A Granby-area family endured an unwanted dinner guest for about 10 minutes Sunday night when a bear entered their mud room through a dog door.
"Our dog made a strange noise - a combination between a growl and a bark," Brenda Freeman said.
When her husband went to see what was wrong and opened the mudroom door, "there was a bear two feet away from him," she said.
The startled couple shut and locked the mudroom door and went into their kitchen, where they could look through the window into the mudroom window. It was about 10:30 p.m.
The bear explored the mudroom for 10 minutes, Freeman said. He did little damage but left paw prints on the window, ate all the dog food that was out and pulled a few herbs growing in pots out of the soil, she said.
"He was very graceful, very calm," she said. "The bear didn't seem to care about the dog barking."
She said the couple has lived in their home about five miles from Granby off U.S. Highway 34 for seven years and never had any bear issues. However, about four years ago, a mountain lion came close to the house, she said.
That incident eventually prompted the Freemans to add a dog to the family. Aniden is a Turkish Kangal, a breed used to protect sheep from wolves. The 2-year-old dog - whose name is Turkish for "pounce" - weighs about 120 pounds, Brenda said.
She said her husband told her the bear looked like the same one authorities treed for a short time in Granby's Kaibab Park on Thursday.
"We thought it was quite a coincidence," she said.
Blame the rain
The two incidents may be weather-related, at least indirectly.
"It has to do with kind of the timing of Mother Nature," said Randy Hampton, Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman.
This time of year, bears generally eat grubs and forbs and by now are gorging on berries. The problem, he said, is that the same rain making the high country look like a Pebble Beach fairway also is prolonging the flowering phase of berry bushes.
So, the berries are not yet available and the bears may be seeking alternative food sources, he said.