Belle to move forward. Instead of pressing down the path, sniffing the ground and the surrounding brush, the dog had her head lifted high in the air and her usually wagging tail tucked between her hind legs.

“There it is,” Hutch smiled.

Lulu Belle whined softly as the continued to approach the site.

“Hallo the camp,” Hutch called out.

No answer. No movement.

“Hallo the camp,” he hollered again.

Continuing towards the spot where he could see the tent covered with a brown plastic tarp, Hutch caught the smell Lulu Belle had first noted back on the trail. He knew that odor, the odor of death.

Hutch cautiously approached the tent. From near it, he could see the legs of a person, face down on the ground.

As he stepped towards what he knew to be the body of George, Lulu Belle sprang in front of him, hackles up from the nape of her neck to the base of her tail. The big dog refused to allow Hutch by.

“What’s wrong with you?” he chided the dog.

As if to answer, a mountain lion screamed, causing Hutch to freeze. Meanwhile Lulu Belle remained planted between Hutch and the still hidden cat.

At first Hutch couldn’t see the cat crouched amid the sage. It was only when George’s lifeless remains shifted, that the cats play of concealment became obvious.

Hutch stepped forward and grabbed Lulu Belle by her collar, forcing her back. At first she did not want to go, but finally after a sharp whimper she followed Hutch’s command.

The pair quickly retreated to the paved roadway of their neighborhood and to home. It was there that Hutch called the sheriff’s office to report what he’d found.

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