CALGARY - Lying stitched and sore in a Calgary hospital bed, the 80-year-old survivor of a brutal grizzly attack is refusing to take credit for saving the life of his wife.
"We saved each other," said Terry Moody, telling his family to make sure the words reached this writer.
That Moody can talk at all is a miracle, the Kimberley, B.C., man having been mauled by a mother grizzly, after he and his wife Susan Bond startled the sow and her cubs while hiking on Sunday.
Still, it's hard not to admire the outdoor-loving senior for his courage after the enraged bear set about defending a nearby deer kill, instantly attacking 59-year-old Bond.
Moody, seeing his wife in the clutches of a grizzly, charged in and began hitting the bear with the ski poles he used as hiking sticks.
"He hit it, and then the bear came at him instead," said Guy Moody, Terry's son.
"Then it left him and went back to Susan, so he hit it again and the bear came back at him again."
The couple, both experienced wildlife enthusiasts, ended up playing dead, hoping to convince the bear the threat to her kill and cubs was gone.
Playing dead worked -- but as the grizzly and her offspring moved away, massive injuries to both Moody and Bond meant their facade may soon become a reality.
They waited for about 15 minutes, giving the sow time to clear the area, and then started off to seek help.
Bleeding badly from wounds deep enough to expose bone, escape meant stumbling towards farms they knew were nearby, the attack having taken place not far from the couple's rural Kimberley home.
With Bond using the poles for support on her badly-mangled leg, the husband and wife helped each other over an icy creek, Moody falling into the water in the process.
Then it was over farmland and two barbed wire fences, as they inched closer to safety.
"Susan was a hero for just getting out of there," Guy said.
When his wife could go no further, Moody stumbled towards some distant buildings alone, looking for help.
It was a stroke of good fortune that Randy Harvey was settling in his living room, preparing to watch the Grey Cup with a friend, when he glanced out his front window and spotted something in his field.
"I picked up a pair of binoculars and looked out, and it was an old guy -- suddenly he falls down, then gets up, and then falls down again," Harvey said.
Realizing something was seriously amiss, Harvey and his friend Alan Hunter went out to meet the man.
"He looked like he'd been in a car accident," Harvey said, describing the brutal injuries to the senior -- but the real story soon became clear and they set out to get Moody's wife.
After picking up Bond, Harvey and Hunter called 911 and drove the couple to meet a ground ambulance, which would ferry them to Cranbrook, B.C., where an air ambulance was waiting.
Harvey says they chatted in a bid to keep both victims awake, and he was struck by Bond's refusal to blame the bear, despite it leaving her with horrific wounds.
"She did not want the bear put down -- she kept saying that," Harvey said.
And Bond will get her wish, after conservation officers investigated the scene of the attack.
There, they found footprints proving the bear was a grizzly, and they also found a recently killed deer -- showing the sow was just being a typical bear instinctively guarding its food.
"We've determined it was a defensive attack, and we canvassed the area, and found there's been no other incidents involving this bear," Conservation Officer Joe Caravetta said.
"Based on that, no further action will be taken."
Despite severe injuries to their heads, legs and arms, doctors say the couple will recover.
Mary Ellen Bond says her sister was already able to talk on the phone by Monday, and had crystal clear recollection of what happened.
"I asked how she was feeling, and she told me, 'Oh, I'm doing much better today than yesterday.'"